As proud as David Boreanaz is of reaching the 100th episode of "Angel," the show’s star might have found episode No. 98 equally memorable: That installment, "Soul Purpose," marked his directing debut. "I got a good episode and ran with it," he says. "My take on it was to pretty much let it fly." The first-time helmer earned raves from fellow cast members and executive producer Joss Whedon, but Boreanaz isn’t sure whether he’ll step behind the camera again anytime soon; after all, he’s usually pretty busy anchoring the show. Having taken the contemplative bloodsucker Angel from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" to his own spinoff five years ago, Boreanaz believes that the vamp’s complex search for redemption is fresh as ever. "The writers are just phenomenal," he says. "They make it easy for us. They put this character in compelling situations with a lot of conflict and irony, this incredible capsule I swallow with every episode. It makes it challenging for me to stretch him as far as I possibly can." A native of Philadelphia, Boreanaz recently completed production on the feature "The Crow: Wicked Prayer." His other credits include the 2001 thriller "Valentine" and the 2002 romantic comedy "I’m With Lucy." But Angel remains his signature role. "Joss created all these characters that will live on, and we’ve all put our own mark on them," he says. "Everyone on the show should be proud of what they’ve done."
2003 likely won’t be a year that Charisma Carpenter will soon forget: She welcomed the birth of her first child, began a popular recurring role on NBC’s "Miss Match" and filmed the 100th episode of "Angel," bringing her portrayal of Cordelia Chase full-circle. (The episode marks Cordy’s return to the show after slipping into a coma during the Season 4 finale.) Carpenter says her reunion with Boreanaz on the set was bittersweet. "I had a particular scene with David where we were repeating our dialogue, and it really rang true in the sense that I’m not there anymore — and they address that," she says. "We were both kind of touched and having a moment there." Now that she has gained closure on playing Cordelia, Carpenter plans to take several meetings during pilot season and continue occasional appearances on "Match," where she plays Ryan O’Neal’s love interest. "Just pinch me," she says. "He’s such a great person and so gorgeous. I’m having a great time right now."
J. August Richards
After four years as an "Angel" regular, J. August Richards knows one thing is certain: Expect the unexpected. "The thing I love about ’Angel’ is that every year, I’m required to do something that scares the living hell out of me," he says. "I sort of defeat a dragon in my life — whether it’s doing a fight scene, love scenes, playing drunk or having to act in my underwear." Both Richards and his character, Charles Gunn, have come a long way. Before landing on "Angel," USC grad Richards appeared in the feature films "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" (1998) and "Good Burger" (1997), as well as the Mark Taper Forum’s production of "Space" in Los Angeles. Gunn, meanwhile, has evolved from rogue vampire hunter to slick attorney. But through it all, Richards hasn’t abandoned the character’s core values. "This is a person who’ll go to any length to protect those he loves," he says. "That’s what I took into my audition, and that’s what I rely on to play the character now."
When it comes to ultra-cool vamp Spike, nice is good, but bad is better. After his love for the vampire slayer defanged him on "Buffy," the character’s trademark sarcasm has returned with a vengeance on "Angel." "Spike functions well ripping down other characters," says James Marsters, the "Buffy" regular who has jumped to "Angel" this season. "He’s situated to do worse to Angel than Buffy. We’ve been able to accentuate Spike’s apathy and the hilarity that can bring, which is so fun after being heartfelt and sincere for two years." Fan-favorite Marsters says he was excited to join the "Angel" cast but had no idea he would enjoy it as much as he has. "It’s been even better than I thought it would be," he says. "There’s so much fun in the work, and we have such great writers. I’m having the time of my life." Aside from his role as Spike, Marsters has appeared on CBS’ "Northern Exposure," the VH1 anthology series "Strange Frequency," in the 1999 feature film "House on Haunted Hill" and in numerous stage productions. An avid musician, he also tours frequently with his band Ghost of the Robot.
Want to bring a tear to Andy Hallett’s eye? Mention the 800 or so hours he has spent in the makeup chair being transformed into the red-eyed, green-skinned demon Lorne. "I’m going to have to mix a drink while talking about this, or else I’ll burst out crying," he says. "God, it’s horrible." But his suffering does have a bright side: After he gets through his three-hour makeup application, the actor gets to focus his energy on the delightfully kooky Lorne, a good-natured lounge lizard who can read people’s souls while they sing. Whedon got the idea for the character after seeing Hallett perform in an L.A. music revue; Hallett was invited to try out for the part and landed it, his first role in Hollywood. Since then, the Cape Cod, Mass., native also has starred in the 2001 History Channel miniseries "The Enforcers," directed by former "Angel" writer Meredyth Smith, and the 2002 indie film "Chance." As for his marathon prosthetics application, Hallett helps cope by watching DVDs and chatting with makeup supervisor Dayne Johnson. One thing they don’t talk about, though, is what Hallett will do if "Angel" makes it to 200 episodes. "Can you imagine what my therapy bill would be?" he jokes.
Winifred ’Fred’ Burkle
Note to Joss Whedon: Amy Acker thinks it’s time her character, Fred Burkle, gets a makeover. "I’m a big proponent of ’evil Fred,’" Acker says. "I’d like to be mean. I think it’s bound to happen one of these days." For the time being, fans are content to see "good Fred," the sweet science whiz who has become a trusted member of Angel’s investigative team. Born and raised in Dallas, Acker’s credits also include several Shakespeare stage productions, the 2002 indie film "Groom Lake" and the 2003 CBS telefilm "Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt." She first appeared on "Angel" during Season 2, when the gang saved her from slavery in a demon dimension; since then, Fred has evolved from mousy slave to brainiac who has been the object of Gunn’s and Wesley’s attentions. "I was showing someone a little reel for all I’ve done on ’Angel,’ and they said, ’Wow, how many different shows have you been on?’" Acker says. "Going from being in a potato sack in a demon dimension to running my own science lab has been a pretty dramatic change."
Alexis Denisof didn’t join "Angel" until its 10th episode, but he was no stranger to fans of the Buffyverse: The character of Wesley began life on "Buffy" as a bumbling heel whom fans loved to loathe. On "Angel," though, the former Watcher has evolved into a complex, troubled hero. "Initially, fans were horrified that I was being added to ’Angel,’ and I got a certain amount of hate mail," he says with a laugh. "But now, I think many fans look at the show through Wesley’s eyes — he provides a human perspective. People who’ve followed us from the beginning seem to take great satisfaction from seeing him evolve." According to the actor, viewers will soon see more of Wesley’s vulnerability. "We’ll see what things went on emotionally to make him who he is and how that plays out in intimate relationships," he says. Wesley’s pitch-perfect British accent comes from Maryland-born Denisof’s time at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, which led to roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company and on BBC productions. Other projects have included the movie "First Knight" (1995) and the NBC miniseries "Noah’s Ark" (1999).