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’Angel’s’ Lilah Is Dead and Loving It

Sunday 4 May 2003, by Webmaster

LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) - It’s hard to keep a bad girl down.

Proof of that is the return of the nefarious lawyer Lilah (Stephanie Romanov), who made a surprise appearance at the end of the April 30 episode of The WB’s "Angel."

Killed, bitten and then beheaded earlier in the season, Lilah is back from the depths of hell to make an offer to good-vampire Angel (David Boreanaz) and his gang, in the wake of their defeat of the people-eating false deity Jasmine (Gina Torres).

"Basically my contract with [the evil law firm of] Wolfram & Hart extends beyond death," Romanov says. "When the senior partners need me to do something, they send me back for whatever. It’s basically, you sell your soul to the devil, and he always has it."

*ěNot yet renewed for a fifth season (that announcement will formally come on May 13), "Angel" is revamping its format a bit early, showcasing the new direction in "Home," its fourth-season finale, airing Wednesday, May 7, at 9 p.m. ET.

"It’s almost like they’re doing a pilot episode as far as the shot sequences and their ambitiousness in the scenes," Romanov says. "There’s a lot of really great stuff and big, beautiful sets. I’ll be interested to see how it goes over."

Romanov has just returned from a convention in Denver, and says, "I know all the fans were hoping it comes back, and hoping I was coming back, which is nice. I’m their favorite evil character to watch. She’s evil, but you root for her, then you don’t quite root for her."

A rising star at the Tinseltown branch of Wolfram & Hart — which appears to have most of the supernatural evildoers in Los Angeles as clients — Lilah has been a chief foe of Angel, as he tries to fulfill his destiny and help the helpless.

But every now and then, Lilah’s human side showed through, especially in her love/hate relationship with Angel’s colleague, Wesley (Alexis Denisof), begun when he was on the outs with the group and starting to explore his own dark side.

"That storyline gave my character a lot more to do than I ever had been given before," Romanov says. "Finally you got to see Lilah have more of a life and a bit of her vulnerability and strength."

From her sleek hairstyle to her power suits, Romanov had a very clear view of Lilah.

"I always saw her as a film noir character," she says. "She’s always got the suits that fit right, the hair, the makeup. I’m feminine, but watch out. I don’t need to dress like a boy."

During the fourth season, Lilah engaged in a war of wits with ambitious fellow lawyer Gavin (Daniel Dae Kim).

"I adore Daniel, the way," Romanov says. "But the first time I worked with him ... Lilah is written as a very cold, mean character. I hadn’t met him before the rehearsal, and I did the scene and was messing with him a little bit, because that’s what Lilah does. He did not like me and was a little bit afraid of me."

"When it was over, I went up to him and said, ’I’m so sorry, it’s not me. I’m paid to do that. I have to be bad.’ We became very good friends and liked each other very much, but it was interesting to see his response to me, not knowing me, and just seeing me in character at that moment."

"On the other hand, I felt proud, saying, ’Hey, it’s working.’"

Last week, Lilah appeared in a delicate lacy top. In "Home," she switches to a flirty magenta blouse with a plunging neckline, worn over black pants.

"Producers always like to see a little skin," Romanov says. "The way I looked at it, she’s been trapped in hell, she gets to come back for a bit, she wants to snap it up."

Of course, being dead is nothing new for Romanov. "I’ve been killed in so many shows and came back. I got killed in ’Models, Inc.’ and came back as somebody who happened to look like myself."

"I was killed in ’Spy Hard’ and came back as my daughter 15 years later. I was killed in ’Seven Days,’ but they went back in time and saved me. So it seems to be a theme. My mom says, ’Why do they always kill you?’"

Romanov had some warning of Lilah’s fate, but her co-stars didn’t. "It was a big secret, and the page only came out that day. [The cast members] came up to me and were so kind, saying, ’I can’t believe they’re killing you, what’s wrong with them? We love working with you.’ So nice."

"Then the day I came back and walked on set, everybody started applauding. I almost started crying. I was so moved. I didn’t expect it. It was beautiful."

As for the future — if there is one — Romanov says, "I don’t know if the show’s being picked up or not, but they did say they had some plans for me. That’d be nice. I’m not sure in what form or how, but, of course, they never tell me anything. Even when they called to ask if I’d do the last two episodes, they didn’t tell me what was going on or how I was coming back."

"I said, ’Um, remember, you chopped my head off?’ They said, ’It’s a show about a vampire. Put things in reference.’ There’s a great line that I love saying in the episode, where she says to Angel, ’Dead, not stupid.’"