Homepage > Cast > Charisma Carpenter > Interviews > Charisma Carpenter - Smgfan.com Interview
« Previous : Official Firefly Movie News Coming Soon ?
     Next : Angel 5x09 Harm’s Way - Backstage Photo High Quality »

From Smgfan.com

Charisma Carpenter - Smgfan.com Interview

mardi 13 janvier 2004, par Webmaster

January 13, 2004

SMGFAN.com’s Exclusive Interview with Charisma Carpenter © 2004 SMGFan.com

JPM : I read your August 15th (2003) Boston Herald interview and I believe that was the first time you addressed the situation of your ’abrupt release’ from Angel. I applaud you for the way you handled it. I’m sure it was a difficult situation, you were hurt and disappointed but despite that you handled it with class and grace. Your sudden departure from Angel shocked the fans and certainly angered many. Have you and Joss talked about that situation and was it a difficult decision for you to go back for the 100th episode considering how things unfolded ?

Charisma Carpenter (CC) : Um, yes and no. First, to answer have I spoken to Joss about it, no we haven’t, there’s really no point. There’s really nothing to say. The day I ended up on the set to return for the 100th episode was a lovely day and he was there, he wrote a note and left flowers for me in my trailer expressing his gratitude for my return and that it meant a lot to him and the story would probably be one of the sweetest they’d ever told. And that’s enough for me. I don’t have any need to hold on to anything.

JPM : You don’t want to dwell on it.

CC : Yeah, I mean it’s just, it’s turned out to be a really great thing. You know, sometimes and this is kinda cliché but sometimes...well, I was laboring on whether to return or not return or how to proceed myself. Sometimes decisions get made and it ends up being God doing for you what you couldn’t do for yourself. It’s just turned out for me to be a really positive thing. So it’s hard to harbor any resentment or ill feelings for something that has turned out to be a wonderful thing.

JPM : Any tidbits you can share about Cordelia’s return on Angel ?

CC : You know I agree that it’s going to be one of the sweetest stories ever told. It’s pretty emotional. Bear down, hold on. [laughs]

JPM : Is there going to be closure for Cordelia ?

CC : I don’t know what your definition of closure is and I’m not gonna take liberties in trying to assume what you mean by that...

JPM : Did they leave it open so that Cordelia could someday come back ?

CC : Yeah. You know this a difficult thing too...

JPM : Because in Jossverse there’s nothing permanent...

CC : Yeah, in Jossverse there’s always an opportunity for that to happen. Whether it does happen in his end or my end I wouldn’t really count on it. But I feel that it’s a really well told story. And I think that regardless of how people take the way I leave it is up for everybody’s to deal with. But I think that if we don’t get emotional about it, it’s just a really well told story. Um, honestly I wouldn’t have gone back for anything less. That’s the truth. I wouldn’t have ever considered it if I just didn’t think like ’whoa’, ’ok’, ’that’s good’, ’that’s a good story’. Now let’s negotiate. [laughs] Now let’s take it to the next level. Because I wouldn’t come back for anything less. I think it’s important to give that character, I think she’s important to the show. She’s important to Angel, that it was important to tell a very good story. If this is the last time we see Cordelia, I think people will not be disappointed.

JPM : That’s great to hear. I think that once we post this interview and the fans read your comment, they would want to watch this episode even more and not miss it.

CC : No, I wouldn’t miss it.

JPM (for Glenn) : It was a pleasant surprise to see you on the new Alicia Silverstone TV series, "Miss Match". What were the circumstances of your going to work on that show ?

CC : I think the circumstances were that there was a story about a girl named Serena Lockner who turned out to be a friend of Kate, who’s Alicia Silvertsone, from High School, who she has bitter-sweet feelings for. And Jeff Meshel is the one who championed for me to play the part. He thought I would be well suited for it and knew I was available. He made it all happen in more ways than one. And I’m so grateful because working with Darren Starr, Dennis Erdmann, and Alicia and now that I think about it, pretty much the whole lot, is a fantastic experience. And I’ve come back now, I just wrapped one, I shot an episode, Santa Baby, which aired already, and then I did Angel, which won’t air until Feb. 4th. I wrapped that Monday and started on my third episode for Miss Match on Thursday of that same week and we just wrapped yesterday cause it was split over the holiday. And then I’m going back again for a fourth one at the end of the month.

JPM : Wow !

CC : I don’t think that they know fully what’s happening with Miss Match so therefore I don’t know how many more if any, if the show’s even gonna keep going. But if it wasn’t for Jeff Meshel, that would have never happened and my decision to go back was a really easy one since Darren has made it so easy and she’s such a fun character to play and she reminds me of Cordelia a little. And it’s just been a pleasure.

JPM : It’s looking like Serena may become a recurring character cause now you’re going to be doing your 4th episode. Do you think that’s where it could be headed ?

CC : Well, they know that I’m not very anxious to get into one hour again. So, I’m happy to do that because it’s a wonderful working relationship but I will be going out for pilot season for half hour work and that’s the gamble I’m taking. I’m happy to reccur in a one hour but I really don’t want it to be anything more than that. With Donovan in the picture and maybe wanting another one someday in a semi-near future I just think that would be most conducive to my family (half hour work).

JPM : It’s wonderful to hear that your priority is your husband and your child.

CC : Well, that’s my goal. I just hope it doesn’t backfire on me [laughs] where I don’t turn down a bunch of great opportunities because one-hour’s have come my way but I’ve just been saying no. It’s been a difficult thing because some great opportunities have come and I’ve just been holding my breath and praying...I’m basically gambling hoping something will come along this season and if not, I don’t know what the future holds.

JPM (for Glenn) : We recently talked with Julie Benz

CC : She’s a doll.

JPM : Yes, we agree. She’s a wonderful person. She shared some of her experiences from her first day on the Buffy set. Was there anything about that first day on the set - experiences or emotions - that you remember most and would like to share ?

CC : Being terrified because every executive was on the deck that day. And the very first scene I shot was the scene where Buffy comes out of the bathroom and she takes her hand to my throat and I’m like 3 feet off the ground with a stake in her hand ready to plunge me. Then she realizes that I’m not who she thought I was and she drops me and I look at her and I’m like ’what’s your childhood trauma ?’. That was the first line I had to deliver and I was really nervous. I remember David Greenwalt, everybody was on the set and the second I heard laughter then I relaxed. That’s my first memory of Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

JPM : It was a good experience then.

CC : Oh, for sure. And I remember my first season just never hitting my mark and the poor cinematographer, I was never in my light. [laughs] Cause I was such a novice and thank God that Sarah was as seasoned as she was because she was really a great leader in that regard in the sense that she would communicate really well with the crew. She knew that there was a mark to hit, she knew how to ask questions and she was very ahead of the game. She was on the director’s mindset where I was just like ’huh ?’. [laughs] Like you know, ’what’s going on around here ?’ I didn’t know if I was coming or going let alone to be conscientious of the lighting and the wardrobe and don’t run my fingers through my hair even if I’m nervous. [laughs] There’s just a lot of departments to make happy. Obviously I was new and didn’t become aware of those things until much later.

JPM : But look how far you’ve come.

CC : Yeah, it’s been a long journey. [laughs]

JPM : You’re such a good actress. Look at how much you’ve done with Cordelia.

CC : Wow, thanks. You’re really gonna like the 100th episode. There’s stuff that comes through that has probably been like 4 years accumulated. It’s just a summation of the last 4 years. Like everything. The gamut, the emotion, the funny. They wrote the script with range. I know that in some cases it was there because it was there. I think with David and I, we had scenes that, I don’t even have the right words to serve what I’m trying to say here. What I mean is that it’s a strong, strong and powerful episode full of what most of the show is. You know, there’s fighting, there’s humor, there’s sex, there’s love and forbidden love. There’s tears, it’s just all there and it’s a really special episode.

JPM : So again, this is one [episode] that fans shouldn’t miss and not miss taping.

CC : Well, if you’re a Cordelia fan, yeah. This is the one to watch.

JPM : While we’re talking about Cordelia, how did you feel about the Evil Cordelia/Connor storyline ?

CC : I hated it. I hated it.

JPM : That was a quick answer.

CC : I didn’t like it all. I was very uncomfortable. I hated it.

JPM : It gave the fan community something to talk about. Of course there was the ’ewww’ factor. Some reviews and fan comments were negative. So, you didn’t like it either.

CC : I don’t know what the reviews were but the vibe that I got from my mother who pays close attention to that stuff was just that nobody was a fan of that storyline. The only thing that stands out, that I remember reading, was something about how it was like monotone or like one note. It was just all one. I was really unhappy doing it, it’s fun to be bad but I like traditional bad Cordy where she’s just a little prissy bitch. But I didn’t like this at all. I guess they just didn’t know how to serve her anymore and so that’s what kinda came out of it. They wanted to dupe the audience and I guess it just didn’t work out very well.

JPM : Ah...let me go back to Buffy for second. What was it like working with Sarah ?

CC : She’s really professional. Very hard working and very focused.

JPM Great. Now, See Jane Date...

CC : Oh, you’re covering the whole thing aren’t you ? I thought this was Cordy-specific.

JPM : No. You know, a fan is not only interested in that one specific part of your career. If they’re a fan, they’re a fan of everything that you do.

CC : Yeah, I found that to be true. I did want, if you could, express my gratitude to the fans for the support in my leaving, the Variety or the Hollywood Reporter ads and all the e-mailing and faxing and the inundating of various places. [laughs] My mom tells me all this stuff that’s going on and I’m just so impressed that people even care to such a level. I mean it’s warm, fuzzy, flattering but it’s more.

JPM : It’s funny because in the Buffyverse the fans have come to love not only the show, the characters but the actors as well. Buffy is over or an actor has left but the fans continue to support their projects because we’ve come to appreciate the work.

CC : I think, God, could I ask for anything more ? Really, no. It makes me feel really good. So thank you.

JPM : And you are very welcome. If you’d like to take a couple of minutes later to say a little something for the fans, I’d make that into an audio clip so it’s all in your own words. People might think that I’m embellishing your message. [laughs]

CC : Sure, that’d be great.

JPM (for Glenn) : So, about "See Jane Date"... When that came out, one of the things he (Glenn) heard time and again was how ’nice’ your character Jane was in comparison to the role of Cordelia in which many people know you best. He thought it was a refreshingly different role for you. What was it like to play a character like that in contrast to your better-known Cordelia role ?

CC : Well, I liked it. I liked doing the not so gloomy, dark [hears baby noise in the background, pauses]

JPM : Oh, the baby...(poor child is patiently waiting for mom)

CC : No, dad’s handling it. [pauses] Um, like he said it was refreshing. Because I had done Buffy and Angel, which you know is a lot of long hours, night shoots, grim locations, and so this was so refreshing. It was probably the hardest job I’ve ever done in the sense that I was a new mother, my baby was 10 weeks old when I shot that film. And I brought the whole kit ’n caboodle, son and husband came. (See Jane Date was shot in Canada) My husband championed me through that, supported me and became the primary caretaker of Donovan while I was there. And I was also breastfeeding and memorizing pages of dialogue every night and working 15 hour-days. It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. But because of that experience, and getting through it and doing it well, and having such a great crew to go to work with and have words in a project that was so different, and light, and bright, and fun, and sensitive, you know I just welcomed it so wholeheartedly. That has now given me confidence. That now I don’t feel threatened or scared to do anything. I feel like anything is possible after doing that. I’m not afraid of the work.

JPM (for Glenn) : There you go. Now are you actively seeking out or working on any other projects this year besides the upcoming Miss Match appearances ?

CC : Well, yeah. There isn’t one in particular that I’m working towards but pilot season is coming up and the only thing I can say is that I’m focusing on half-hour. Movies, I don’t know. I certainly wouldn’t not do a movie but it would have to be the right thing and I think I’m most comfortable doing television and I would love to do half-hour...just because it’s less work and now I do comedy and I think that’s where I’d like to go, I would be best suited for right now.

JPM : What was your reaction when you were offered to move to Angel and did Joss give you any idea as to the direction he planned to take Cordelia on that show ?

CC : Um, my reaction was concern that what if it didn’t fly, would I have a haven to return to ? And then I was assured yes, then I was like ’what about the writing’ but my first reaction was ’really, you’d want me to do that ? and what an honor’. I was really flattered. And then I was like ’wait a minute, what if it gets cancelled after the first couple of episodes ? Does that mean I’m going to be in the poor house again ?’ [laughs] You know, am I gonna kick myself and go what have I done ? [pauses, talks with Damian in the background. The poor baby is fussing now. He can’t wait for his bath and this strange lady is keeping mommy away from him. Bad lady...]

CC : Ok...[laughs]

JPM : I understand that you’re very busy. So last question and this is something that I always ask, have you found the meaning of life yet ?

CC : Um...[laughs]

JPM : I always get that reaction.

CC : I think that it’s not realistic at my age to say that I’ve found the meaning of life but I think I’ve found happiness and I think I understand...having my son, I’ve always wanted children since I can remember and finding the love of my life and being able to have a baby with the love of my life gives me probably the greatest...

JPM : Feeling in the world ?

CC : Yeah. It’s really intense and I don’t know if that’s the meaning of life. I think essentially the meaning of life is probably the journey and not really any one thing or an outcome or a result. I think it’s kinda the process and I think that if you can find happiness in the process then maybe that’s it. I just feel really in love with life and the life I’ve created with my family. So it works for me.

JPM : You are very blessed. Thank you very much for doing this. Give Donovan a hug from all the fans. Good luck with everything.

CC : Oh, thank you !

Listen to Charisma’s special ’thank you’ message. The Charisma Carpenter fan community certainly has a lot to be proud of.

SMGFAN.com would like to thank Mr. Raymond for facilitating this interview. Our heartfelt thanks go to Ms. Charisma Carpenter for taking time out of her busy life to chat. She’s a lovely person and obvioulsy very devoted to her family. We wish her great success in her professional life and an abundance of happiness and peace in her personal life. Lastly, thank you to baby Donovan for patiently waiting for his bath while his mom chatted with this strange lady first. JPM

Answer to this article