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James Marsters - At Suntimes.com

Wednesday 7 May 2003, by Webmaster

Long before he dyed his brown hair blond and sank his teeth into the role of Spike, the Brit bloodsucker with a soul on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," James Marsters was grooming his bad-boy image. First, as a reject from the famed acting school at Juilliard, then as a Chicago-based actor who wasn’t afraid to bare all—much to the delight of many a blue-haired Goodman subscriber.

We caught up with Marsters—who’s in town this weekend for a convention appearance and a gig with his band, Ghost of the Robot—to discuss "Buffy’s" demise, his Chicago days and what the future holds.

Q. For those who missed your entrance in the 1987 production of "The Tempest," what was so special that people are still talking about it after all these years?

A. Oh, for [expletive] sake. Bob Falls! It was his first season at the Goodman, and he wanted to radically switch the subscription base, so he was big on nudity. I played the prince handpicked by the wizard father to marry his daughter. I was supposed to be the perfect boy. Falls wheeled me out, strapped to a wheel like Da Vinci’s man, and you could hear a sea of opera glasses clicking open to get a better look.

Q. You’re planning to spend your summer post-"Buffy" touring extensively through Europe with your band Ghost of the Robot. How’d that come about?

A. Frankly, the initial interest is through "Buffy." We don’t have a problem with that. We all have to eat. OK, so mine are paid for thanks to the show, but everyone else in the band has got to eat.

Q. Just how many times have you had to dye your hair in the course of seven seasons?

A. Once for every episode I was in.

Q. Didn’t that fry your hair?

A. My hair was fine with it. The scalp, on the other hand, had all these blisters. We’d be in the middle of a shot and a blister would pop. We’d have to stop shooting because the pus was running down my face, ruining my makeup. [Laughs.] Glamor, baby. It’s all about the pain.

Q. So tell us how the series ends, already!

A. I can’t. [Laughs.] Let’s just say it will be exciting, expensive, romantic, bloody and heartbreaking. Oh, yeah, and it will piss some people off, too.

Note: The Buffy the Vampire Slayer Fan Event will be held Saturday and Sunday at the Radisson O’Hare, 6810 N. Mannheim, Rosemont. Tickets are $25-$50 and available at the door.

Marsters’ band, Ghost of the Robot, performs two shows, at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Saturday, at the Pickwick Theatre, 5 S. Prospect, Park Ridge. For tickets ($35-$50), call (847) 825-5800.

Misha Davenport