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SFX special edition # 09 2003 - David Boreanaz

By Dave Golder & Transcribed by Setje

Monday 8 September 2003, by Webmaster

With a former Playboy centrefold wife and legions of female fans, one could get get big-headed, but the man who plays Buffy’s Angel stays true to his roots…

How many interviews with David Boreanaz have been headlined, ’He’s No Angel4, But a cliché is only a cliché. By way of elucidation, consider the following :

David Boreanaz on Angel : "He’s a really stubborn person and self-absorbed. He’s had a difficult time socialising with humans. I mean, he was cursed by gypsies and turned into a vampire. He was a vicious, tormented, tortured, saddened creature, but he’s also one who enjoys doing something besides brooding."

David Boreanaz on David Boreanaz :

"I’m quick-witted, sarcastic, spontaneous. I’m very open and very vulnerable. I’m also a big dork: hitting my head, dropping things, bumping into walls, losing my keys…

I’m not this dark, brooding guy."

Boreanaz’s tale of rags to riches is a classic Hollywood fable, though one he’s told so often now, he rolls his eyes in mock despair when it’s mentioned :

"Let’s move on from the dog, there’s more to me than the dog … She’s a lovely dog, though."

The dog in question is Bertha Blue, the canine catalyst whom Boreanaz was out walking in LA when he was spotted by an actors’ manager who signed him up immediately. He had move to La La land from the East Coast where he grew up with his dad, Dave Roberts, a TV weatherman (not a meteorologist, Boreanaz points out, but " a performer who broadcasts the weather on television"). Though he’s now been working for WPVI in Philadelphia for a few years, Dave’s dad’s job meant that the young Boreanaz did a lot of city-hopping while growing up.

3It meant going from job to job, I travelled with him. I got to know what is was like to be an outsider looking in, kind of like Angel. I guess everyone feels like an outsider at one time or another."

Before being "discovered" Boreanaz had a number of jobs to help support him through an aspiring acting career that presented him with only a sparse number of stage roles.

"My life changed," he says of his lucky break. "There was one point in my life when I was parking cars and I was looking at myself going, ’What am I doing here?’ It was the worst job I ever had. I was really down and depressed and sad. But I kept doing plays and emorising my lines as I was doing the car parking. Living through those bad times, I learned a lot about myself, and I definitely gained as a person.

I met some interesting people. I look back at that time and say, ’Jesus, that was really difficult and hard.’

I wouldn’t want to go back there, but now I feel blessed, in a way, that I went through it. I constantly remind myself of the days when I was parking cars and reading Sam Shepherd plays in my lunch breaks, which I still do - the difference is I just have a better lunch these days!"

Having been discovered, his first big break was a guest spot on Married With Children playing Kelly Bundy’s (Christina Applegate) hiker boyfriend. The role of Angel came up soon afterwards.

"The audition scene was myself giving Buffy a cross and warning her about the Harvest and the vampires that are coming. We shot it at 2am in some God-awful street. I got there at four and I was in the suit for eight hours pacing back and forth waiting to do the scene. It was nerve-wracking."

The was originally signed up only to appear in a few episodes of Buffy, but the dark, brooding vampire was an instant hit with the viewers (especially the female ones) and pretty soon he was a regular character.

"The way Buffy started was, at the time, very unique and interesting storytelling," recalls Boreanaz. "I was very fortunate to get a character that was so embraced. I didn’t expect this character to take off the way it did, and now I look back at old Buffy episodes, like, "What the hell was I thinking? What the hell was I wearing? It’s all wrong!’"

So what’s the best thing about playing a vampire with a soul?

"The role is very sexy,’ he replies instantly with a smile. It’s a typical Boreanaz repost. He’s very serious about his career, but rarely precious. So, he’s perfectly happy to admit that he enjoys the benefits fame has brought him - a gorgeous wife, Jaime Bergman (a former Playboy centrefold), the money to indulge in his love of clothes shopping (especially shoes) and offers of film roles ) and he’ll argue that he’s quite happy to leave his job at the studio at the end of the day. Equally, he’s rarely gives the impression that he’s taking his acting for granted.

"He’s a definitely a man on a mission," he muses about his character, now firmly in actor mode. "He’s still trying to find some salvation, He mixes better with people now, but he’s still searching for someone or something to make him feel accepted. He seeks acceptance every day - something he obviously doesn’t feel he has, and it detracts from his life."

Boreanaz is quite happy to play Angel for the time being, as he reckons the role is as wide ranging an actor could hope for.

"I really feel like my experience is only going to help me with future roles. There’s demonology, action-adventure and romance - the show has every genre. People ask, ’What’s your show made of?’ There are so many things going on. I feel comfortable in that and playing all those different roles. If we were back in the ’70s and ’80s (coming from television) would dampen your career. Today? It’s opened so many doors to the big screen and that will continue… I hope!"

He reckons it’s his east coast upbringing that keeps his ego in check in the potentially head-expanding, self-aggrandising atmosphere of Tinseltown.

My father, my parents, my family, my wife - those people keep me grounded," he says. "Also, my dogs, my home, my east coast background, how my father taught me to treat people with respect… those things have kept me grounded and steered me through the bullshit in Hollywood, because there is a lot of it. When you are in a position, and you get to a certain level, there is always another level to get to, it seems. The people that are looking to get to ’levels’, I think, are the crazy people, people that have a vendetta or were never hugged as a kid! I don’t look to get to levels. I just look to get to where my dreams are, which are constantly evolving. I’d rather do that than go around stabbing people in the back. It’s a very disturbing place to be sometimes."

After three years on Buffy, Boreanaz left the show to star in the spin-off Angel.

"I miss working with Sarah," he reveals. "She’s great. Before kissing scenes, we tried to out-gross each other by eating things like onion rings and tuna fish. We’d have fun battling each other with disgusting foods."

One problem with television spin-offs is that, while they can be very different bests, it’s tempting, nay irresistible, to compare and contrast the two.

"I don’t see it either a s a burden or a problem," shrugs Boreanaz. "I just see that hey are going to be compared because Angel came out of Buffy. There is really no way to control that, and I don’t look to control any of that. I see it as a blessing to be able to have the show when Buffy came out and have a character evolve into its own show is remarkably fortunate for me."

Boreanaz now lives with his wife, Jaime, and toddler son, Jaden Rayne, in Los Angeles. He plays golf, fixes up classic cars, buys a lot of shoes and indulges his love of (not always fine) cuisine?

"I love Philly cheese steak, English muffins, eggs benedict, BBQ ribs and Italian food."

He’s also bizarrely keen to discuss his various phobias.

"Chickens. I’m serious. Birds, chickens… there’s just a cluckiness about them! They’re quick, kind of jerky and very spontaneous. A real chicken is just too edgy for me. I can’t deal with it. I suppose you can trace this poultry phobia back to some childhood trauma, a rooster chasing me around at day camp. I don’t know.

"Also, I’m claustrophobic - I don’t even like claustrophobic relationships! I’m afraid of heights, although I’ve been bungee-jumping. And I always wanted to sky-dive too, but I am afraid of airplanes. I am also afraid of getting old. I always want to remain young. My grandfather died when he was 89; that’s a great life."

If things had gone to plan Boreanaz and Bergman would have been married in September 2001, but the events of September 11 meant that the ceremony was rescheduled.

"That’s right," admits Boreanaz. "We were due to get married a week after, but we called it off when it became difficult for our family and friend to get to LA."

Instead, they were married on Thanksgiving after a whirlwind romance. ("We met in May. In August, I proposed on a mountaintop in the California desert,"). It’s not his first marriage, the actor having previously been hitched for two years to Ingrid Quinn, a former social worker and now a writer.

"Marriage is a rough institution," he admits. "Two people’s love is much more powerful than…" He picks up and waves a piece of paper. "I did it the wrong way. That’s why I got burned. But being in a committed relationship is important to me."

What about parenthood?

"It’s very difficult," he confesses. "I think we both realise that with this business the child will come first - and we take care of that. And I’ll be around. I will take him with me and have him around as much as I can".

You can’t help liking Boreanaz for his down-to-earth attitude. He admits that he’s aware that he could wake up one day to find that all his fame and fortune have vanished, but, he argues, he has no great gameplan to become the next Robert De Niro.

"Im not really a goal-oriented person. What I consider a goal is learning. I want to be able to look back on any project I do and say, ’Well, I tried to do this, and I learned from it.’ That would be my ultimate fulfilment in life."