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AngelChristian Kane (Lindsey) - Cityofangel.com Interview
By Sue Grimshaw
Monday 22 March 2004, by Webmaster
Return of the Spirit Boy
an exclusive Spotlight on Christian Kane
hen Angel pushed Wolfram & Hart client, Russell Winters, out of a high-story window during his first ever mission for the Powers That Be, not only did his actions alert the law firm’s Senior Partners to his presence in the City of Angels but it also saw him come face to face with their golden boy, Lindsey McDonald. What began as a seemingly harmless standoff between the two soon ignited into a long-term rivalry with Champion and Lawyer constantly fighting to see who would gain the upper hand (until Angel chopped Lindsey’s off that is.) On screen, Angel and Lindsey despise everything that each other stand for, sharing hatred, jealousy and contempt. Off-screen nothing could be further from the truth as the long-standing friendship that exists between actors David Boreanaz and Christian Kane could only ever see them swapping memories of good times rather than swapping punches. As Lindsey McDonald, Christian portrays a man driven by ambition and it is a trait very much reflected in the man behind the morally-questionable lawyer as he strives to be successful in his two chosen passions, music and acting. During a recent visit to London, Christian, along with friend and guitarist from their band KANE, Steve Carlson, kindly spent a few moments of their time to share with CoA desires and dreams for both.
WEST COAST BECKONS SOUTHERN ROOTS
The first impression you get when you meet Christian Kane is that here is a man who is intensely proud of his heritage as he comes across every inch a cowboy. Born in Dallas, Texas in 1974, his father’s career in the oil-business pretty much called for him and his family to move across various locations throughout the Southland before finally settling in a small town called Norman in Oklahoma. Christian spent much of his childhood in movie theaters watching his favorite actors on screen and aspiring to be in their company. Chris actually pinpoints the performance of Tom Cruise as the rebellious fighter pilot, Pete ’Maverick’ Mitchell in the 1986 classic Top Gun as the turning point at which he decided he wanted to become an actor. Strangely, when he attended the University of Oklahoma after leaving high school, he decided to major in Art History rather than drama but the pull of Hollywood still appealed to him in a way that his studies didn’t. Rather than continue with something that didn’t inspire him, Christian soon dropped out of university making the brave decision to take a chance and pursue his dream of appearing on stage or screen. Music had become a deep influence in his life as he often found himself singing back-up on stage with his cousin Brandon Hart but Christian had his sights set on an acting career and so armed with no more than $300 in his pocket, he packed up all he had in a pickup truck and moved to Los Angeles.
Like any potential Hollywood young blood, the roles he yearned for didn’t just fall into his lap and Christian had to work as a production assistant and mailroom clerk for a talent agency just to make ends meet. His patience and endless rounds of auditions paid off in 1997 though as he landed the role of Ryan ’Flyboy’ Legget in a funny case of what seemed to be life imitating art. "My first role ever was one of the lead actors on Fame L.A.," he explains, "And so during that time I had to play a country singer that moved in from Kansas." Fame L.A. was a revamped version of a popular 80’s show based around the famous New York School for Performing Arts. In taking the lead role Christian not only had the opportunity to act but to sing which for someone who had never been in front of a camera before was pretty daunting. "I kind of busted my chops," he says, "I did a little acting and I did a little singing and Prescott Niles taught me how to play guitar for that show. He was the bassist for The Knack. I kind of also had to learn how to act. It was my first role and they just threw me on and it was nice that I got to do both at the same time, they kind of came up together." Working right alongside Christian in the pilot episode of that series was a familiar face and someone he would work with once more during his future role of Lindsey McDonald. "Thomas Burr (also known as Wolfram & Hart stooge lawyer Lee Mercer) was in the pilot," he confirms, "He’s a good buddy of mine. It was such a comforting thing to see him on Angel, it just kind of made me feel at home."
HELLO, HANDSOME GOODNESS!
Although Fame L.A. actually completed a full season run of 22-episodes, the ratings for the show were not quite as the producing studio, MGM, had hoped and it was subsequently cancelled. Unfortunately the next role Christian landed, that of the courageous, wild and shameless Wick Lobo in the WB’s Rescue 77 met with the same fate yet Christian was undeterred. Secure in the belief of his own talent ability, he landed a small part in the 1999 film EDTV before securing the role that was to bring him recognition and kudos. Ironically Christian was blissfully unaware that the character of scheming young Wolfram & Hart attorney Lindsey McDonald even existed. Rather than looking to be added to the cast of new spin-off series Angel, Christian was aiming to be included in the Season 4 line-up of its parent show, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, as he auditioned for a character who was the antithesis of the man he eventually got to play. "I started out for Riley," he says, "but my good buddy [Mark] Blucas got it." Christian openly admits that he played his audition for Riley perhaps a little less than wholesome and it worked for him in a way he couldn’t have imagined, "I think Joss [Whedon] saw me as a darker character and so just brought me on for the pilot of Angel."
Lindsey McDonald made his Whedon-verse debut in the opening episode of Angel, giving Christian the chance to work with long-time friend David Boreanaz. He actually recalls his opening scene in the episode "City of..." as one of his favourite moments from his entire time on Angel, " It was the first time David and me ever got to act together and there was just a chemistry. There was something. Neither one of us was on the same page and he was a badass and I was trying to be a badass and that right there was just a defining moment. You could tell the tension but you could also see the easiness of how we just flowed into each other. It’s very easy to act with Boreanaz and I think he feels the same with me. It’s something that we do, you know, we walk in and we feed off each other and it’s great." Although he made his introductory appearance in the premiere episode, Lindsey didn’t show himself again until episode 18, "Five by Five". By this time Angel was proving to be a major thorn in the side of his employers and the young associate tried to enroll the help of rogue slayer Faith to eliminate the problem, all the while trying to get one over on his beautiful co-conspirator, Lilah Morgan. Lilah played by the ever-stunning Stephanie Romanov made her presence known a couple of episodes previous in "The Ring" and although her initial attraction towards Angel was a little obvious, what developed over the next few episodes and into the next season was an incredible dynamic between Lilah and Lindsey. "There’s a lot of sexual tension between Lindsay and Lilah," Christian agrees, "and Stephanie being one of my really good friends in life, it really did kind of feel like it was us against the world. Everyone else was a series regular and we were fighting for a pole position and although we were against each other we were on the same team. It was a very weird dynamic but it was me and her against everybody else and I think that came off on screen."
As an instrument of evil, Lindsey impressed without effort and it was clear that the Senior Partners had him earmarked for success. The one thing they hadn’t accounted for however was the conscience that was buried deep down inside of Lindsey, which reared his head on occasion and that incredibly he also had a heart. Falling in love with the sire of his greatest enemy (Darla, portrayed by Julie Benz) allowed Lindsey to be ruled by his heart in defiance of Wolfram & Hart’s wishes. His vendetta against Angel became personal. He had lost his hand and the woman he loved to the vampire with a soul and his need for vengeance was in stark contrast to the plans that his bosses had. Yet despite that they were still willing to give him everything only for Lindsey to turn his back on them. He had already fought a battle of faith with his bosses when they had attempted to clear the name of potential child killer, Vanessa Brewer, but once he discovered that an innocent person had been butchered in order to give him his new hand, he found that he was doing the unthinkable of working alongside his enemy, Angel, for the second time in the Season 2 episode "Dead End". Although Lindsey may have resented working one-on-one with Angel, Christian relishes the opportunity to act alongside David and recalls the raiding of the Wolfram & Hart body shop in that episode as another of his favorite moments from his time on the series. "When we’re driving in the car, it was five o’clock in the morning, the sun was getting ready to come up and it was the last shot of the day and it’s colder than shit," he jokingly recalls. "We’re in a convertible car and it was so easy. It’s very easy to act with him and it’s really not a big scene but it was just me and David. Five o’clock, very tired, very cold and we’re driving in this car and we got it done. There was a lot of dialogue and there were a lot of emotions going on in that time and it was very simple." As the sun set on his ’good deed’ Lindsey left Wolfram & Hart blaming his ’evil hand issues’ and Christian left the series and his fans behind. Just for the time being, anyway.
SKY’S GONNA OPEN...
Although his character left for pastures anew, Christian didn’t go without leaving a little piece of his amazing talent ingrained in the memories of every Angel fan on earth. His incredible acting ability goes without question but in "Dead End", we also had the privilege to finally hear Christian sing. "David Greenwalt wrote the song and Steve Carlson played it and so it was a pre-recording," Christian says of the song L.A. which Lindsey performs on the Caritas stage, "Steve played all the good stuff, he went in..." At this point, Christian’s fellow band-member Steve Carlson interrupts, "We did it together," he corrects before allowing Christian to resume his story. "We really liked the song." Christian continues, "And it was natural. We went in there and in two takes it was done. What was nice about that was that David Greenwalt was actually in the studio when we did it so David would tell us, ’Well I had this in mind’, but it was only two takes, so we were all on the same page. David Greenwalt is actually a good piano player and a music fan. He is very much music oriented and it’s what he used to do actually, play music, so he already had a taste for it. I sat down in David’s office and we came up with a little riff and then David called me back and said I’ve got the song and he wrote it."
Since leaving Angel, Christian has made his fair share of film appearances accumulating a healthy resume of co-stars as well as reuniting with some old friends along the way. In 2001, Christian got to strap on the spurs and hit the trail for TNT with western veteran Tom Selleck in Louis L’Amour’s Crossfire Trail. Following with, Summer Catch, as he plays alongside the man that beat him to the role of Initiative guinea-pig Riley Finn in BtVS, Marc Blucas as well as the man that was to eventually ’marry’ Buffy, Sarah Michelle Gellar’s, husband Freddie Prinze Jr.. In Life or Something Like It he plays the role of Cal Cooper opposite Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft, Angelina Jolie and he could draw on his own personal experiences of living in Texas and Oklahoma when he took the lead role in Crooked E: The Unshredded Truth about Enron based on a booked by Brian Cruver. The role Christian actually admits to being "his favourite role to date" is that of Young Hub in the 2003 film Secondhand Lions. Although his speaking part is restricted to just one line at the very end of the film, Christian gets to play a younger version of one of his screen idols, Robert Duvall and he describes that experience as a "defining moment." He also realised another ambition when he got the opportunity to work with Luc Besson in a remake of a French film Taxi alongside Queen Latifah, to date that film is currently in post-production.
PASADENA, MEET OKLAHOMA
Music is the other passion that encapsulates Christian and his band, formed in 1998, KANE is the brainchild of two extremely talented musicians, Christian and Steve Carlson who met when Steve took over Christian’s job! "I got a job when I first got to L.A.," Steve tells us, "And I went to work for a production company and they were like, ’Oh the guy who worked this job before has just got a job on a show called Fame L.A.’ and so I went in and he [Christian] ended up coming back and we met through that." Born in Pasadena, Steve has honed his love for music from a very early age confessing to writing songs and playing guitar from as early an age as 10 years old. This dedication and passion is reflected in the way he plays and in his partnership and friendship with Christian. KANE has created their own style and niche of what they call ’outlaw country’. Currently residing high in the hills of Hollywood, Steve recalls the first time the KANE song writing partnership struck gold, "I threw a party one night and invited him and at midnight we were all upstairs playing music and he started singing with us. He like pulled me aside and said, ’How do you know all these country songs?’ because we were playing stuff like The Eagles and Hank Williams and David Allen Coe and all sorts of stuff. I told him my parents kind of raised me on country music. He said, ’Well we should write some time’ and we got together and we wrote "The Chase" and then we wrote "Spirit Boy". Then we had friends who were like, ’It’s my birthday next week, will you guys come and play those two songs?’ so we’d play like two songs and we’d throw in a couple of cover songs and then it was like we had a whole set."
The talents of a fiddle player by the name of Craig Eastman caught the attention of both Steve and Christian, "We are both big fans of our fiddle player," Christian enthuses, "He was just amazing and we were like, ’How do we get him?’ and luckily he started playing with us. A lot of our sound comes through Craig Eastman." Both fans and critics alike pay testimony to that comment as Craig’s collaboration along with Christian and Steve (and additional guitarist Michael Eaton for a time) has seen KANE produce an incredible ’live’ set, which has been performed, enjoyed and critically acclaimed in venues all across the coast of California including Johnny Depp’s Viper Room, King King, Ivar and the Warner Bros Sizzlin’ Country fundraiser, as well as taking their music into the heart of Country itself, Nashville. A recent acoustic set played at an event in London in November 2003 won the band a whole new set of fans in a country that is not exactly renowned for its mainstream love of country music. Enjoying what they do is paramount to Christian and Steve and their love of performing and being on stage is something they inevitably pass to their audience. That’s just how they like it and how they want it to continue for some time to come, "We want longevity," explains Christian, "We want people to listen to our music and sing along. We want it to be something you sing in the shower. We want to have fun with it and I want to quote Garth Brooks real quick because it’s the same thing that happens for me. "No matter how drunk you are or whatever you’re doing, the people who are having the most fun at the show are me and Steve!" Christian on playing music
No matter who’s at the show, no matter how drunk you are or whatever you’re doing, the people who are having the most fun at the show are me and Steve, it really is. We’re having the most fun you can possibly have. I think what we’d like to do is just keep the fun going. It’s very much exhilarating and, like I said earlier, it’s almost a drug and I think we’d just like longevity. We’d like people to listen to our stuff and move, you know, and if you’re cooking dinner and it comes on the radio we’d like you to shake your ass a little bit or if you’re in the car maybe you drive a little faster, stuff like that. We really want people to have a good time with our music and I think that’s what it is. We’re not out to be Kid Rock, just as long as people are having a good time."
Loving KANE’s music and their songs is one thing but getting access to it is another and has proven to be one of the frustrating matters for both the band and its followers alike. Voted by industry magazine Music Connection as "One of L.A.’s 100 Hottest Unsigned Bands", KANE’s first album was self-produced and as a result meant that it could only be accessed by downloading or purchasing from their official website: KANEmusic.com, an obstruction that the band plans to remove when their potential second album is up for release. "We’re kind of in negotiations right now to move forward on a bigger level with our music," Steve says with enthusiasm although he is very quick not to divulge too much info on exactly what negotiations are taking place. "A couple of people have asked us while we have been here, ’When are you going to put out a second album?’ and we have enough material to put out a second album and we loved producing the first one ourselves but we kind of want to do it now on a level where we have big distribution and it can get out." Christian adds, "Because it can get to more people. You don’t have to go on-line; we’d like to see it at stores so everyone can have access to it. Whenever you have a successful album then you get to travel to where your fans are and we have fans in London, we have fans in Egypt, Vietnam and we have fans all over the world that buy our stuff." Christian then shouts over to the bands manager, Eric Griffin and asks,"Where is the weirdest place that someone has bought our album from?" Eric thinks for a second, "The Solomon Islands," comes the reply, "although I have no idea where that is!" he jokes.
THE NASHVILLE/L.A. TWO-STEP
The future for the band is looking good with plans to return to Nashville to write, record, and hopefully release a second album into mainstream circulation. Although, when given the chance, Christian will slip a little of KANE’s music into his acting pieces. A song the band wrote in Nashville appears in Crooked E: The Unshredded Truth about Enron and in the film Life or Something Like It, Christian’s character Cal can be heard singing "Sweet Carolina Rain" to himself whilst walking down a corridor. The only soundtrack appearance KANE is actually credited for however is in one of Christian’s most recent roles, Just Married, where the first song they ever wrote, "The Chase" can be heard playing in an Italian bar!
By the time of writing this feature, the secret will be out that during Season 5 Christian’s character Lindsey McDonald has actually returned to the Angel fold to wreak havoc on his old foe once more. Angel makeup artist Dayne Johnson created the extensively tattooed look of Eve’s (Sarah Thompson) new conspirator. Christian confessed during a recent Q&A session with Stephanie Romanov at the Senior Partners Convention, that he believes the reason Lindsay has returned is largely due to the fans and their constant requests and pleas to Joss Whedon to bring him back. After two years away from show Christian admits he feels like he never really left, "It always feels like coming home. I’m working with David, with James and I’ve known them for a while. I’ve known David for over seven years; we’ve been friends for a long, long time. So with him being there it was like slipping into an old suit. It was nice. It was very comforting." Unfortunately the recent news of Angel’s cancellation means that his return is all too brief and fleeting but there can be no doubt whatsoever that whatever fate life has in store for both Christian and Steve, these "spirit boys" will soar and be ever successful in whatever they choose to do. Christian’s latest film, Keep Your Distance, where he plays Sean Voight in a romantic thriller with Jennifer Westfeldt of Kissing Jessica Stein is currently in post-production. But fans can watch for him in an upcoming episode of Las Vegas, as Bob in "The Strange Life of Bob" airing April 19th and there’s more evil fun as Lindsey when Angel returns from hiatus, April 14th in "Underneath".
Written by CoA UK Staff Writer, Sue Grimshaw