'Buffy' star James Marsters carries torch for vampire show
The Big Bad is back!James Marsters will forever be loved by fans of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" as the witty Brit Spike, the blond hottie in the badass black leather jacket, or William the Bloody if you want to be all formal about it.Now he is headed to the Bay Area. Marsters is just one of the fan faves warping into San Jose as part of the "Wizard World" convention, where you can snag an autograph or a photo-op with he of the cheekbones and hypnotic stare.So if you are one of those who fell hard for the whole #Spuffy storyline (that's Spike + Buffy, for newbies), this here story is for you. Marsters recently chatted up this reporter (squeals of delight inserted here) about "Buffy" lore, his rock band Ghost of the Robot and its earworm new single "Katie," and why he can't get enough Shakespeare. Q: After all these years do you ever get a little tired of dealing with effulgent fans (like me?), fans so rabid they try and work effulgent into conversation with you?A: Not at all. I'm a huge fan. I consider "Buffy" a piece of subversive art. It subverts all of the lies we tell children about the world. "Buffy" went right at that. Fantasy is a bit like the court jester. It's the only place where you can safely call the king an idiot. I'm all into it.Q: Is that why the show, which starred Sarah Michelle Gellar, has such enduring appeal, even now that the '90s are soooo long ago they are a point of nostalgia?A: Fantasy works best when it makes you think and "Buffy" was very well-written. It explored what happens when you come of age and you realize that your parents don't know what they're doing, you're teachers don't know what's going on and how do you go on in the face of that? "Buffy" never gives in, no matter how bad things get. That transcends genre.
Q: I've heard that Spike was only supposed to be a bit player, instead of a major love interest. Is that true?
A: Spike was an accident. Joss Whedon felt that evil was not supposed to be cool. Evil was pathetic. He wasn't interested in those dreamy Anne Rice vampires. When Angel came into the picture, Joss said never again. He wanted Spike to be a badass but he also wanted to kill him off. But my perspective was, I'm actor, you give me this cool leather jacket and the hair and what am I supposed to do?
Q: The hair rocked!
A: Yeah, I think the hair sort of worked or something.
Q: Does your devoted fan base turn out to hear your band, Ghost Robot?
A: Yes, but it's a double-edged sword. The fans come and they love it before they get there but their boyfriends they drag along are prepared to hate it; they stand there with their arms crossed and you have to prove it to them, which we do. It's not Mr. Hollywood trying to be cool. It's a real band. And I'm really proud of it. It's got a good dirty rock sound and rock should be a little dirty. It should have grit. It's a mistake to try and clean it up.
Q: Vampire, rock star and now Shakespearean actor? I know your roots are in the theater but what draws you to "As You Like It"?
A: It's Shakespeare. It's amazing. At L.A. TheatreWorks, we rehearse for five days and then we put it up.
Q: 5 Days? Isn't that terrifying?
A: Yes. it's terrifying but it's also exhilarating, you just jump off the cliff. It's a little dangerous but that's part of the thrill of the stage. You deliver the text and don't let your ego get in the way. Anything can happen.
Wizard World San JoseWhen: Friday-SundayWhere: San Jose Convention Center, 150 W. San Carlos St.
Tickets: $35-$75; www.wizardworld.com/home-sanjose.html