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AngelCity of Angel - Celebrating the 100th Episode of Angel
By Jeff Ritchie
Thursday 11 December 2003
Angel Takes the Cake Celebrating the 100th Episode
Reaching episode one hundred is a massive feat for any television series. Many never even come close to this landmark. Like it’s parent show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel recently became another one of the memorable shows to create over one hundred different stories. Over four and a half years Angel has certainly come a long way. From his brooding, self-exiled days of yore, to raising his son Connor, Angel has been on quite a ride. He has battled past loves, evil law firms, vicious demons of all shapes and sizes, and even had a few laughs along the way. Now he’s running the base of his sworn enemy. Executive Producers Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt created a show strong enough to establish it’s own presence despite being a spin-off. With the help of talented writers like Tim Minear and David Fury, they succeeded in pleasing both fans and studios alike with consistent entertaining television. Now, one hundred episodes later, Angel is stronger than ever and shows no signs of slowing down.
A TIME OF REFLECTION The lobby of Wolfram & Hart is a massive set; just large enough to house all of the ravenous press eager to cover the biggest press day in Angel history. Prominently displayed in the middle of the room was the cake. Vanilla frosting over a chocolate velvet interior, it proudly read "Angel 100." Above it a large banner said it all with the simple words "Angel 100th." Snapping countless pictures, everyone waited for the event to officially begin. Slowly, cast and crew members began to sneak in. Countless Angel family members flooded into the room from writers such as Ben Edlund and Fury, to Makeup artist Dayne Johnson, and even the familiar face of Charisma Carpenter. As their numbers grew, the crowd was quieted and the first speaker stepped up: Brad Turell, The WB’s Senior Vice President for Publicity and Talent Relations. Brad kicked off the celebration with a short and simple, yet powerful speech as he praised Angel’s achievement, "We couldn’t be more proud than to have Angel be one of the shows to join a list of dramas that have gone over a 100 episodes like 7th Heaven, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dawson’s Creek, and Charmed."
He then introduced the next speaker, President of 20th Century Fox Television, Gary Newman. As the clapping subsided, Gary began, "On behalf of 20th Century Fox television, I want to congratulate all of you on reaching this impressive milestone of one hundred episodes. Particularly in this day and age it is a truly significant achievement. One everyone involved should be extremely proud of." Drawing more applause, he continued by recounting the origins of the show "from the beginning Angel was a very special project. Most like this are sold after producing a terrific pilot, or based on a really inspired pilot script. Of course, Angel was a little different. Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt brought a bunch of us from the network and the studio back to their offices in Santa Monica five years ago and showed us a compilation of clips from Buffy featuring the character Angel. They pitched to us a new vampire show that would be different from its predecessor and would be built around the virtual unknown David Boreanaz. Fortunately, the network and the studio had a great deal of confidence in Joss and David and the star power of David Boreanaz, and here we are one hundred episodes later." Gary concluded his speech by praising the innumerable talents behind the show, especially Joss Whedon and the writers.
Next the President of The WB, Jordan Levin, addressed the crowd. He reminisced how it seemed like Buffy the Vampire Slayer had been in this very same position only a short while ago. Reaching this landmark is massive for Angel especially because like Buffy, "it’s one of the just pure passion plays." Over the years Joss and everyone continued to create ideas "that are different, that are unique, and that people feel incredibly passionate about and commit their lives to." Despite being a spin-off, he said how Angel defied all doubts and continued on to become incredibly successful, "Usually spin offs are cynical things. They’re just done for business reasons. But this was really setting a story that needed to be told." The entire room smiling ear to ear, Jordan voiced what everyone was feeling, "It’s really an honor to be here, an honor to do a show that is not only such a critical hit but one that fans everywhere support. When you can have a marriage like this it’s really wonderful." With that he introduced the man himself, Joss Whedon.
After a literal explosion of applause, Joss took the floor. Despite his calm, casual appearance, he could not hide his elation. Waving down the clapping, he began, "There are a lot of suits in the room. And I want to thank them all. It’s never been what Buffy was in terms of pop culture. It has flown a little bit under the radar, but we’ve always had the support of Fox and the WB." Turning a bit more serious, he thanked his good friend David Greenwalt who could not be there. He went on to recount how they brought the show from conception to reality, and the joy of finding David Boreanaz to play Angel. "The idea of the show was redemption. It has gone through a lot of different permutations, a lot of characters, a lot of different styles, but ultimately that has never left," he continued. "To me, Angel is so important because it is about how an adult faces what they’ve done with their life. These things have a great deal of meaning to me. Plus, awesome fights!" Joss then personally introduced the cast members one by one. At his side stood James Marsters, Charisma Carpenter, David Boreanaz, Amy Acker, J. August Richards, Andy Hallett, and Alexis Denisof. Together, they all grabbed hold of a knife and held it above the cake. After posing for pictures, the brought the knife down, officially commemorating Angel on it’s 100th episode.
100 EPISODES, 1 CAST OF FAMILY A lot of Angel’s success can be attributed to its stellar ensemble cast. Over the years cast members have come and gone, often returning for small stints every now and again. With both old and new faces at the junket, the atmosphere truly resembled a family reunion. After the cake cutting the press was split into smaller groups and sent to various parts of the stage, patiently awaiting their turn to get comments from the various cast members.
At the end of Season Two, Angel and company took a trip to a little dimension called Pylea. There we first met the quirky uber-scientist known as Winifred Burkle, or simply Fred. Soft spoken and sweet, Amy Acker lights up the room with her innocent smile and instantly recognizable laugh. The fact that Angel has reached it’s 100th episode makes her appreciate the talent of the staff working on the show, “I was sort of the lucky one that started in the middle so I already knew that everyone liked the show and that it was successful. I didn’t have those first stressful years. But even last year we didn’t know if we were going to be back on, so it’s great. It’s so nice that we have such talented writers and people who can make up a hundred different stories, I couldn’t even write one episode,” she said with a laugh. With everyone now working from the Wolfram & Hart building, Amy has really enjoyed the new direction of the show, “it is exciting. After doing a similar thing for the past three years, some people five people or seven years since Buffy started, it was like a whole new show, just sort of a different energy on the set. It felt like we had a whole new job but we just got to work with all the people that we like so it was great.” While all the characters received perks in one way or another, Fred was lucky enough to have her very own laboratory that has become essential to her character, “It’s neat because the lab has been a pretty integral part of the show. I get to cure diseases and build instruments etc. For the past two years they just said ‘oh she’s a smart science person’ and I was always like ‘yeah, I guess I’m good at science,’ but now it’s all panning out,” she said proudly.
More than other characters, Fred has interacted on many levels with Spike. As other cast members stated, James’ arrival was a completely positive experience, “there is very little drama on our show. He was just so excited to be here and he made everyone be like ‘Oh yeah we should be excited. This is cool, we’re here’ because sometimes you forget that when you are waking up at 4:30 in the morning to go to work.” Some of her most memorable and rewarding scenes this season have been one-on-one interactions with Spike, “having those two person scenes are always the most fun for us as actors because lots of times when there is ten of us and everyone has one line it’s like a line that anyone could say they just decided to give it to you!” she joked. “Those two person scenes really led to some character development and found out new things about the people instead of just about the situation.” Just as Fred chose to help Spike, her actions also helped her grow as a character, “I think at the beginning Fred was trying to say ‘well you should get Wesley to help you because he’d be better,’ and when Spike finally said ‘no I want you to do it,’ it made her step up and find her place at Wolfram & Hart and realize that she could be an asset more to the team in this new environment.” Fred has been with Gunn, drooled over Angel, kissed Wesley, and is now with Knox. So is a romance with Spike in the future? Is there anyone Fred won’t flirt with? “I know! I think she’s just a little floozy! The Pylean men were not…she hasn’t hooked up with Lorne yet.”
Talking with Andy Hallett is always a unique, light-hearted experience. From the moment he walked in his personality lifts the atmosphere of the room. Animated and outgoing, it feels like you are talking with Lorne as Andy jumps from one sidesplitting story to the other. Overjoyed by reaching one hundred episodes, Andy has been constantly enjoying himself. Not one to talk too seriously, Andy also recounted the hilarity of the Halloween episode. “Always, as an actor, you’re trying to get people to believe. Believability is one of your main objectives, and I’m always trying to be as believable as possible. I’ve done scenes before where I’ve walked away and been like ‘yeah I think I gave it my all.’ I’ve never, ever, ever, let loose like I did on the dance floor in that scene with Mercedes,” he said. “We danced so hard and were laughing so hard that the steady cam on the floor was panning around to hide the laughter. I was sweating so hard from laughing that my mask was starting to peel off. That’s never happened, even in the hot sun it has never happened,” he explained, laughing at the memory. Leaning forward and gesturing in the air, he continued the story, “we did it once and the director was like ‘you guys gotta pump it up because it feels like you are dancing for camera.’ Well when he told us that, Mercedes and I looked at each other and said ‘well they better hold onto their hats.’ I was wearing this long scarf and she was whipping me back and stuff. The outtakes have to be hilarious. One time, I swore that I broke my neck. I thought it was literally was never going to come out of this position,” he said while tilting his head back. “She whipped me back so hard and pulled me back in. We were just dancing like crazy.”
Another memorable scene involved a certain little slave demon of the Archduke Sebassis, “First of all, I was scared to death. I was fucking petrified of him. Every time I looked at him I was like ‘ah!’ I almost burst into tears like seven or eight times. I was just petrified because his makeup was so good. You know how when you see a pug it’s like ‘oh he’s so weird looking that he’s cute.’ Ryan and his makeup were so scary and weird that it was just intriguing.” Lorne is known for his outbursts and eccentricities, little nuances that Andy adds to the character. In the Halloween episode, Andy really got to exercise this, “When we did that scene where the drink came out of his wrist and I had to be like ‘oh,’ usually I do all those expressions and stuff. To me those are things that are funny, and that’s why I do them. I’m constantly doing expressions and noises. They always say that a scene isn’t complete until I put a noise into it. Just like all my little things. So that was the very first time that they used a bunch of over the top expressions. Some directors will say, ‘bring it back in a little bit, reel me back in’ but then I’ll be like ‘look at me, take a peek. I am over the top, my character is over the top’ so I feel like I have that room,” he explained.
Alexis Denisof has masterfully portrayed Wesley for six years. With his impeccable English accent and ability to convey countless different emotions, Alexis pushed Wesley into the hearts of everyone. For him, reaching one hundred episodes is truly an amazing feat, “I can’t believe we’ve done it. On the one hand it feels like we started yesterday, on the other hand every show it feels like we’ve made a hundred. It’s a hard show to make because you’re off in downtown LA all night doing fights and then the long days on set, it’s just a big show to make. But on the other hand it’s so much fun to make that it flies by.” Despite the near-cancellations, Alexis is confident in the strength of the show, “I think we’re all amazed that we’ve made it to one hundred because the show has also had some tough times where it looked like it was about to be buried. But it keeps fighting another day and it seems to get stronger every time we get threatened,” he said.
Over the years Wesley has gone through major emotional changes, all of which have been a constant source of pride and inspiration for Alexis, “I am amazed with the evolution of the character. I give all credit to Joss and the writers for finding all these corners for the character to explore and finding a believable, organic way to change the character over the years. I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to do that. I really love the character, I love him for all the things he was on Buffy and in the first couple of seasons of Angel, but I also love him for all the things he has turned into.” This season Wesley has finally broken out of his exile and become a true part of the family again. For Alexis, this is a very positive change that opens up new doors for Wesley, “We looked at tearing the group apart in past seasons and how that affected Wesley. Now we’ve knitted the team back together and they’re faced with a moral dilemma of, in the overall scheme, are they fighting for good or for evil? I think Wesley’s very confident in himself now and very secure about what he’s doing and has grown into the role of the person who makes hard decisions and stands by them for the good of the greater community and not for his own greater good. So there has been a price to pay, he has suffered a great deal,” he continued. “I have enjoyed the way we explore that kind of dilemma of the character through the sacrifices he’s made in order to do the right thing. I think that’s a metaphor for the whole show.”
Yet despite being friendly with everyone again, the emotional torment never ceases for Wesley, such as his recent conflict the robot that looked like his father. These difficult scenes can be quite demanding, “Each scene calls for a slightly different approach, but those approaches fall into sort of larger characters. With a scene like the conflict with Wesley shooting his father, there’s a big emotional commitment required for that scene and a lot of focus on my part. I do go into a very kind of quiet state where I just have my attention on the task that’s at hand. I just want to do as good a job as I can in the scene,” he explained. Still he’s not always introverted during filming, “I’m probably not very much fun to be around when we’re shooting that kind of scene as opposed to a lighter scene in the office where there is a lot of banter between the characters. In that kind of situation we as actors can have a lot of banter on the set with each other and with the crew because that is the kind of mood we’re going to be in for the scene anyway. The crew and cast are all very aware and respectful about the demands that are being made on any of the actors at any given time so we try to respect whatever their needs are.”
Having recently married Buffy alumni Alyson Hannigan, the question always comes up as to when Alyson will be making another appearance on Angel, “I’d love to get Aly back over here. It was so much fun when she visited us last year. Not just because she’s a huge talent, but because I love her and I like to have here with me here at work. There’s a bunch of reasons I’d be smiling ear to ear if she were brought onto the show,” he said. He’s confident in the writer’s ability to introduce characters from Buffy onto Angel and feels that there could be an opportunity in the future for some of those actors to appear, “I think they’ve been clever about bringing characters from Buffy over here in the sense that they’ve done it, but they haven’t just sprayed them out all at once in shotgun fashion. They introduce them at different times and for different durations. I feel like they could all be here anytime there’s a way to do it, but they’ve been smart to not give away Angel and have it become a tour bus for the Buffy characters because it’s still its own show.”
One of the biggest surprises at the junket was the appearance of Charisma Carpenter. Missing from Angel this year, both fans and the cast have been clamoring for her to return. Looking absolutely stunning, Charisma was overjoyed to be back with friends again. Bombarded by nonstop interviews, CityofAngel.com managed to get a quick comment from her. When Charisma jumped from Buffy to Angel, she had no clue it would become the phenomenon it has, “I’m grateful. I thought that possibly it wouldn’t go at all and that I would have to go back to Buffy. But fortunately now we’re on our 100th episode, so we’re where they were on they’re 100th episode,” she said with her vibrant smile.
The first to step into CityofAngel’s discussion area was the undeniably charismatic Christian Kane. Dressed in Southern style jeans and boots, he simply exuded a laid back, friendly demeanor. His partially unbuttoned shirt revealed his character’s new runic tattoos on his chest and forearms. Playing Wolfram & Hart’s star lawyer Lindsey McDonald, Christian disappeared from Angel late in the second season and hadn’t been seen since. However, he made his surprising return as Eve’s bedfellow in the final scene of episode eight this season. Like the fans, Christian had no clue he was going to return, “I had no idea. This is really recent. It was like a week before they filmed me for episode eight that I found out. I was in New York doing a film with Queen Latifah that I’m still doing called Taxi. He called me up and he said ‘we’ve got an idea for you to come back on the show, what do you think?’ Without hesitation I was like “absolutely,” because I love working with him. He’s one of the most, if not the most, brilliant writers that I’ve ever worked.” Not only delighted to return to Angel, Christian was excited to see his friends again, “Of course I get to go and hang out with my best friend, part of my family, which is Boreanaz. We’ve known each other for seven and a half years and it’s just a coincidence that two really great friends get to work on a show together.”
Christian’s return was one of the most guarded shockers that has aired this season, “we kept it really secretive. I think some stuff leaked out that I was coming back in episode ten, but no one had any idea that I was going to be in eight. Joss had the idea of not putting my name on, no credit, no nothing, and just bringing me in. It was really fun.” His impact on the show was immediately felt with fans across the Internet, “I heard five minutes after the show aired like six messages boards crashed or something. Anytime I can do that and can cause havoc, then right on, that’s just my style,” he said with a laugh. Despite not knowing much about the current direction of his character, Christian is more than happy to throw some wrenches into Angel’s life, “I’m always the big bad. Well, Spike and Angel are good now so they gotta have someone come in and be evil. I have no problem doing it.” So with Lindsey back on the scene, and Spike now a regular, will we see a battle of the bands at Wolfram & Hart? Possibly, “You’ve got James on here now, and you’ve me. We’ve both have bands and so if we don’t sing on the show together we’re planning on doing a show.”
Being the headliner for a show is never easy. David Boreanaz has had to put in consistent, quality work every day for over seven years. Because of his constant efforts, he really appreciates this milestone for the show, “it’s cool. I’m fortunate to be part of a great cast and crew and some great writers that have brought us this far. It’s a combination of a lot of hard work from everybody and a great network that has been behind us.” The 100th episode has really been special for him because it has allowed him to reflect on his work, “You don’t really get a chance to do that because of the intensity and the hours. Maybe I’ll do that someday, but I haven’t taken the time to really sit back and think about certain things. I have in this episode because it’s been full swing with the storyline and characters that have come and gone emotionally.” While he has no plans to leave Angel anytime soon, David feels that he has really grown as an artist, “I can feel myself continuing to grow year after year, especially where I am right now. I look forward to a massive explosion in the next three years. I feel that I am at another threshold and I am excited about that. This is a very exciting time for me because I felt like I did before I got Buffy in a lot of ways. I’m pleased to get to a hundred episodes and look at it for what it is, but as far as professionally I know that I am ready for a lot of new things.”
This season has also marked another milestone for David - he directed his very first episode, “I’ve always been fascinated with the camera, the movement, communicating with other actors, being in that position to know what they want to hear and what they don’t want to hear, and knowing how they feel at certain times. Directing is really about telling somebody to put applesauce on the table,” he explained. “You’re directing a prescription for an already prescribed show. You have your limitations but you can put your mark on it. I feel like I did that with this show that I directed, but then again I’m not the show runner, I don’t get the final cut. I will have a Director’s cut that will be much longer,” he said with a laugh. More than anything, David is just proud of the show and of where it has gone, “I think that this season has been my most enjoyable as far as the show has been concerned. Whether it’s the beginning of another year or the end, I think that it is a good cap on the show. It has been different and it has been unique and it has been a lot of fun. The shows have been much more stand-alone, smaller arcs, not as heavy as last year. But I think it’s maintained it’s dignity, its composure, and what it stands for.”
If anyone has gone through a drastic change this season, it has been Charles Gunn. Before, he was strictly a fighter. Now, with his new brain upgrade, he wears fancy suits while spitting off lawyer jargon with ease; and J. August Richards is loving it. Wearing one of Gunn’s expensive suits, J. August is beyond stylish. While his character change has been a challenge, he has embraced it completely, “I’m really liking it and that’s one of the things that keeps the show interesting for me personally. This season I get to play a lawyer, someone who is being morally seduced by Wolfram & Hart. He’s having a lot of moral ambiguity. I have a lot of talking to do now like in terms of long exposition speeches, which scare me more than like vampires.” As an added perk, J. August’s plea to grow his hair was finally answered, “when Joss told me what was going to happen I immediately said ‘OK now I gotta grow my hair. Now you got to let me have my hair.’” A new office, complete with a collection of toy robots, was also a nice surprise, “My character is such a child at heart. That’s why I think that I like fighting so much through him, because he’s just like a kid at heart. He loves the video games, robots, anything that’s young oriented. So that’s part of my character that I can kind of relate to because I like to keep it young with my hobbies.” Of course, those suits are nothing to scoff at either, “I knew the clothes were gonna be hot,” he said while pointing to his shirt. “This is Versace. You like how I didn’t even have to look? That’s right, that’s right,” he laughed.
While he doesn’t know what Joss has in store for Gunn, J. August has formed his own opinions on his current path, “I would say [he’s evil], but only because I think he’s been completely seduced and taken off his path. Evil can take place in so many ways and it’s such a subtle difference. Like they say ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions.’ That’s who my character has become for me.” One of the subtle differences has to do with the arrival of a certain platinum haired vampire, “one thing that lets me know that Gunn has lost his center a little bit is that he doesn’t hate Spike. My character always hates the new person. But this time he’s letting him in. That tells you, to me, that something is askew; something is awry.” Just as their characters are drawn to each other, J. August welcomed the addition of James Marsters to the cast, “I love working with James. He’s a very talented actor and brings a lot to the table. I feel like he fit in so effortlessly that it’s not been a challenge. It doesn’t feel like some foreign body is being forced into our world. Its just very seamless, he fits in wonderfully and hopefully he likes us to,” he explained. While many people were stressing over whether or not Season Five would even exist, J. August has learned to take it all in stride, “it’s funny because it seems like almost every year there’s a question about whether we’re going to get picked up or not and we do, and we come through. I’ve learned to stop thinking about it, stop worrying about it. The minute I say ‘Oh yeah, we’re definitely coming back,’ that will be the season that we don’t come back. So I’m just rolling with the punches.”
James Marsters has always been a fan favorite. His move to Angel was one of the most anticipated events in the history of the show. Having been a part of now two one hundred episode shows, James truly counts his blessings. Not one to let popularity to his head, he is extremely grateful for all his success, “I’m so lucky. That’s what happened with me on Buffy. I jumped onto a show that was already a success and I did it again. And I’m just reaping the rewards of other people’s work again. Lucky.” While Spike may have become an icon, James tries to distance himself from getting cocky, “I still am resistant to think about that [Spike’s popularity]. I think that, in general, celebrity will destroy your soul. If you concentrate too much on how popular you are, or what the affect is out there, it just trips with your head. I contemplated a little too deeply one season and it really was too trippy. I’m so appreciative of it, it’s wonderful, but what is important is really what I do today and if I suck or if I don’t suck,” he admitted. James is constantly surprised at the direction his character has taken. He assumed that he would be merely a fun annoyance to Angel. The writers, as he explains, won’t keep things simple, “we just did a big fight between Angel and Spike. I would have bet my whole nut on, I would have bet my guitar, on the fact that angel was going to win that fight. What they’ve done is open Angel for a whole new arc of self-doubt and a whole new reason to try to redeem yourself beyond the reward. Genius.” James has also begun to realize that there is a lot more dramatic potential between Angel and Spike than he initially thought, “for example, Spike never bought that Angel was reformed. He was like ‘bullshit, you’re still gonna kill people, I don’t buy that for a second.’ It doesn’t register with Angel now that Spike has gotten a soul and is reformed. He does not see himself in Spike at all and I think that is because Angel has seen Spike do such horrendous evil that he just can not believe that you can come back from that. And Spike doesn’t believe that angel can come back, even though they’re both hoping to come back from doing what they’ve done. It’s a really wonderful doppelganger for him,” he explained.
Since his arrival, vicious false rumors have spread over the Internet about James taking over on set. Scoffing at the rumors, he explains that things couldn’t be farther from the truth, “between David and I functionally? There are no sparks at all. I am in awe of this guy. He is the same guy that I met a long time ago filming Buffy. This guy that broke a fucking two by four with his head! He was doing a gag where they had a wire on his back. It went a little wrong and he went through with his head and broke it! He’s bleeding and he’s like nothing, he’s hiding the blood and he just wanted to get the next take. He’s the same guy,” he said. Not only have David’s acting chops impressed him, but his directing abilities as well, “he’s so good. He doesn’t know this really, but he’s so good that we forgot he was a first time director! We all got lazy and kind of left him in a ditch a bit, and had to remind ourselves ‘shit! David! We should be here for David because he’s really a first time director.’ He had the quality of such confidence and knowing what he wanted to do one step at a time that it was like working with Jefferson Kibbee, one of our directors who has been doing it for thirty or thirty five years.” David has been so impressive that the crew has been approaching James to lobby for David to direct more, “the crew is coming up to me and pressuring me to suggest that David gets another episode or two this year when we’re really tired so that we can have a strong director and we don’t have to stress out more than we need to. Hollywood stars are supposed to be spoiled and supposed to not be able to think of anybody but them, and that’s so not David at all.” However, directing isn’t a path that James necessarily wants to pursue, “I’m more interested in producing, frankly. As I see how things work in television specifically. I think the things that interest me are the larger arcs of characters, finding larger components, and deciding what the story is that we’re going to tell, and how we tell it.”
The character Harmony has become an icon on both Buffy and Angel. From being an obnoxious Cordette in Sunnydale High School, to becoming a not-so-evil vampire, Harmony has always been around. Now officially part of the Angel team, Mercedes McNab has finally found a home for Harmony. Not appearing on Angel for years, Mercedes was worried that she may have been done with the character, “it had been so long that I figured they forgot about me. Joss had never personally phoned me before so when I got a call from Joss and was like ‘ooh this must be serious, what did I do?’” she said, laughing. Joss told her that he wanted Harmony on the show if Angel got picked up for another season. At a crossroads in life, Mercedes didn’t initially think the offer was too serious, “I said ‘well I’m moving to New York in two days so let me know if and when.’ I moved and then he called three months into my stay there and said ‘you’d better get on a plane.’” Moving back to Los Angeles, Mercedes was more than happy to be a part of the team, “On a personal level it’s very gratifying. I was always kind of left out of the loop and I’m finally brought into it so that’s exciting. I love everyone. I almost got teary-eyed like a big nerd when Joss was making his speech.” Still, Mercedes has high hopes for Harmony in the future, “as a character, it’s good. I wish she were more a part of the gang because she’s still a little bit left out. I wish she could be a little more useful to the gang as opposed to just coming in and giving one-liners. I’m hoping that maybe she can go undercover, not as camp as Charlie’s Angel, but dress up in crazy things and do that kind of stuff.”
Like many people, Mercedes thoroughly enjoyed filming the Halloween episode. Dancing with Andy Hallett proved to be one of her more memorable moments this season, “It was so ridiculous. We had no idea what was going on. He was making me laugh so hard I was about to pee my pants. I had him with the scarf and he was the human slingshot. When the camera would come he’d be like ‘don’t laugh don’t laugh’ so of course I would laugh more.” As fun as the scene was, something did irk her a bit, “we were listening to some weird music. The bad 70’s song I had to dance to, that song played three days straight and it’s not even a good song to start with. I was just glad it wasn’t that song ‘Born, born to be alive,’ she sang. “Because if I hear that song I get it stuck in my head,” she laughed and paused to think about the song. “And have you ever actually thought about that? Born, born to be alive? What does that mean?!” Bad 70’s songs aside, Mercedes has found herself quite busy this year. Landing a role on the WB show Run of the House starring Joe Lawrence, Mercedes plans to continue both characters, “It’s also a recurring role so I will be juggling those two as much as possible, but predominately Angel.”
Angel is notorious for its secretive characters that only give you a spoonful of information at a time. This season the mysterious Eve has had everyone guessing. Played by the strikingly beautiful and confident actress Sarah Thompson, Eve will undoubtedly continue to intrigue fans. A newcomer to Angel, Sarah did have her reservations about entering such an established cast, “I was so nervous. The night before I couldn’t sleep because I felt like it was my first day at school and everybody knew each other. I was just really nervous because I figured these people have known each other for four years and they’ve already created all their relationships. I walked on the set and everyone just welcomed me, and immediately all that worry was gone. They’re great people.” Completely new to this type of genre, Sarah immediately embraced the challenges that Angel offered, “It’s awesome. Most of the work that I’ve done, like Boston Public and now Line of Fire, all have very realistic storylines, things that actually happen. So it’s really fun to do something like this because it’s almost like learning a new language. When I first read the script I was like, ‘OK I don’t know what some of these words mean,’ because the writers invent Angel language. Then there’s language that has been established over the past four years that I’m not familiar with. Now I know it all. Now I understand everything,” she explained. While the entire experience has been amazing, Sarah found the Halloween episode to be particularly fun, “All the characters were so different than they normally are so it was just anything goes on that episode. I loved getting to do some of that comedy with David behind the couch. They were encouraging us to just really just find the humor in everything and that was fun.” She also enjoyed some of the more physical aspects of Angel, “I loved the episode, and this is going to sound strange, when I got strangled. I’d never really done any stunts or anything like that before, so that was kind of fun for me.”
Perhaps Eve’s most surprising scene so far came when she hopped into bed with the long missing Angel villain Lindsey McDonald. Working with Christian has been a great experience for Sarah, “He’s a great actor, very professional. He’s really great to work with, always full of ideas and everything.” Like Christian explained, their first scene together was purposely kept a secret, “That scene was actually not in the original script for that episode. It was omitted. They didn’t even tell me that it existed until a few days before. I got this memo in my trailer that said confidential, and it’s the scene. So I read it and was like ‘oh my God!’ We shot it as a second unit scene so it was a very, very small crew. Nobody knew about it. The other cast members didn’t even know about it! I was so frustrated because I was like ‘oh, I want to tell everyone! I want to tell my friends that I’m evil!’ But I couldn’t. I had to keep my mouth shut.” Being on a show like Angel, Sarah has been exposed to many new aspects of fandom. With the shows incredible Internet following, she quickly learned how fast information travels, “Once I got on the show immediately it seemed like it was all over the Internet. I had friends from high school emailing me saying ‘Oh I read on the Internet that you’re on Angel,’ and it was like a day after I got the job” she said. Her personal encounters with fans have also come as a pleasant surprise, “Angel seems to have these really, really, really passionate fans. They come up to me on the street sometimes and love to tell me how evil I am, and not in a bad way. They’re always really nice.”
THE UNPAVED ROAD AHEAD
Cast and creator join hands to cut the cake
After one hundred episodes, Angel is looking better than ever. With drastic changes, like the addition of James Marsters and taking over Wolfram & Hart, the cast and crew of Angel have proved that change can make all the difference. This season has not only seen a massive jump in ratings, but the critics have finally begun to take notice of its excellence. Not even halfway through the season, Angel will continue to move along and produce quality programming. With everyone reflecting on the milestone of producing one hundred entertaining episodes, who knows how far Angel will go. One thing is for certain: Angel has left its mark in television history.