Buffy’s James Marsters to Attend Wizard World St. Louis
- Thursday, March 31 2016
- Vital VOICE
Wizard World, the comic and gaming convention that brings together thousands of fans of all ages to celebrate pop culture, video games, comic books, sci-fi, collectibles and cosplay will be returning to St. Louis April 1-3 at America’s Center Convention Complex. In addition, Wizard World invites celebrity guests to attend and hold meet and greets and headline main events. This year, James Marsters, best known for playing the punk-goth Brit vampire Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, will be joining the party.
The California-raised actor found international fame by portraying Spike, but he went on to star in other films and television shows including Dragon Ball, P.S. I Love You and Smallville. Marsters’ talents have earned him numerous nominations and awards such as the Spacey Award, the Saturn Award and a Teen Choice Award.Vital VOICE caught up with Marsters to chat more about the convention and his role as Spike.
Is this your first time visiting the Gateway City?
It’s the city of brotherly love, right? [Laughs]. No, this is not my first time to St. Louis. I’ve been there at least two or three times, one of those times just driving through from New York to Chicago, and I loved it. I’ll make my way to the top of the Arch some day!
What do you look forward to the most about your visit?
I go all over the world, but I don’t see it necessarily because when you’re shooting something or going to a convention, it’s really about working and and resting. I found that if I go explore cities, I have less energy on the day of the convention. So, what I’m looking forward to the most is the convention itself. I use to go to conventions as a fan back in the 70s, dressed as Spock from Star Trek. I had a perfect blue tunic my sister helped me sew, leather boots that looked like his that I got from the Salvation Army and perfectly pointed ears my friend helped me make that were made exactly for my ears. I was Spock and I was beautiful for the first time in my life! I was popular and the girls wanted to talk to me. My 13-year-old self fell in love with it.
I just think it’s cool to go somewhere where thousands of people are going to the same space to talk to each other face to face. People are walking around with spears and swords and no one gets hurt. No one ever gets in a fight. There’s a tolerance level that is unlike anywhere else. You can be anything you want to be and everybody’s beautiful. There’s something about genre that attracts intelligent people. I really didn’t realize this until going to a lot of conventions that I like to talk to people. People will come up to me and ask for an autograph and I actually really enjoy talking to them. I kind of talk a little too much and the line goes a little slow, but I meet some really interesting people. I have blast at these.
Oh man, I lost count! I stack them in if I’m not filming something. I mean, why not? I don’t like to be bored. I got a movie that was just released called Dudes and Dragons. It’s an independent film that just happened to work. I’ve seen it with two audiences and it was nothing but house laughs all the way through. It came out better than I hoped. But other than that, I’m working on my own little show on the Internet. I’m currently in the midst of developing an adaptation of Macbeth with another film company and, on top of that, my band is working on a new album. When I’m not busy with any of that, I enjoy going to conventions. I don’t like to sit still.
Tell me one of your most memorable Comic Con moments.
My friend and I are working on this internet idea. You know how people play a video game and post it on the internet? Some people have millions of followers, it’s very popular. Well, our idea is, we thought it would be fun if we have people watch us play video games to see how horrible we are at them. It would be super funny. People wouldn’t watch to see how to beat a level or be impressed. They’d watch for comedic reasons.
So we were at a convention and the star of Jessica Jones was there, and I have never met her before. So, we decided to get her on our little show. We would originally invite different celebrities that I knew or met and have them come back to our hotel room and play with us for 15 minutes or the evening and we had a list of gamer guys we knew. Someone chimed in and said it would be sexist if we didn’t invite women as well. My immediate reaction was like, ‘oh yeah, let me play that forward.’ Let’s invite a woman to come back to my hotel room and play video games. I don’t know if that’s going to fly. But it would be funny to set this up with a complete stranger. So Krysten was sitting on the other side of the room. She’s a really nice person, I’ve never met her before. I came up to her and said that I’m doing this internet show, can I come over here and ask you a question and you very politely say no? She said that’s fine. Mark, my friend, was all like “this is inappropriate,” and I’m like “she’s a really nice person,” but, of course, I got shot down. It was a funny bit that happened.
Will you be representing Buffy at this convention?
Not just Buffy; it’s Buffy, Smallville, Caprica, Superman: Doomsday where I play Lex Luthor. I’m representing all of the projects I have worked on.
Let’s chat about Buffy for a minute. Was the role of Spike your primary breakout role?
Without a doubt. I’m very lucky.
How would you say Spike personally changed your life?
I am not scrounging around for nickels to buy Ramen. That’s probably the biggest one. The financial benefits can not be underestimated. Buffy was the most popular in Los Angeles among other filmmakers. People who know how to make television shows and films – producers, directors, writers – they were the biggest fans of Buffy. The fact that I was on Buffy means that a lot of people wanted to hire me once it was done. All around the world, the career opportunities to work with other directors and writers kind of exploded.
I also got to learn how to act for film; I came from stage. I’ve done over 100 plays before coming to Los Angeles and the toolbox for stage is completely different than the one you need for film. What I learned for years on stage didn’t apply to film. You cannot perform for film, you have to exist and be documented. It was very different, and Buffy allowed me to get close to Anthony Stewart Head and I got to study him. I learned what was working and what didn’t. If I didn’t get on a good show, I’d probably just be doing guest spots and it would have taken me a lot longer to learn how to act for film. I may not have learned at all.
Oh yes! Constantly [laughs]. But I don’t mind it one bit. I am a fan of Buffy as much as anybody else. I didn’t write the show, I didn’t direct it or produce it. I stood there in front of a camera and wore the hair I was told to wear. I’m in a position to brag while remaining humble. Buffy was such an excellent, well-produced show. I was extremely lucky to be on it.
Where did the look and voice for Spike’s character come from?
The look was suppose to be the Sid Vicious of the vampire world, at least that’s what was on the notes. So here’s this punk rock vampire, and I know enough about punk and I know they did not want Sid Vicious. Sid Vicious played bass for the Sex Pistols, but not very well. He didn’t play on the album, which is so awesome, but he played only on tour and not well. He was not a very intelligent person. In my mind, I’m thinking, I’m not doing Sid Vicious. What they really mean is they want Johnny Rotten. There is no way I was doing Sid. Johnny is amazing. He’s quick, fiery and danger, and that’s what I’m going to do!
For more information on the 2016 Wizard World St. Louis, visit www.wizardworld.com/comiccon/st-louis. V
By Denny Patterson