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AngelIt’s Not Easy to Ruffle David Boreanaz’s Feathers
By David Martindale
Friday 3 October 2003, by Webmaster
It’s tough to rattle David Boreanaz, the actor best known for playing a good-guy vampire on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. "I used to bungee-jump," says Boreanaz, a.k.a. Angel, the vamp with a soul. "I’d just put it on and go over the edge. That’s kind of the way I do a lot of things in my life."
That’s why, when Boreanaz was first informed back in 1999 that he might get his own spinoff series, he neither celebrated nor panicked. "I was focusing on a scene I was doing at the time on Buffy," he recalls. "I was in some period garb and really nervous about getting my Irish accent kind of right. That’s when (executive producer) Joss Whedon chose to tell me. I was like, ’Yeah, okay, fine,’ and then I went on and did my business."
Four years later, when Angel’s future on the WB was hanging in the balance, Boreanaz remained as unflappable as ever. "I kind of let things unfold," he says. "One thing I know for sure is that one day this job is going to end. So why obsess over things I can’t control ?" But when the fifth-season pickup came from WB executives, Boreanaz was still delighted, especially in light of the fact that the show this year promises to head in new directions. In the fourth-season finale, Angel and his crack team of monster killers were given control of the evil law firm Wolfram & Hart. This has become their new headquarters in season five. "In a way, it’s rejuvenating," Boreanaz says. "Joss has got a lot of great new ideas for us, so it’s like starting up a whole new show, only with characters that you’re already familiar with."
Boreanaz, born in Buffalo and raised in Philadelphia, was a kid when he knew a life in show business was for him. His inspiration : Yul Brenner in The King and I. "My parents took me to a lot of shows in New York when I was growing up and I saw Yul Brenner on stage and I was really impressed. He was a very intense actor and I really liked his performance. He became a hero of mine." However, after graduating with a film degree from Ithaca College, Boreanaz planned instead on pursuing a career behind the scenes in the production end of the business.
Those career plans changed soon after his arrival in Hollywood. He applied for film crew work on a couple of TV commercials and instead, because of his good looks, was hired to work in front of the camera. He then endured a few requisite struggling-actor years before landing his breakthrough role in 1996 as Angel, which initially was only a recurring part. He was such a last-minute hire, Boreanaz recalls, that his first day of shooting on Buffy occurred one day after his being cast.
There was no guarantee that Angel’s impact on Buffy would grow as it did-and certainly no indication that Boreanaz would rate having his own series years down the road. But Whedon says Angel turned out to be one of the show’s richest characters to write for while Boreanaz proved to be game for any acting challenge. Boreanaz, meanwhile, credits the writers’ imaginations - although, he adds, "the writers also take away little qualities of you as a person and incorporate them into your character." Consider, for example, Angel’s unlikely love for schmaltzy Barry Manilow tunes. "I don’t know whether I should admit this," Boreanaz says, "but Manilow was the first concert I ever went to."
So now that Angel has been spared cancellation, what happens when it finally does end its run ? Boreanaz insists he’ll be fine with it. His career goal now is to graduate from TV to feature films and he has already started to make that transition. During the summer of 2003, for example, Boreanaz filmed The Crow 4 : Wicked Prayer, opposite Edward Furlong and Dennis Hopper. Furlong is the Crow, by the way, and Boreanaz plays the main bad guy. After so many seasons on TV as a champion for good (while turning evil only occasionally), portraying the villain is a real treat. "Damn straight," Boreanaz says. "It’s going to be rockin’."