James Marsters sinks his teeth into Wizard World in St. Louis
He played punk-goth vampire on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”
Wizard World/Comic Con is Friday through Sunday at America’s Center
Hit TV show has opened many show biz doors
The multi-faceted James Marsters considers acting a collaborative effort. So when he shot to fame as a punk-goth British vampire Spike in the cult classic TV show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” he knew it was a gift from creator Joss Whedon and his team.
“I was fortunate to work with these movers and shakers — Joss (“Toy Story,” “The Avengers”), David Fury (“Lost” and “24”), Marti Noxon (“UnReal,” “Code Black”), Drew Goddard (Oscar nominee “Ex Machina”) and David Greenwalt (“Grimm”),” he said during a recent phone interview.
“They made ‘Buffy’ a little Camelot in Santa Monica. The writing was just amazing. I think ‘Buffy’ is truly lasting because of the writing. I am very appreciative, and it was wonderful to work on. It was working together as a team.”
Marsters will be one of the special celebrity guests at the Wizard World/Comic Con this weekend at America’s Center in St. Louis.
His charismatic character appeared in the second season (1997). He appeared in 97 episodes, including the legendary musical show, “Once More, With Feeling.” Although the series ended in 2003, “Buffy” is still watched around the globe. He also appeared on the spinoff, “Angel.”
“I was pleased that the character was successful — Joss is such a good editor — but I tried not to let that reality lead to an ego trip,” he said. “Fame is troubled waters for anybody, and certainly as an artist.”
Credit his early training and extensive theater work for not allowing the big green monster to take over. He spent 10 years before “Buffy” working on stages and behind the scenes in Chicago, Seattle and New York.
Marsters, 54, who attended Juilliard and other drama conservatories, produced theater and founded companies, thriving in creating art out of dreams and ideas, learning how to cultivate audiences with good stories.
“In Chicago and other cities, new theater is bubbling up and some of it is quite good. Young actors can learn, and there is a strength there. You don’t have to leave for New York to have a career,” he said.
“I never really imagined that I would be on a hit TV series. I had done 100 plays,” he said.
After his son was born, he realized that a move back to his native California was necessary to better support his family. He landed “Buffy,” a TV show based on the campy 1992 comedy horror movie, learned a British accent and created an indelible character that may just live forever.
The phenomenal success of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” has created multiple opportunities for performing, voice work, and recording music. But his professionalism keeps him working steady in TV and film, with several projects in the works. A movie, “Abruptio,” is currently filming, set for release next year, and another film, “Nouvelle Vie,” is in post-production.
The easygoing actor enjoys appearing at Wizard World/Comic Cons across the country because of the special connection with fans, the interaction with an audience.
He’ll be at America’s Center, where fans, many in costume, will celebrate their interests in science fiction and fantasy — movies, TV, comic books, graphic novels, toys and memorabilia.
“I come to these as often as I can. It’s fun to see a community come together — thousands of people with shared interests, who build community. They meet each other, exchange photographs,” he said.
“The genre attracts intelligent people. There is such a tolerance and diversity among the fans. You’ll see a guy with a beer in one hand and a sword in the other, and no one gets hurt,” he said. “I’ve met fun, intelligent and humble people, really good persons – that’s the most fun. I’ve met people who work at NASA, the FBI, the NSA. It gives you a different perspective.”
He will also participate in two sessions: “Gaming with James Marsters” from 7 to 8 p.m. Friday, for which he will pull people from the audience to play games; and “Out for a Bite with James Marsters” from 1:30 to 2:15 p.m. Sunday.
- What: Sci-fi, fantasy and comics exhibitions, panels, presentations, photo opportunities, and autographs with artists, creators and actors.
- When: 3-8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday
- Where: America’s Center, 701 Convention Plaza
- Special guest stars: David Tennant, Billie Piper and Matt Smith of “Doctor Who”; Charlie Cox, Elden Henson and Jon Bernthal of “Daredevil”; Mike Colter of “Jessica Jones”; William Shatner “Star Trek”; Lou Ferrigno “The Incredible Hulk
The James Marsters file
- Born: Aug. 20, 1962, in Greenville, Calif.
- School: Juilliard School of Drama, Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts and American Conservatory Theatre.
- Spouse: Jasmin Marsters since 2011. Was married to Liane Davidson 1989 to 1997; son Sullivan, 1996.
- TV Series: Spike on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997-2003) and spinoff “Angel” (1999-2004); and Brainiac on “Smallville” (2005-2010).
- Recurring Appearances: Victor Hesse “Hawaii Five-O,” Captain John Hart on “Torchwood” in 2008, “Without a Trace” 2007-2008, Barnabas on “Caprica” 2010 and Tarkoff in “Witches of East End” 2014.
- Early TV: Bellhop on “Northern Exposure”
- Voice-over: Lex Luthor “Superman: Doomsday” DVD; “Dresden Files” books on tape series and Mr. Fantastic on “The Super Hero Squad Show.”
- Film: “Dragonball: Evolution,” “P.S. I Love You,” “Cool Money,” “Shadow Puppets,” “The House on Haunted Hill,” “Winding Roads” and “Chance.”
- Awards: Saturn Awards 2001 and 2004 for Best Supporting Actor in a TV Drama, in addition to four other nominations. Three Teen Choice Award nominations.
- Solo Albums: “Civilized Man” and “Like a Waterfall”
- Band: Ghost of the Robot (Album “Mad Brilliant”)
- Website: www.JamesMarstersOfficial.com