- From: The Courier-Mail
- April 03, 2010
Caprica - End of Line
James Marsters & Son - Moonshot James Marsters is best known as the peroxide-blond Spike, who helped make vampires sexy and gained a cult following in the process in hip fantasy series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off series Angel.
YOU could say he's a master of the sci-fi and fantasy realm.
Not bad for a role that wasn't supposed to last.
"No, it was designed to die after five episodes," Marsters recalls.
"I remember (creator) Joss (Whedon) reminding me of that: 'Don't get any ideas.' But I think it went a little better than they thought it would."
So well, in fact, that Marsters has made quite a name for himself in sci-fi and fantasy, and is one of the headliners at this year's Supanova fan convention in Brisbane.
Since Buffy and Angel, Marsters has landed roles in two "reimaginings": Smallville, a modern take on Superman; and Caprica, a spin-off of the updated Battlestar Galactica.
But he was never a fan of either original.
"I was more of a Batman guy – Batman was darker," he says.
"I also liked the fact that with Batman, if he got shot, then he'd die, and I always thought that was cool.
"And I hate to tell you, but I was a big Star Trek guy, so I didn't like the original Battlestar. But the more recent Battlestar is just fabulous. I think it's fair just to call it a drama, really. They're exploring some really good moral grey areas."
And Marsters has a pivotal role in Caprica. "I play a man who is living in a society that's becoming unhinged – much like ancient Rome did – where the morality is just completely breaking apart, and people are having fun with human sacrifice and mass orgies, ritualistic death and execution, and just shooting each other for fun," he says.
"In Rome it was all real, it was called the Coliseum, but in Caprica it's a virtual world people can escape into. But it's just as frightening – or it is for my character."
Marsters' character, Barnabas Greeley, decides that a new religion with just one god, and laws of right and wrong, is the only salvation for society.
"I'm a character who's decided that if you have to crack the egg, so be it. To make the omelette, eggs have to be broken, and that's OK. That's a revolution, that's a war," he says.
"So you could say that my character is a terrorist. Or you could also say he's a religious revolutionary. It depends on whose perspective, I guess."
The Caprica scenario is familiar ground for Marsters, who has also done voiceover work for animation and video games, which he says are commanding more respect as an artform than ever.
As for whether Marsters seeks out sci-fi and fantasy roles, or they seek him out, he says it's a bit of both.
"I think I audition well for sci-fi stuff just because I don't have a problem believing in the circumstances," he says.
"When I did the audition for Dragonball I just screamed at the director: 'I WILL DE-STROY YOU!!!' at the top of my lungs. I thought if he knows Dragonball he's gonna appreciate it; if he doesn't he's gonna think I'm insane!"
As with many actors, Marsters' first love is the stage. In the mid-'90s he ran a theatre company in Chicago and Seattle, and he recently recorded some radio plays for the BBC in London.
"When you're on stage the actor's in the driver's seat; the actor's the chef, everybody else is just a support system for the actor, so of course we're gonna love that! In film you're really just an ingredient for another chef called the editor to be chopped up later.
"But right now I'm having success doing television and film, so it would be kind of counterintuitive to do a long run of a play.
"The thing is, I've got two kids, and I can go out of town if I tell them I'm earning lots of money for college, but if I tell them I'm going away for six months, and really not making any money, they kind of look at me like, 'Are you for real?'
"I've got about five more years until they're in college, and then frankly, my dream would be to get back into Chicago and LA and Seattle and New York, and get back to theatre."
Marsters is also something of a musician. "Right now I am working on an album of music with Charlie De Mars, lead guitarist for Ghost of the Robot, which is a band I had," he says.
"It's really good to get back with him."
His son plays guitar on the album.
Marsters' Supanova appearances mark his third visit to Australia, after immensely enjoying his previous Down Under experiences.
And he has a message for attendees: "Come on down to the convention and check us out. It's a wonderful place where you can be cool by being creepy!
"And there aren't many places in the world where that's still allowable."
Out of this worldNOW in its eighth year, the Supanova pop culture expo returns to Brisbane's RNA Showground on the weekend of April 9-11 to celebrate the world of sci-fi, fantasy, comic books, video games and anime.
Headlining the event are actors Karl Urban (Star Trek, The Lord of the Rings), Alex Meraz (the Twilight saga), James Marsters (Buffy, Angel, Smallville, Torchwood, Caprica), Yuri Lowenthal (Sarah Connor Chronicles, the voice of Ben 10), Corin Nemec (Stargate) and Gareth David-Lloyd (Torchwood).
And Brisbane twins Peter and Michael Spierig will be among the guests on Friday's directors' day to talk about their breakthrough horror flicks Undead and Daybreakers.
Fans will be able to participate in guest panel signings and photos, anime theatre and movie previews, video-game demos, fantasy art masterclasses, roleplaying and card gaming and even laser tag.