Homepage > Joss Whedon’s Tv Series > Buffy The Vampire Slayer > Interviews > James Marsters - Collectormania May 2007 - Jamesmarsterslive.com Q & A (...)
« Previous : Buffy & Angel Cast Wallpapers 223
     Next : "Angel : Auld Lang Syne" Comic Book - TPB - Medium Quality Pages Preview »


Buffy The Vampire Slayer

James Marsters - Collectormania May 2007 - Jamesmarsterslive.com Q & A Transcript

Thursday 14 June 2007, by Webmaster

Q: [long question about a scene in Buffy]

JM: No, I laughed twice , we got it on the third take because it’s such a good line- but yeah because Tony and I we just love each other because we were two older actors ah who had been through a couple of cycles of fame and money admittedly smaller than we were on on Buffy but we’d seen it before a little bit so we were really excited about the scripts and we were always excited to be shooting and we kind of bonded so we kind of Tony and I really— I felt like he was my age and he helped me with the Spike accent right away and he was so giving so we really like each other Tony and I , really we’re friends but we knew that in the script we’re supposed to hate each other so that we had such licence to hate each other on film because we knew that we really really liked each other so we were trying to find new ways to hate each other all the time and that line was just brilliant and I got him.


Q: At the end of Buffy, when you was reading the script, because they’d built you up so high, what was it like to be taken down in that kind of way.

JM: Yeah um Basically ever since I got taken on the show, as regular when Spike came back in season four and he was starting to get chained up- from that moment on it was about taking that character down off the pedestal because for the writers of Buffy? Someone who’s cool and hurts people is not cool. So if you get set up as that kind of cool guy, smoking the cigarettes and hitting people and stuff, you know you’re going to get taken down bigtime. And they wanted to kill me off, when they wrote the character- beore we started filming the character, it was designed to be killed off fast. And the only reason that they built Spike up to be so cool like that was ’cause they planned to kill him off. And then they decided that they didn’t want to kill him off but they didn’t..and then like now what do we do with this guy,it’s like we told everyone he was the coolest guy, and so the whole time was just cutting me down off the pedastal. Yeah. And that was frustrating. Let me kill somebody! Yeah. At some point I thought ’what character do I have left? I don’t have fun any more’ Spike was about having fun you know. I’m not beating anyone up, who am I any more. But it was very challenging because the writers were writing very close to their own thoughts and feelings and it was very dangerous for them to write what they wrote, so he became- in a different way very dangerous, yeah. But I was used to it by then basically- basically. Joss was like ’dude, this year you get to save the world’. My immediate reaction was like ’yeah, right, no way dude’ and then I found out what he was doing and I was like ’yeah, guinea pig’. But it was a great job, it’s much more interesting to write characters in the way he does, that they that did, than just to be Mr cool guy all the time, that’s kind of boring.

Q: When Spike had the chip, was that really annoying.

JM: Yeah, I don’t like that whole chip. I didn’t like that at all. I thought that it would be more interesting to watch Spike decide to try to be good rather than be forced to be good, I thought it would make a- more interesting to see him try and fail to be good. It was my idea that Spike would fall in love with Buffy. Buffy would never reciprocate, never, but he would, in trying to get her favour, try to be good. And then fail all the time and then that would play out forever. So I was really frustrated with the chip( this is a good story,) so I knew that Joss did not really want to get ideas from actors, right, but I’m older than him. And I’ve worked with writers before that don’t want to share ideas And what you do with those kind of writers is that you plant seeds. Just give them - tell them something and then they’ll think of the idea themselves. So my idea was that Spike would fall in love with Buffy. So I just told Joss... we were watching Sarah, she was doing a voiceover right before I was, and she was big on the screen, and so I was ’God, she’s just so beautiful, no wonder that most guys in America, in the world have a thing for her- heck even I have a little thing for her’. Joss was ’What!’ and I was ’yeah, I have a little thing for her’ and he kind of went Hmm... and I was like seed planted, seed planted. And I thought that my cunning little ploy worked,but then he told Sarah. Sarah comes up to me I’m like fazed hell, "[Sarah voice] I know your secret, Joss told me, you’re in love with me huh?" And I was caught, I was totally caught, because if I told her that it was a lie and that I was planting a seed with Joss, my seed would ultimately never find any soil. Cos the whole point was tomake that Joss’s idea that he knew this thing but if I had to say that it was a lie they would all go away! And you don’t tell the leading lady that you don’t have a crush on her but you don’t say "No I don’t really find you that attractive". So I just went [giggles] and I just tried to ride it out, you know, stare her down and she finally hopped off. But I had to go through the whole experience of her thinking I had a crush on her. And when I told Joss later on that I knew this thing, that he told her that he goes "Huh, I don’t remember saying that, I don’t remember saying that".


Q: In the season six commentary you said Sarah was mostly dressed in your sex scenes and you had your little sock, and then you quickly said big sock, so which is it?

JM: I am told, and I’m starting to accept, that it’s a nice healthy bigger than medium sock. You did it, good for you.


Q: I was going to lower the tone but I won’t this time, if in your next film role you could choose your own leading lady, would you choose an established actress or somebody completely unknown. And was it really emotionally dificult for you to do the season six scene in Buffy where you attacked her in the bathroom.

JM: Yeaaah, that was the hardest day of my professional life I went in there and Steve DeKnight wrote that and he was sitting in a chair at the old village and I went and I said you know sometimes you guys write that stuf and you don’t know what it costs to film it, you just don’t know. Unfortunately- and the thing is I can’t watch any of that kind of stuff, if I see it in a movie I’ll walk out, if I hear it’s in a movie I’m not going to watch it, if it’s on television I’ve even, I’ve destroyed my television because of that,

Q: It was really powerful when it came across to us

JM: Yeah, I’ll bet it was. I was basic- I was almost sucidal doing that thing, I remember being on my knees and thinking if I drive my head through the floor, I can just fly away. I think that they should have probably talked to me before they had me shoot that, unfortunately- understandably they were very concerned with how Sarah felt about it. You know. I don’t think either one of us really wanted to film that scene. But in the writers defense, the thing that that was a very brave scene that was written because in reality it was written by a woman, who once had a lover that she loved and was breaking up with and felt that if they only made love one more time they really would be back together, and forced herself on him. And so that was really brave to write about and I really respected it, but when you make it a man it’s a whole different thing. And when I had to do- yeah, it was just terrible, it was just horrible. As respect to a leading lady it depends on the role. If I was casting Macbeth I would hold an open call, I would want to see established actresses definitely, but I’d also hold open calls too. It’s always very specific to that film frankly.

Q: [little girl] what did you feel when you were actually the vampire and when you had all the make up on.

JM: You know the make up was really comfortable. Because it was made out of this new foam, that was very much like flesh so that the seams which were glued down didn’t pull on my skin- like the old stuff? the old days the seams would really hurt and you’d get rashes because this was less pliable than your flesh and so there would be that friction but they solved that with new foam so I would forget that I had it on. Frankly [laughs] and I thought when I first got the makeup job that I looked cooler with it on than off, and when my girlfriend came to the set and wouldn’t kiss me it was devastating, I thought I’d never looked better. In my defense that make up was kind of harsh when I had to do fight scenes, because Steve, he got to fight with no contacts and no dentures. I had to fight with these razor sharp dentures and these contacts that you couldn’t really see,it destroys your periphary vision and everything’s kind of hazy. And I always used to joke to him man, try that with contacts man.


Q: From Buffy and Angel do you keep in contact with any of the old cast.

JM: Not so much. I keep uo with Tony but now he’s across the pond. And the truth about Los Angeles is that all of us actors are so addicted to our ambition, that we’re running around constantly trying to get work or better work, or get publicity for the work we have and we- very few of us have good friends. so we lose- it’s true, it’s true in theater as well you’re so close with people during the show and then the show breaks up and you don’t see them again. And you kind of feel like what you had with them was false but then you realise that no, it’s because people who didn’t know each other and canme together as a group and did a beautiful thing. But in all honesty not that much- although I like ’em all. If I saw anybody it’d be like ’Heey!’.

Q: If you could be any other character in Buffy and Angel, who would it be and why.

JM: Why?? No. I wouldn’t be. I really- I could be forced to be, I guess, but I wouldn’t- no way. Maybe Faith.


Q: How did you find the transition from Buffy to Angel.

JM: That one was easy man, because I’d already shot with David a lot, I’d already worked with- we were doing Shakespeare readings so I already had been reading with the cast of Angel, I had been doing Shakespeare with them. So I knew them I’d acted with them already and many of the crew were the same, all the directors were the same, many of the writers were the same, so frankly it wasn’t really a transisition at all. A new day at work, man ’Hi David, how you goin’ where’s the coffee’.


Q: What were your first thoughts when you were cast as Spike.

JM: Thank God we’re not gonna starve! Honey, buy milk for the baby! [laughs] yeah. And basically, also the script came an hour after they told me I had the role and it was a much bigger role than I thought- I thought that I had the whole role for the audition which was only two scenes, and then I read the script I’m like ’my GOD’ so yeah I was beyond over the moon, just right off the moon. So happy, yeah.


Q: [about the contact lenses on BtVS]

JM: They were round and they encompassed about not quite half of my eyeball.


Q: Were they hard.

JM: Yeah, they hurt, oh yeah. ’cause you’d be rolling around in the dust doing fights and dirt would get in there.That was the thing that would hurt

Q: You were very brave.

JM: I was very lucky, my eyes got used to them and uness they got dirty I was fine, like Andy Hallett just suffered, his eyes would like [pain]

Q: I could get them in but I could never get them out again.

JM: I didn’t mind, I did not mind ’cause I just wanted them out so bad. They would stick their salty fingers in my eye.

Q: I was wondering if there was anyone in the Buffy cast who you didn’t get on with and was there any friction.

JM: Oh, there was a lot of friction. There was a lot of friction! But no, nono they were all cool. And frankly I used to say that on Buffy we were at war, and the enemy was time. I mean I wasn’t really a soldier and I wasn’t really getting shot at but I always felt that the enemy was time and it always won. It always took something away from the day cos There was always something we wanted to get done and couldn’t get done becaus of time. And so and we were just tired, to the bones, all the time. I thought I knew what tired was but man I did not know what tired was and in those circumstances and when the pressure is as high as it is- I mean when the pressure is to be really pretty and you’re being worked fifteen to seventeen hours a day, it’s almost impossible and you know that and it- that one right there will drive you crazy So yes, people got on my nerves and I’m sure I got on people’s nerves because I took my role so seriously. I was Mr Serious Method Actor, I’m sure I was really annoying, you know To my credit I was mostly silent all the time I didn’t want to talk to people because I didnt’ want to be that guy, that method actor who was a jerk so ’oh, James is coming’ So I love all those people in the same way that you love your family, which is that you can’t afford to hate your family you don’t have a choice,man you’re with them, you’re in the same house so to speak. So that was where I was with them, so I was brought to a point of wisdom, like parents have for children, which is to understand that they’re humans and they’re faulted and they make mistakes but they’re really good people underneath.


Click on the link for more :