Interview: James Marsters
Pink Raygun was invited to a Q & A session with James Marsters in support of his guest starring role on Syfy’s Caprica. Transcript after the jump.
Charlie Jane Anders: I was wondering, you know, I watched the clips, I haven’t watched the whole episode yet but I watched the clip where you’re mortifying yourself with barbed wire and stuff. What do you feel like you’re playing such a, you know, devout religious character after playing so many kind of ant-religious characters throughout your career.
James Marsters: I love anybody who has convictions enough to make mistakes because only people who make mistakes get into enough trouble to be called drama, I think. So, you know, I’m playing the character so actually I feel like I understand why he’s doing what he’s doing.
He’s living in a time which is coming apart at the seams just like the Roman Empire did. And in his world people are committing human sacrifice and mass executions and mass orgies, friends are shooting each other in the head for fun. And, you know, in Rome it was called the Coliseum and on Caprica it’s called the (V)-Club. But it has the same psychological effect on people. And he’s seeing society rip apart and he sees that the religion is not being helpful in spearing people towards moral behavior and so he wants to have a religion with one god that’s going to tell people exactly what to do and exactly what the punishment is if you don’t do it and what the reward is if you do. And that’s a very comforting thought and he’s willing to try to make a revolution and make that happen and he’s willing to hurt people. So yes.
Troy Rogers: Now you recently mentioned that Caprica scares you because it’s a look at where humanity is headed. Can you expand on what you meant by that?
James Marsters: Well I don’t want to get too morose about it. But we are much like Rome, you know. The cycles are going faster now because of technology so Rome had an empire for thousands of years where ours seems to have lasted about 50.
And I don’t know if our culture has gone through – they say civilizations go through barbarism and civilizations in decadence. I don’t know where the civilization part happens maybe it was the 60s, I don’t know. But it may be true though we are starting to become decadent as a society. And this cycle is repeated in all societies that dare to call themselves empires I guess.
And I think that being the Caprica – the sci-fi, you know, you can call it Caprica, you don’t have to call it America, you don’t have to call it the world. And you can examine – you can be an audience member and say their world is about to end and they don’t know it and I’m going to watch because we’ve seen Battlestar Galactica so we know what’s going to happen.
They don’t. And there’s something amazingly dramatic in that. But also it kind of reflects where we are. And, you know, it gets pretty depressing if you really go there. But if you talk to climatologists, if you talk to the people who are providing energy for the world, if you talk to the food production, you talk to people who are experts on water, fresh water supply, it just gets depressing, you know.
Like, you’ve got to watch it when you watch the Discovery Channel these days, it can just trip you out. So, yes, we – the people who do sci-fi and fantasy we can address these issues fairly directly because we just change the name and we give you some spaceships and laser guns and robots and stuff and we can all think about the stuff we don’t want to think about but need to anyway.
Troy Rogers: Fair enough. And what was the deal with the barbed wire around the arm, like is Barnabas a pain freak or something?
James Marsters: No man it’s flagellation. It’s got a long history in the Christian church. I don’t know man, it may have history in other religions as well but I know it from the Middle Ages. The flagellants thought that the Black Death was the curse; the black plague was God’s punishment for human sin.
So they were punishing themselves going town to town being themselves with whips that had these metal pieces in them and they would just spray their backs and their blood all over each town as they went trying to lift the plague by suffering. And they were probably besides the rats they were more responsible for spreading the plague because of all the blood.
But it’s this idea that, you know, if the bible says that I should be like Christ and Christ suffered on the cross then I should do that too..
Martin Sternberg: Well you worked in a lot of genres and we loved seeing you in sci-fi projects and Caprica and Torchwood. But I’m wondering about the sorts of things that attract your interests when you were a lot younger like when you were 5 to 10 did you daydream a lot or write any short stories as a child?
Like what was your original like genre choice as – before you got into the actual industry?
James Marsters: You know, early, early on I was into genre. One of my favorite books was Fahrenheit 451. And I was also into Animal Farm, the Orwell. I was so blown away by Blade Runner when it came out. I thought 2001 was just incredible and bottomless. I was drawn to science fiction but stuff that had meat on the bones, you know, stuff to think about.
Then later on once I hit puberty I got into acting, I was like really into acting. So I – for a long time I was just into Robert DeNiro and John Savage, like anybody that was in Deerhunter I was totally into anybody that was in that cast and followed their careers.
And so I got very much into the gritty kind of late 70s Hollywood movies, Dog Day Afternoon, I don’t know, all the way through the 80s with (Sid and Nancy), there’s a lot of that stuff that I was very into.
Martin Sternberg: So Caprica is actually pretty good fit for your original interests…
James Marsters: Oh man…
Martin Sternberg: I mean, it actually goes right along with that type of thought-provoking what’s going to happen in the future kind of things.
James Marsters: Yes exactly. Yes when they had a problem finding the right costume for me and they finally just put me in jeans and like a ripped up shirt and started rubbing dirt on me I was like so happy. I was like this is perfect, excellent.
Charlie Jane Anders: Well I was just wondering if you’ve talked to Russell Davies about coming back on Torchwood in the fourth season.
James Marsters: No but he knows I’m his bitch. I’ll come wherever he’ll call, I’ve told him wherever – if he has work anywhere at anything, five lines or the lead, whatever he needs I’ll come.
Jenna Busch: Okay so I’m actually curious about – I watched the episode and I’m wondering how much your character knows about Zoe’s involvement. And I know that Clarice sort of talks about the dirty work that you character does for the church. And I’m wondering what sort of from that’ll take.
James Marsters: I don’t do a whole lot of work for the church. I’m – well I’m kind of trying to take my little wing of the church over. So I’m kind of at odds – I’m kind of at odds with Clarice. Every revolution has a lot of different factions and people – that have different ideas about how to achieve the revolution.
And Clarice and I see things a little differently. How much I know about – I don’t know a whole lot about Zoe. I probably know anything that Lacy has told (Kion) about Zoe if that helps. I’m being a little bit opaque about it, I’m not supposed to reveal too much…
I play a man who wants to change the world and is willing to break however many eggs he needs to to achieve that.
Michael Hinman: Hey, you know, it’s kind of funny Battlestar and Caprica both seem to have one major thing in common besides their storyline which is the fact that they bring in icons, you know, from other shows that are just big with fandom and just they drop accents where, you know, both went back to their natural accents where we had Lucy Lawless did Battlestar Galactica and now it’s kind of just sort of seeing this episode and actually seeing you just, you know, with your natural accent.
Is that, you know, is that kind of a way where maybe, you know, people might be able to kind of take away some of – everything they bring into the show and what they know you from and see you as this new character?
James Marsters: Yes, yes, I’ve always been really thankful that I got to play a character that got to wear so much makeup and bleach his hair and have a cool Euro accent, English accent. But I was also really aware that I needed to get beyond that if possible. So actually I cut my blond hair off the day after Angel went down and I cut it off for the Elizabeth Glaser Aids – Children’s Aids Foundation on the Ryan Seacrest Show. Ryan shaved me bald on the show.
But, yes, I think that anytime that you have writing that is this good and, you know, they scored Edward James Olmos for the lead for Battlestar. As soon as you do that you’re going to get almost any actor that you want because everybody wants to work with him.
And so you have that – the tradition and so the producers have had so many good actors on that show that when they do a spin-off they, again, get a lot of good actors to choose from. And they got Eric Stoltz, man, so again they’re going to get anybody they want.
So I’m just glad that they – well I’m glad that (unintelligible) work with me on Buffy because she enjoyed working with me and she fought to get me on Caprica and I’m just very lucky to be working with them frankly. They’re insane. They come up with wild ideas and then they just change their minds, say no that sucks, let’s do something else, let’s think of it in five minutes and go – and they do and it works and it’s fabulous. It’s like being at the circus.
Michael Hinman: And did they have to ask you more than once to come on the show?
James Marsters: No – hell no, no. I follow writers. I like – in my little mind I cast my own group of writers around Hollywood, the ones that if I was forming a production company the ones that I will call and try to get together. And if any of those people call me and they’re writing for something I’ll come there.
And Jane is on the top of that list so she had called me for a different role on Caprica and I was auditioning just five, six times for that role and they finally – they said no you’re really not right for that and Jane’s like, no, get him on the show and so they thought of another role which I think is a lot more exciting actually. I like playing a monotheistic terrorist it’s just – it’s great. Yes.
Michael Hinman: You can’t say what role you auditioned for?
James Marsters: Oh I don’t want to go there.
Michael Hinman: Was it Clarice or anything like that? No I’m just kidding.
James Marsters: Yes, it was Lacy. I should have gotten that role, I mean, Magda is fabulous but I would have just given…
Michael Hinman: Well thanks. I loved your episode; I can’t wait to see what else you do.
James Marsters: Right on, right on, thanks man.
Troy Rogers: Actually I wanted to know how you saw Barnabas like is he a terrorist or a criminal? What is he?
James Marsters: No man, he’s a revolutionary. I mean, how I see him is how he seems himself, well it’s a complex question, I mean, if I’m going to ask – I’ll answer as an actor who’s making the guy.
You know, you could say that George Washington was a terrorist. He was using different battle techniques, I mean, if you compare the English who were just coming at them in formation standing people up in open fields and just marching forward and he was just hiding in the bushes and shooting.
I mean, that’s a little bit like, you know, the new tactics that we’re facing in Afghanistan and Iraq.
So, I mean, there is a different – there is a difference, the terrorist is trying to instill terror in a civilian population and they’re definitely expanding the battlefield to civilian populations and that is also something scary. But in my mind, in Barnabas’s mind he is trying to save the world. He’s trying to give the world a new religion that will give guidance to people.
He recognizes that some people – not all but some people really do need a superman to tell them you will not pee in the pool and if you do I will kick you out. They need a god and they need the 10 Commandments. They need thou shall do this and don’t do that and you’ll burn if you don’t and you’ll go to heaven if you do and they needed a daddy figure.
And without that you really face what Rome faced which is people giving into sensual desire to the point that the whole society wrecks. That one’s true. You know, the Roman society – it’s the same religion that they have on Caprica which is, you know, a multi-deity mythology.
And in Rome they didn’t – that mythology – all the Roman mythology had nothing to do with what you should do or what you should try to become it was just trying to explain human psychology; the gods behaved in very human ways and it was really just exploring why we are the way we are but that doesn’t give guidance.
And you can argue that that’s exactly what you should do but Barnabas sees it differently because he’s going into these (V)-Clubs and he’s seeing best friends shoot each other down for fun.
Jim Iaccino: I did want to know, James, first of all I am a big fan of yours, watched you in Buffy and Angel, loved you in that and also in Torchwood so it’s great that you’re coming onto Caprica.
I did have a couple questions in preparation for your role as Barnabas did you watch any episodes of Battlestar or even the beginning episodes of Caprica including the pilot or no did you just start…
James Marsters: No I had seen stuff – I had seen some of Battlestar, everyone has. I hadn’t watched all of it but I’ve seen good chunks of it. But I really had to try to forget that because we were doing a prequel kind of it and it was really important that nobody understands how serious it’s about to get.
You know, we’re still in the time when we think, you know, that the fight with the girlfriend is the most important thing that week, you know. And so I did watch the pilot and I have to say within the first ten minutes I got so shocked and horrified not because there that was much gore on the screen but just the ideas that were presented were so hard for me to watch being a parent myself; I turned it off and thought after 30 seconds – I just stared at it for about 30 seconds and then I just went that is incredible.
As soon as I grow the balls I’ve got to finish watching that. It was fabulous, I loved it and it terrified me which I think is gold, it’s fabulous.
Jim Iaccino: Cool. How many episodes are you going to be in Caprica?
James Marsters: Well if I have my way? I think I’ve filmed five so far and then there’s a bit of a hiatus and I’m hoping – they were hinting that they wanted to keep the option open of having me back. They want me to be excited if they want me back they want me to be excited. And they’ve left the door open for doing that and I hope that they – I hope they do.
Jim Iaccino: So that would be a possible second season maybe?
James Marsters: Man I have no idea. I have not idea…I don’t think it should take that long man — 109, 106, 107 – I think the last one I’m in is 109 I think. Yes, man, no let’s say I’ll be in 111. I don’t know.
Jim Iaccino: Okay. I’m going to keep on watching and definitely seeing you this week, you know. I did have one other question, do you think there’s ever going to be a possibility of you reprising Spike?
James Marsters: You know, when Joss came to me and asked me about that, the writer of Angel was coming down and I told him what I tell every great writer which is I’ll follow you to hell, I’ll follow you to heaven just give me a call, I’ll do one line for you, I’ll do ten. You know, sure I’ll do Spike for you, of course I’d do Spike for you…
James Marsters: …years. Yes, seven years because I’m aging, Spike’s not supposed to and I don’t want to do some lame line like oh he’s drinking pig’s blood right now so he’s aging slowly or some stupid thing like that.
And it’s now been seven years. But I look in the mirror and, you know, I’ve got to say if I’m rested I look okay with the proper lighting I don’t know. But as the years go I get more and more nervous about that so, you know, I’m thinking well let’s just do a screen test and see if we can light this character so we can actually say look I haven’t aged. If we could hold that that’d be cool.
If we can’t it’s kind of like, you know, (unintelligible). So that’s what – in my mind that’s what…
Curt Wagner: Hi James, thanks for doing the call. So I wanted to hear a little bit more about the reunion with Jane. How was it?
James Marsters: You know, I haven’t seen Jane – my reunion was on the telephone. She’s making a universe man, she’s winding up Caprica and she’s very busy. And unfortunately I am too. There’s like a week that we were talking about getting together and then I got ripped into rehearsals and then I had to leave to London.
But so our reunion – well you know what that is exactly like it was on Buffy. You know, we communicated through the scripts. I like to say that we tried to make love to each other through the scripts and through the dailies because I tried to take everything that Jane gave me and then just add my own layer to it so it would be just a little better than she was imagining.
Curt Wagner: All right. And – but it was – was it through her that you got the call?
James Marsters: Very much, yes. She fought for me for along time to get me on the show.
Curt Wagner: All right. And then this is a little off topic but it’s kind of fun. You having played Spike what do you think about all the new vampires out there, True Blood, Twilight, Vampire Diaries.
James Marsters: Oh I like them, man, they got my niece to read, you know, she wasn’t reading a lot and she hit Twilight and she’s just – ate them up and read them like 5-10 times and now she’s onto other vampire romances and she reads like a novel a day now. So go Stephanie Meyer.
I think in general it follows the tracks of Interview with a Vampire. It’s into – it follows Anne Rice which Anne Rice really doesn’t explore vampires as hideous monsters of the night, they’re ancient creatures with a heart. And they want to be loved and they want connections just like we do.
And a lot of the rougher edges of the more traditional vampire story have been kind of softened or taken away. And that’s a refreshing new look. But that was not what Josh was going for with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He really wanted the vampires to be ugly when they were vampires and then very quickly dead.
He was talked into the character of Angel by David Greenwalt who is his writing partner. And he fought it. I don’t think he was too excited about it but he allowed David to do it. And then the character just took off through the clouds, you know.
And I think that he always remembered that he was only going to allow on Angel-like character on the show, that all the other vampires were going to remain in some way hideous.
Curt Wagner: Okay. And what would Barnabas say to Spike if they met?
James Marsters: You want to make some money?
Zach Oat: Now you say that you follow writers but you certainly have found yourself in a lot of genre roles and I’m sure that not all of those have been, you know, really tied to specific writers. What percentage would you say is you seeking out that type of genre role because, you know, it’s something you enjoy or – and what percentage is people seeking you out because you are such a known entity in genre entertainment?
James Marsters: I guess about 50/50. You know, like I remember, you know, I was in London doing a music tour and I couldn’t get the tour manager to come after the show and have dinner with me. And she said, you know, have dinner but come up to my room because Dr. Who is on. And she just went off about Russell T. Davis how he’s taken Dr. Who and re-imagined it that he was the guy who had done the original Queer as Folk in London. She just went on and on about him.
She said come check him out, come check this writing out, you’ll just be amazed. So I went, had dinner her in room and watched Dr. Who and just fell in love with this writing, just amazing. And so we called to Dr. Who I just – like I want to work with Russell. I want to work – and Russell’s like I don’t really need you on Dr. Who but there is a great role over on Torchwood which is a spin-off you want to come? And I was like are you writing it? Are you producing it? And he’s like yes. So I – jump on board.
So in that way I kind of followed the writer. Yes, like all the other writers at Buffy, you know, David Fury will often make sure I’m seen for 24. I haven’t gone in that yet but we always are dreaming that we’ll work again together.
But, yes, other roles just kind of come to me, other roles I have to audition for like – God I don’t know – who’s that director? Such a good director, he’s an English guy. We did the Apollo 11 project together, the moon shot thing for the BBC and the History Channel. I got to play Buzz Aldrin.
But, yes, I had to audition for that. I got the role and I just turned to him during the audition and said oh I’m getting bored want to particle physics, you know.
Zach Oat: Richard Dale.
James Marsters: Yes, yes. Richard was fabulous. He was always dressed really smart. He always dressed in this – like the first day he was a in a full suit. And even when he wore jeans they were pressed and a good crisp white shirt on top. And he would always – he would always – like he had to take us like actors. And we actors we’re touchy feely guys right?
And he had to make some steely space fighting astronauts. He had to make some, you know, some fighter pilot guys. And, you know, he didn’t say you pussies, man, every day he would say hello my heroes, time to get in the capsule, let’s go, you know. And he would always be over the speakers, that was a great take, very steely, very steely, go again, more steal. Yes, he had a wonderful way to bring out the guy guy in us. Yes.
Zach Oat: That’s great. Any musical performances coming up?
James Marsters: Check my Website I got to imagine so. I just finished up playing London and playing New Jersey. And I got to say, man, my last show in New Jersey was I think one of my best if not my best. I think I’m getting marginally better as time goes by. Yes, and starting just cut some scratch tracks for a new album in Sacramento with Charlie DeMars who was the lead guitarist of Ghost of the Robot which is a band I was in years ago and it’s good to get back working with him.
And my son, who is 13 and the monster good on lead guitar, just scary good. In fact go to YouTube and go to James Marsters and Son, check out Moonshot. There’s a bunch of stuff on there but I think Moonshot might be the best and you’ll hear him play. And he wrote that lead. Yes.
Hanh Nguyen: Hi. So I wanted to know I guess if you can tell without spoilers is Barnabas alone or what is he driven by, is it just his convictions or is there some other more human side we’ll see?
James Marsters: He is not alone at all. He is able to gather people to him to help him try to change the world. There are a lot of people around in the world that had the same frustrations and concerns he does. So he just needs to find them and gather them into a unified force.
Hanh Nguyen: Now does he have any sort of personal relationships with anyone though or is this all driven by this one purpose?
James Marsters: The relationships – he does have relationships but he uses everyone around him for his goal. And – but, you know, his goal is motivated by the fact that he lost his father to this. He used to respect his father a lot but his father has become addict to these (V)-Clubs and he found him in there doing things that he doesn’t even want to remember. So it’s a very personal, you know, it comes from a personal place but it has become a very large thing in his mind.
Hanh Nguyen: And so now you said just by changing names were able to, you know, make a commentary on this current world but would Barnabas living in our world be acting exactly the same or how would you see him acting?
James Marsters: Oh yes, man, he’d be spiking trees, he’d be blowing up hydroelectric dams, you know, he’d be like – he’d be the one getting arrested outside the WTO conferences. Yes, oh man if he could get inside the World Trade Organization, oh no, oh no.
Hanh Nguyen: Well okay I’m not even going there, I mean, what he targets…
James Marsters: …a whip to the dudes in the temples just because the Romans were doing dual use in his temple just because of that he took a whip. Can you imagine what he’d do to the World Trade Organization if he had a gun? Yes, Barnabas would probably take a look to the temple, yes.
Hanh Nguyen: Oh and you say follow writers. Mainly I’ve been hearing a lot of the TV writers, do you follow any film writers or do you have – have you seen any Oscar movies that you think has that strong writing that you look for?
James Marsters: I think that Ridley Scott movies always have incredible writing. I think the Pixar movies always have incredible writing.
Hanh Nguyen: Did you see Up?
James Marsters: Yes I’ve seen everything that Pixar does. Seriously I think that as good as the artistry and the animation is I think that the real secret to Pixar is the scripts.
Hanh Nguyen: Did you Hurt Locker?
James Marsters: Martin Scorsese of course, I mean, you know, I haven’t seen Shutter Island yet but….I have been kind of busy. But that’s my kind of the movie that I’m wanting to find time for right now. I love Scorsese because he’s able to put his characters through a cheese grater every time. He’s able to pressurize his characters almost like no one else. In realism, without going to genre he’s able to find situations that just almost pop the skulls of his characters.
Martin Sternberg: Hi James. So next month the audio book for was it Changes is coming out. And I was curious because I just actually got done listening to all them that are released so far in preparation – I was wondering because Harry in the books is a delivery that I imagine is completely different than the delivery that you have.
I pictured him more as kind of a jerk whereas he’s just kind of like a (cermigan) with your take. Is that – was that something that you were directed to do or is that your own take on him?
James Marsters: I was doing Sam Spade, man. You know, I was taking my cue from Humphrey Bogart, Maltese Falcon, you know…Casablanca. It, you know, what I kind of saw in the books for myself was a really cool combination between this film noire detective stuff that was freshened up with pixies and werewolves and vampires and wizards and stuff like that.
And so you had this really interesting magical world that could become scary or it could become funny and you kind of contrast that with the really dry delivery of film noire of a character who’s a nice guy but he just got his foot shot and his rent is overdue and his girlfriend just left him and he hasn’t had a sip of water in three days and he’s just about over it but he’s trying still to be a good guy but he’s not in a good mood right now. Yes.
Martin Sternberg: That’s excellent. And then how did you get involved with those projects? Did you look it up or were you contacted by Jim’s people?
James Marsters: Jim’s people contacted me and said do you want to try it? And the first one was so painful I got to say so hard. And I don’t know even if it was that good but I think that I – my learning curve was pretty good and I think by the time we got to the second one I was pretty…
Jim Iaccino: I’m a fan of Smallville. And I really liked it when you were on Smallville for – I guess a couple seasons right?
James Marsters: Yes.
Jim Iaccino: There is talk about having a final season next year, nothing official yet. I’m sure you’re going to say yes but would you be interested in coming back to that show at any time?
James Marsters: Oh yes I’d love to. They are just a really good group of people. And I – like only Tom could play this character this long. That’s just fabulous.
Jim Iaccino: Okay in terms of Caprica who’s your favorite character and/or star of Caprica at this point besides yourself of course?
James Marsters: Well, you know, my favorite star, my favorite actor would have to be Eric. I mean, you know, it’s all I can do just to remain professional and not gush, you know, when he comes in. So it was just horrible he directed me in the final episode I was in and I was just trying not to embarrass myself. I think he just rocks on so many levels.
My favorite character on the show is Barnabas. I think he’s the most interesting character. He’s the monotheistic terrorist, I mean, what are you going to – how can you get better than that? I don’t think you can get better than that.
Jim Iaccino: That’s true, that’s true. I take it that you’re going to have a lot of interactions with Clarice right?
James Marsters: Yes. I hope I didn’t offend her, she’s a really nice person in real life, a really wonderful person. And I would – our characters are in opposition in the beginning. I told her how nice I thought she was…
Jim Iaccino: And as far as best episode you did mention the one that Eric directed; would you consider that the best episode so far to date that you’ve been in in Caprica?
James Marsters: You know, usually the episode that your character is introduced in you have more to do and the plot is more focused on what you’re doing. So I would say, you know, I had more meat to chew in the first episode and I think that was directed by Michael Nankin, yes. And that was – and it’s always a very intense episode for an actor because it’s an intense episode for an actor because you don’t really know what you’re doing yet. And if it works well it’s always a really nice triumph and it ended up being a really……two or three days. I have to say every episode I’ve loved working with the director. I’m trying to think of the one that I worked on before, I mean, Eric was fabulous, Eric just walked on the set like he was born there. He cracked exactly the right amount of jokes. He stood tall so everyone just like oh daddy, you know, like a director’s got to be like I know what’s going on so everybody relaxes. And he just – he knew exactly how to do that.
I mean, I’m sure that he had watched other directors fill those shoes and he was just fabulous. And a really free mind, in fact he gave me more license to experiment that I was able to take advantage of because I was too sleepy and I kick myself for that.
But all of the directors are very playful, very willing to try new things on the spot, very willing to throw away huge amounts of dialogue if he doesn’t think it’s working and re-write it right there.
Because usually it’s the – the writer is directing, you know or they’ve been in on the writing or, you know, if they need a writer they call them down and a couple writers will come down and they’ll squat over the monitor and come up with another page and a half and we’ll try that and oh, that works fabulous as well. And that amount of bravery is – it’s the first time I’ve seen that on a TV set.
Jim Iaccino: One final question, do you ever have any interactions with Zoe as the Cylon or no?
James Marsters: I wonder if that’s straying into plot in…Maybe it isn’t. You know what maybe – ask the people at Caprica and they’ll give you an answer if they can. Sorry, I’m going to play a pussy here and not answer.
Michael Hinman: Hey, you know, because one thing you said earlier is that you would pretty much, I mean, if (Goswin) or Russell T. Davies or Jane Espenson or any of the people that you really admire to work with in the past called you up even to reprise old characters you’d do it again.
Do you ever have a fear like many actors do in this genre of being typecast at all?
James Marsters: What as the cool guy? Yes, I fear that everyday. Oh, no, man, seriously, I mean, if I was playing Urkel then I’d have a problem being typecast but when you’re typecast as the cool guy or the tough guy or the potent character or the jerk who mixes things up I think – I think if you’re going to get typecast that’s the one you’d want.
And I really don’t have a problem with that at all. I mean, you know, I went into audition for this moon shot thing, I love the Apollo program, I’m a science geek and stuff so I was just so excited. Would have taken any three roles, you know. But the director was like oh no man I need you. I saw you from Buffy, you know, I need you for Buzz Aldrin because he’s the rock star. So, you know, typecast me, okay. Yes.
Michael Hinman: Well you never have to, you know, make any efforts. Because I know one thing that we always hear is where some of the actors they go out and they’ll take on like really off the wall roles just to try to break that typecast. And you don’t really feel like the need to ever having to do that at all?
James Marsters: No I think that that might force you into choosing writing that isn’t as good as, you know, like if you just were trying to look for a specific kind of role I think that if you can recognize good writing that you should just go for that because if you have better writing then it’s a better show.
And, yes, I don’t know. I don’t have a problem with my cool guys who are evil or not even evil. I don’t know, I played a cowboy who saved a town from bug invasion, you know, last year. So and, you know, I played the best friend in P.S. I Love You, typical best friend always there for the friends, not evil at all.
So, you know, other things come along. But I really – my favorite Shakespeare role is Macbeth so, you know, I really don’t have a problem playing the guy who’s making mistakes.
Martin Sternberg: I read an interview not too long ago with Amy Acker where she mentioned some Josh Sweden Shakespeare readings that the cast used to go to. Did you attend those a lot and has there been any word of when anywhere in the near future that you’re planning on? What’s your favorite role obviously you said was – you just said what your favorite Shakespeare role is but…
James Marsters: Yes, yes and I got to read out of his house, yes. He let me do Macbeth. He let Tony Head got to be Richard III, he got to do Hamlet. His Hamlet actually was very good. I’d never seen a comic play Hamlet and I was reminded how much of a comedian Hamlet is and how much the play works better because Hamlet’s just out there and talks a lot but if he’s cracking jokes, if you’re aware of the jokes and they’re funny then it really helps; it helps the play not become too, you know, too serious and long and boring.
And what, let’s see, I’m trying to think of other actors – Alexis Deardorff did a Bottom in Midsummer Night’s Dream that just rocked my – it was the best Bottom I’ve ever seen. He was just fabulous.
Yes, when I was in Buffy and Angel we would get together at his house, I don’t know, we tried every month but it really – people were busy and the schedule would go crazy so it was probably every other month for a period of about a year I think.
And I hope he’s still doing it. No, I haven’t – he’s probably doing it with the cast that he’s working with at the present if he’s doing it. I hope he is. It brings people together.
Martin Sternberg: Yes, it’s really awesome. When I heard that it’s really nice to see actors who aren’t really like disillusioned with their craft so much that they like do it for fun like just for fun.
James Marsters: Yes, and some of the best stuff was really that most of the people reading weren’t actors, they were producers and writers and you got a different take on the words, I mean, a lot of actors try to impress you with what a great actor they are especially when they do Shakespeare but when you get a writer reading it they’re just trying to make it clear and certain things really get more clear that way. So, yes, I found it to be really instructive actually.
Martin Sternberg: Well thank you so much. Awesome, you know, like I said ever since I read that interview I was really curios to see some other points of views on the same issue so thank you.
James Marsters: Oh it was wonderful we would like if our family was in town we’d take them to the Shakespeare reading. And then after the Shakespeare reading we’d, you know, it would, you know, out would come the wine and we’d have a little party. And then one day I brought my guitar because, you know, it’s a party and we started playing songs and Josh started playing songs on the piano.
And Joss says that that was the beginning of him thinking of the musical for Buffy.
Martin Sternberg: And, you know, one last little thing any chance on the James Marsters Doctor Horrible cameo?
James Marsters: Hope so, that’d be fun.