GGotS Exclusive Interview: Excitable geek, James Marsters!
Sure, BtVS is my favorite show. But Buffy isn’t my favorite character. It’s a toss up between Faith and Spike.
I knew that the actor who played Spike, James Marsters, was going to be at Wondercon this weekend, so I brought a comic for him to sign. I thought I could maybe ask him a question, get a Tweet out of it. But it turned into an impromptu ten minute interview. He is amazingly down to earth and approachable. After I got out my first question my jitters dissolved, and I just felt like I was geeking out with another cool person at the con.
And here’s the thing: he IS one of us, and always has been! He was at the very first Star Trek convention in Oakland in 1978. His geek roots go deeper than Spike’s peroxide blonde.
Best known for his role on Buffy, Marsters has also lent his considerable talents to Torchwood, Smallville and is currently playing a role on Caprica, a show which he described as “dangerous.” As the father of two tweenagers, the violence of the virtual worlds in the show disturbs him. He discussed the way Caprica shows a planet in an age of high decadence before collapse—sound familiar? But now he’s hooked. He also just finished filming a Hawaii 5-0 pilot, which may seem like a departure from his typical genre work, but he said it’s not too different. Still plenty of ass kicking.
Marsters’ favorite role is still Spike—“a better role than Hamlet” because he had seven years to explore it. He disclosed that Whedon hated the character of Spike. His role on the show is a bit of a wild card, changing from Big Bad to comic relief to love interest throughout the series. On Friday, the Wondercon presenter of “Ink Stained Amazons” identified Spike as a “trickster.”
When I told Marsters this he smiled and said, “I’ll take that.”
According to Marsters, Whedon also didn’t like Spike because he never wanted to do the vampire romance thing. Apparently a collaborator talked him into the Angel plot, and that took off, but he’d wanted a world where vampires were ugly, not romantic. However, Spike was easily the other writers’ favorite. Marsters said he and the writers’ creative exchange was like “making love.” The hardest thing about working on Buffy for Marsters was not being able to pass on a storyline. In particular, the attempted rape scene was really challenging for him.
On a lighter note, I asked him if it was funny running into people at cons dressed like Spike and he laughed and said, “Yeah, especially when they’re taller than me.”
At this point the woman next to him (his publicist?) started to get antsy and ushered me and my friend along. So I shook his hand (I think I did that three times), gave him my card and a GGotS button, and made my exit. I didn’t have the cash for the autograph, but so what? He’s not immortal or untouchable—he’s a working actor, a dad, and last but not least, an excitable geek.