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From Bbc.co.uk

Julie Benz

Julie Benz (darla) & John Kassir - Bbc.co.uk Interview

Tuesday 16 December 2003, by Webmaster

We caught up with Darla actress Julie Benz and her husband John Kassir when they visited the UK to promote George of the Jungle II. Here’s what they had to say about careers, coming back and more. Julie Benz - Darla - Interviewed at the London Expo, October 2003 You’ve both just worked together on George of the Jungle II - was that the first time that’s happened?

Julie: Pretty much.

John: No we did one episode of Ask Harriet where I had to play a guy who was teaching a sexual harassment class at a place of work and then in the middle of it I fall in love with her and start sexually harassing her.

Julie: And I don’t mind.

John: It was a comedy.

Julie: We recently did a short film for a friend of ours called The Midget Stays In The Picture which was the audience favourite at the LA International Short Film Festival. That was the only other time we worked together.

Do you enjoy working together?

John: Oh, it’s great, it’s a lot of fun.

Julie: We like working together. Whenever you’re working on any project you spend a lot of time on set, so if you can have your spouse or your mate there on set getting paid working as well, it’s twice as much fun.

John Well, especially on location. On the Gold Coast on Australia we got to go diving together. We had a lot of days off where we could just go and have a second honeymoon, it was incredible. We were there for two and a half months, so it was a good time.

Careering along How much control do you have over your careers?

John: Oh, we’re in total control of our career, aren’t we? [Laughs] It’s all an illusion, nobody has control over their career in our business.

Julie: We definitely have projects that we want to work on and that we have waiting to be able to develop and do for ourselves.

John: Yeah, we have production companies, mine is Kassir Productions Inc and Julie’s is Around The Benz Productions. I actually thought Benz Over Backwards would be a good one, but she wouldn’t go for it. I meant to please, I didn’t mean in the other sense of the word.

Is fantasy something you’re really interested in?

John: Well, we both like having action figures of ourselves. We’re one of the few couples you’ll find that have trading cards and action figures made after us - me for Tales From The Crypt and Julie for Buffy and Angel.

Julie:When you work in the sci fi genre - and I’ve done quite a few shows, Buffy, Angel, Roswell, Taken - the fans are better in a way. They really understand the show and they love the show. They love the work, they appreciate it at a much deeper level than if you’re doing a Dawson’s Creek type of a show.

I really enjoy being involved in the sci fi genre. I wouldn’t say it’s where I imagined my career at first to go to, but having now experienced it I would love to do more.

What sort of challenges did playing Darla throw up? Well there were a lot of challenges. Every week on Angel there were things that they’d made me do that I was scared to death of doing.

One week I had to sing, and I am not a singer, and another time I had to be buried underneath dirt, and that was pretty scary. I had to ride a horse through some fire. There were all these physical challenges that were posed to me. Emotionally it was really great to be able to grow as an actress with the character. When I started out on Buffy I was still learning a lot about my craft, and I think you see the progression in the growth of me as an actress in the character of Darla.

I was pretty green when I first started on Buffy and I think you see that I’ve become a much more experienced actress towards the end of Angel. So for me it was just the challenge of living up to the demands that were asked of me emotionally.

What was it like playing a heavily pregnant Darla? I had to wear a leotard that was stuffed with a pillow and it was pretty uncomfortable, but I think the biggest challenge during all those pregnant scenes was being on camera without any make-up on. That’s pretty much a challenge when you’re an actress, just to go on camera completely raw.

Was that something you wanted to portray? Yeah, I really felt at that point she was pretty strung out. Her whole world was rocked. She never thought she could get pregnant and then all of a sudden she’s carrying this child and she’s experiencing this soul for the first time in four hundred years. [There’s] the realisation that as soon as the baby’s born the soul’s going to go away, and it’s the first time she really experienced true love, so she was going through a lot emotionally.

I just didn’t think that she would have time to really think about how she looked. I don’t think it was a priority, and so for me as an actor it was important that I reveal that. Not get caught up in my own vanity as an actress, and portray the character as where she really was.

Do you think we’ll be seeing Darla on Angel again? It’s not even worth it for me to speculate because with Joss Whedon and those guys you just never know. Just when yo

What are your favourite memories of working on Buffy and Angel? I’ve gotten to do some amazing work with David Boreanaz. He really is one of my favourite acting partners and we’ve had a lot of laughs, we’ve had a lot of tears. When you work with somebody like that throughout a six year timespan, you really start clicking and gelling together. It becomes really easy and you start knowing your rhythms and it just makes work so much easier.

Working with David, I always call him my truth meter because I can gnaw the scenery and be big and dramatic and over the top, and he’s very quiet, so he can bring me down. He’ll tell me, "Okay, hold it back," and I know that I’ve been gnawing on the scenery and just ripping it up.

If they did an Angel musical, would you be interested?

Julie: If I could lip sync. Singing that one song was terrifying for me. It was definitely a moment where I had to face one of my greatest fears, and I got through it with a lot of help from this man right here.

John: I have a background in musicals.

Julie: He’s an amazing singer. I would like to see a musical done. I don’t know if I’d like to be in a musical, but to watch it.

So what projects have you got coming up?

Julie: I just recently worked on the American version of Coupling. I did an episode of that, and I did an episode of a show called Peace Makers with Tom Berenger. It’s a western set in the 1880s. I also worked on a show called Oliver Bean and we have some other projects down the line.

John: I’ve just finished doing CSI and I have a movie coming out called The Last Patient and another movie called Soccer Dog. I once again play the buffoon assistant to the villain. I get cast a lot as the buffoon assistant to the villain. It’s always fun, I love doing physical comedy and I love doing fun characterisations.