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Andy Hallett - The Regular Guy

Monday 3 March 2003, by Webmaster

A few years ago, Andy Hallett of The WB’s "Angel" was just a kid from Cape Cod, Mass., struggling to make it as a singer in Los Angeles, with zero acting experience.

Now, he’s schmoozing with reporters and fellow thespians at the network’s biannual press party — even if not everybody there recognizes him. In case you unknowingly passed by, he was the very tall, dark-haired, dark-eyed guy in the tan houndstooth coat — and there’s not a lot of houndstooth in your average WB star’s wardrobe.

Stepping outside the party onto a balcony to talk, Hallett can’t wait to share word of recent good fortune. "I got good news the other day," he says. "They made me a series regular. I was thrilled."

Although Hallett went from unknown to primetime series regular in two-and-a-half seasons, it doesn’t mean he hasn’t suffered for his art.

"Talk to my makeup artist about that!" he says.

"This is his first real job ever," says co-star Charisma Carpenter. "Isn’t it sad, how long it takes some of us to get into it, and he’s there, and it’s like he’s been there for 10 years. Hallelujah! He’s the bomb."

On "Angel," currently in its fourth season and airing Wednesdays, Hallett plays Lorne (short for Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan), a green-skinned, red-eyed, horned demon from another dimension, with a sharp wit and pipes made for belting out lounge standards.

He used to run a demon-karaoke bar called Caritas, where otherworldly creatures could come in, hum a few bars and have Lorne (who was then referred to as The Host) read their destinies. After that place was blown up twice — and after a brief, disastrous stint in musical servitude in Las Vegas — Lorne took up residence in the old hotel that serves as the home base for Angel (David Boreanaz) and his evil-stomping cohorts.

Hallett officially joins the opening credits of "Angel" in an episode called "Release," scheduled to air March 12. This, of course, means many more lengthy sessions in the makeup chair, being transformed into his demonic alter ego.

"The makeup artist makes it so comfortable," says Hallett. "This year, he even bought a 13-inch, flat-screen TV and a DVD player, so I can watch movies when I’m in there. Before, it was three hours staring at the mirror. He and I talk, but there are a lot of times I can’t talk because he’s working on me."

"He keeps the air conditioning on for me. It’s so pleasant. I couldn’t ask for anything more. I used to have a lot of difficulty with it, but now it’s cool."

Any future discomfort no doubt will be offset by employment security, which came in a surprise phone call from "Angel" executive producer Joss Whedon. "I was in my trailer, and one of the girls knocked on the door and said, ’You’ve got a call from Joss Whedon’s office. I think it’s kind of important.’"

"I’m like, ’No, tell him I’m busy! Tell him I have a towel on my head, and I won’t take the call.’ No, seriously, I get on the phone with him, and he says, ’How are you?’ ’Fine.’ " What are you doing?’ ’Nothing.’ ’I have some good news. I wanted to let you know that, for the back nine, we are making you a series regular.’ I was shocked, stunned. I called my agent. I was totally numb."

So far in his run on " Angel," Lorne has been beaten up, beheaded (it’s OK, it was reattached) and knocked out with ridiculous frequency. Oh, and this year, he had a hole drilled in his head so the evil lawyers from the demon-run firm of Wolfram & Hart could extract information on a marauding creature.

" The other day," Hallett recalls, " I went into work, and I have another scene in episode 14 where, of course, I’m unconscious. I said when I walked in, ’What the hell is going on here? Are we trying to find out how many times I can be knocked out, wounded, shot, grilled — all these unbelievable wild things?’ Every single thing you can possibly imagine has been done to me. If that’s not a hint, right?"

" But it’s great. Now that I know the series-regular stuff, I’m 100 percent committed to them."

Every now and then, Hallett gets to sing on the show, most recently performing a Vegas version of a personal favorite, Patti LaBelle’s " Lady Marmalade." Fans keep wondering when Hallett is going to put out a CD. Hallett wonders, as well.

" We talked about it a little while ago," he says, " and yes, we have a couple of companies that have approached us. My dear friend Mark Lutz — he played the Groosalugg on ’Angel’ — he said, ’What the hell is your problem? Why won’t you get off your butt and do something?’ I don’t have an answer. I really don’t know why. I want to do it. It’s something I’ve wanted to do my entire life."

" The first company that called asked to do something like ’Lorne’s Favorite Standards,’ something like that — favorite songs I’ve done on the show. We’ll see what happens."

Asked what Lorne is up to for the rest of the season, Hallett says, " Lorne is doing his normal lounging around the hotel, trying to get spells right, getting visions, getting them wrong and finding out way too late in the game, after something terrible has happened ... getting shot, beaten up, stabbed, tranquilized."

" The other day, I spent the whole day on the ground with my eyes shut. It was like, ’That was very relaxing.’ I had a relaxing day on the floor at Paramount Studios."

As for celebrity perks, Hallett is just happy to have met a favorite singer of his at the WB party. " I like Reba McIntyre," he says. " She was the only one I was excited meeting, and she was so sweet to me."

CYBERSPATIAL ANOMALIES ... In addition to his official site at www.andyhallett.com/ (where fans can see his makeup-free face), there are also several fan sites devoted to Hallett and Lorne, including " The Host With the Most" at hometown.aol.com/lennie622/index.html."