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James MarstersJames Marsters - Houston Slayercon - Questions & Answers Transcript
Monday 4 April 2005, by Webmaster
1) How long does it take to do Andy’s make-up (this was a leftover question because Andy’s Q&A was only scheduled for ˝ hour and he ran overtime so he told us we could ask James any Andy questions we still had)?
A) Takes about two hours. Or maybe 1 ˝ hours in the morning and 1 ˝ hours at night. Contacts were really hard on him because they were really big.
2) If somebody made a movie about your life, who should play you and who would you like to have direct?
A) Jamie Foxx. Just to see if he could do it. And maybe Spike Lee. I’m not sure I’d want the movie though. Would I want you to know that much about me?
3) Can I hook up my daughter with your son?
A) My son’s not really into girls yet but they are all crushing on him. You know how girls can be at that age when they like a boy. They are all giving him a hard time and he really hates it. I told him soon he’ll love it!
4) How long does it take to do the vamp make-up?
A) Twenty minutes. Really. But we never tell the producers that. We say it takes at least 45 minutes. Our make-up guy was really good. The only person from Buffy ever to win an Emmy.
5) Can I play “Actors Studio” here? Where you always good as an actor?
A) Yes, I was very good as a kid before when I didn’t think about it. I started getting bad as I got trained. Someone told me I was too intelligent to be an actor. I think I just had bad training. Then I went back to just doing it and I got good again. I think everyone is beautiful and special enough to be looked at.
6) We’ve all heard you say that you have family commitments that keep you from traveling away from the west coast. Do you think this is detrimental to your career?
A) No. I’m very confident. I just turned down an acting job in a NY TV show. I believe that careers are not the kind of thing that go down. I think careers are a circle. I don’t know where I am on that circle right now but I know to get to the top you have to come down to come back up.
7) What do you think are the chances for a Buffy or Angel theatrical film?
A) If anyone would be interested in a motion picture, it would most likely have to be a Buffy movie. But, if I was Sarah’s manager I would tell her not to do it yet. Sarah is a great actress and I’d say she needs to get a Golden Globe before she does Buffy. But if Joss does it with Sarah, it wouldn’t be able to happen in High School so I’d have to be in it.
8 ) On the same track as the last question, what about a Spike TV movie?
A) I’d be very interested. I LOVE the character. It would definitely be TV movie and not a motion picture. When I talked to Joss about it a while back, I told him if he does a Spike movie it needs to be in the next five years. Spike is an icon that doesn’t change. Even his wardrobe doesn’t change. That’s what an icon is. I mean otherwise I’ll be too old. I love my face but it’s not the same as it was. (Audience members yell out that we wouldn’t care. One person says something about putting the pressure on.) James says “OK, really I just want to get him to do it now.”
9) What kind of preparation did you do for the role of Bobby Comfort?
A) Good question. Zero. I was cast about 12 hours before filming. I returned from the Halloween Event and there was a script delivered. I called and asked about it and said I was too tired and wasn’t even going to open it. He said I had to. I said I just couldn’t. He said well, give me a number that would make you willing to do it. I gave him an insane amount and I was on a plane the next day.
10) In starring on Cool Money, where there any lessons learned that you will take with you?
A) Yes. I learned to stand up for myself on the set. I realized that if something was really bothering me, it was probably bothering others too. That I needed to say something to get it taken care of. People would come over and thank me. I also learned not to be more than I am. Also, being the lead means changing clothing effectively. I realized that with five or six costume changes per day, if it took me ˝ hour, it could delay filming by three hours or I could do it in five minutes and we could move on. (Somebody mentioned loving the suits. James said he got to keep them and that now he can dress classy for the first time in his life.)
11) What was your favorite Angel episode to shoot?
A) The Angel fight (assuming in Destiny). Oh, also the Italian episode (The Girl in Question). David was really hurting in the fight. He had an old football injury and he was in so much pain. They kept needing him to keep fighting and I had so much respect for him. It was nice to have a chance to finally get to see Spike and Angel’s connection. I’m surprised it took them so long. I was expecting it much sooner but there was so much stuff.
12) Does the CD and singing bring you to a vulnerable place?
A) I was really worried about it. It’s very different. With the band you feel the music in the back of your pants. But I’m more comfortable solo.
13) What is your favorite Pez dispenser?
A) Bobba Fett. The villain that everyone loved but who has hardly any screen time. (Then he got cute and shrugged.)
14) Did you think the ending of Buffy was consistent with the shows message?
A) Yes. Definitely. I’m Buffy when I watch and when I play the video game. But I felt the show got too serious at the end. It wasn’t fun to watch.
15) What is your favorite guilty pleasure TV show?
A) Actually, I go for the news and the History channel. But DVD’s I always get action movies. I’m low brow for film and high brow for television. None of that talky stuff.
16) Who was your favorite playwright to work for?
A) (Note: Not sure he heard the question as he answered with playrights that he’d like to work for.) George Walker. A Canadian playwright who talks about the underprivileged in Toronto. Steven Burkhoff (sp?). Audience member asks him if he would be interested in working for Lanford Wilson. Guy next to her says girl has him on her speed dial. Girl says Lanford asked me to ask you. James has stunned expression on his face and becomes, for him, speechless. Says his tummy is upset.
17) Was it uncomfortable/painful to bleach your hair?
A) It was extremely painful. I have a dry scalp and it would get into the cracks and burn. I’d just wait in my trailer curled up in the fetal position and say “paycheck, paycheck, paycheck.”
18 ) How do you keep each take fresh?
A) It’s a problem because the camera is very close. Stage is much easier. As long as you hit your marks. Meryl refuses to do more than three. You have to be able to just look at your partner. You can look into David’s eyes and have no idea what you are going to get. That’s a good thing. No, really.
19) Watching the Mountain, you had us all crying at the end. What was it like playing that kind of alcoholic character?
A) I had to show that even losers can have a lot of love. Audience member asks about tattoo. He says he can’t tat. Sarah has tats, David has tats. I can’t tat. I feel you need to keep this (points to self) a clean slate. Too much make-up is needed to cover those things up and the logistics of if it’s in a shot. I did keep the fake ones on. Make up asked me by to take them off and I said hell no, I’m going to a party.
20) How would you feel if you won an Emmy or a Grammy?
A) I understand that the financial aspect of the business means awards have lost meaning. I suppose I would feel good and it would help my career. But they don’t mean much. If Buffy couldn’t ever get one, that just proved it to me.
21) How do you feel about and do you have any experience with improv?
A) I never really did it for work. I’ve done it a lot but I never got paid for it.
22) How did you get involved in the Dresden books?
A) They just called me up. I didn’t understand because they didn’t need a British accent and that was all I was known for. He then talked about Butcher and also mentioned that he received an autographed copy of Da Vinci Code.
23) Was it strange when you got to the part in the second Dresden book where Spike was torn to shreds. Also, is there any word on the Dresden series?
A) Oh, yeah. I got to that part (Note: I don’t remember the rest.) Lions Gate is working on it but they are not very far along. My name is still being batted about but they are very far away from doing it.
24) What kind of direction did you get in playing Charlemagne Boliver on Andromeda?
A) I was thinking I would do it like a dangerous dandy. Like Tim Roth in Rob Roy. That he was still a man and dangerous and it was just the times. They wanted me to play it more (gestures “flamboyantly”) and I said he’s not gay, just rich. I felt that they missed it with the character.
25) Do you think anyone would ever put together “Once More with Feeling” for Broadway?
A) I think a company actually did put together a stage play. I think they’d need a few more songs and a subplot - about Spike. The show was only 48 minutes or so.
26) Have you ever been scared by a fan? Or really just felt uncomfortable?
A) Not really. I can’t always fill every need a fan has but I try to give what I can. I don’t get afraid much in my life. I can defend myself.
27) How do you stay grounded?
A) I deny it. I find people in my life that will ignore it. And I stay of the internet. I think celebrity was invented in England about 300 years ago as a way to sell tickets. Celebrity is manufactured.
28 ) How did you feel about the script when it mentioned Spike and that one time with Angel?
A) The same as I felt about the hand holding scene with Angel. I was not going to let Joss get to me. I was just reading a Joss comment where he said Spike was probably the best ingénue Angel ever had. The downside of working with Joss is that he sometimes likes to humiliate people and tear things down that he’s built up. He’ll do it with a story and it breaks barriers and makes things happen that you wouldn’t expect. But it can still be hard on you.
29) Which do you prefer? Comedy or Drama?
A) I’d like another series that has both. Drama is easier and comedy is hard. I’ve met some comedians and they are not very happy people. They have to try so hard to make people laugh and it’s a lot of pressure.
30) You’re role at the beginning of Angel seemed kind of forced. What did you think about that?
A) Sometimes it takes a writer’s time to get the character. It actually happened on Buffy too but it was early on. We had to tell the Buffy writers that Spike wasn’t about long speeches and that you should throw out conjunctions entirely.
31) At Moonlight Rising you mentioned a Macbeth project. How’s that possibility going?
A) It’s still rolling along but it may take years to get it all together. It takes time to get a studio to say the words “greenlight.”
32) What did they use for when you were drinking blood?
A) Strawberry Quik. But when I was working on stage, I was always obsessed with getting the blood just right. For Buffy, we would actually have paramedics on set because some people were known to just pass out on the concrete.
33) When you were living in New York, did you ever have the opportunity to see Shakespeare in the Park?
A) No. I did see one play in New York but I’m not that impressed with New York Shakespeare. It’s too commercialized.
34) If a Caveman and an Astronaut where in a fight...
A) Oh, Caveman. Definitely. But David really believes it’s the astronaut. At one point, Joss wanted us to improvise before the scene and we started in. (James changes to Spike accent and starts riffing on the topic. Something about the astronauts would be tiny in order to fit into the space capsule and astronauts are all about height and weight and payload.) But David is all about the tools and the cooperative fighting.
35) You’ve mentioned before about all of the stage lessons you learned that you had to throw out for TV. What lessons did you keep?
A) Not much. Improv. Beats. Beats are like football where each side has a clear objective. One team wants to go that way; the other team wants to go this way. If you can change beats clearly. It would probably take me a good solid hour to come up with more. Oh, also stage fighting. It’s different and you need to make your own sounds for stage but still stage fighting skill.
36) What is your favorite song that you’ve written? A) Probably “This Town.” I was trying to squeeze more into fewer words. I wanted to tell a whole story in three verses. Also, the title track from “Civilized Man.”
37) Why did you choose to play a character like Ted in “The Mountain.” I’ve seen alcoholism. (Missed the rest.)
A) A chance to play a fallible character. To help to feel for a character you would normally pass over. He was an imperfect man with a lot of love for his son.
38 ) What was it like transitioning from Buffy to Angel? A) Nonexistent. It was most of the same writers. I’d acted with most of them before over at Joss’ house. Oh, fighting on wood was different than fighting on concrete. Wood is spongier.
39) Which did you like more, Buffy or Angel?
A) Both were intense, frustrating, horrifying, and giddy. I guess I was able to stretch more on Buffy and it could be more horrifying. Wasn’t able to grow as much on Angel. Buffy was frightening but I was glad I had the opportunity.
40) Who brought the idea of the Sex Pistols for Spike’s character?
A) Actually, that was Joss. I got the part I think because I was the only actor there who knew who they were. But I don’t really think Spike was Sid Vicious but actually more Johnny Rotten.
41) Have you ever taken karate and how do you like sparring with Sarah?
A) I’ve never taken karate but I have taken judo and kung-fu. Sarah really put herself into those fights even though they weren’t one of her favorite things to do. She got me in the nose a couple of times.
42) If you could meet one actor, who would it be?
A) Meryl Streep. Or maybe Bobby De Niro.
43) What was your favorite character to play on stage?
A) Macbeth. Maybe Robespierre.
44) Where would you be if you didn’t have family commitments and could live anywhere?
A) Probably New York or Chicago. I want to prove to everyone that I really am good on the stage.
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