vampire series Angel will celebrate its
100th episode, "You're Welcome," on Feb. 4, marking the return of onetime
series regular Charisma Carpenter, and affording cast and crew a chance to
reflect on the show's five-year journey through the underbelly of supernatural
Here's how the network describes the milestone
episode: "Cordelia (Carpenter) mysteriously awakens from her coma and is
shocked to discover that instead of fighting against the evil law firm,
Wolfram & Hart, Angel (David Boreanaz) and the group are now running it.
Realizing that Angel has lost his conviction to be a hero, Cordelia gives him
the information and support he needs to get back on track. Meanwhile, while
Angel has security keeping an eye on Eve (Sarah Thompson), her partner Lindsay
(returning guest star Christian Kane) prepares to bring about Angel's
On Dec. 4 last year, the cast and crew gathered on
Stage 5 at Paramount Pictures, home of the massive Wolfram & Hart set, to
blow out the candles on a white-and-blood-red cake with the inscription "Angel
100." Guests included Joss Whedon, who co-created the Buffy the Vampire
Slayer spinoff with David Greenwalt, and stars Boreanaz, James Marsters,
Alexis Denisof, J. August Richards, Amy Acker, Andy Hallett, Mercedes McNab,
Sarah Thompson and Kane, who returns after a lengthy hiatus to reprise the
character of ousted evil Wolfram & Hart lawyer Lindsay
The season has also seen a dramatic shift in tone,
to more humorous and stand-alone episodes after last year's epic apocalypse
story arc. And, of course, the introduction of Marster's Spike from the
now-ended Buffy has stirred things up for Team Angel.
The cast and crew took a moment to speak with
Science Fiction Weekly about Angel's long journey and its
future. The following comments have been compiled from interviews on the day
of the 100th-episode party and The WB's subsequent winter press tour in
David Boreanaz, you just directed your first episode [Jan. 21's "Soul
Purpose"]. Can you talk about the experience?
Boreanaz: I came in with a really
strong game plan as far as what I wanted to do, looking at the script and some
ideas. I came in with some really strong ideas and some strong visuals that I
wanted to do, and I had a big ... meeting with [executive producer] Jeff Bell,
and a lot of the ideas I wanted to do kind of got, not squashed, but just
toned down a bit, because I had to remind myself that I am shooting an
Angel show and not this crazy, cinematic, swooping thing.
As a director, you have a formula that you're
shooting, and that formula has to stay true to the storyline and to the
Angel kind of motif. So that was challenging to kind of keep that. So
my shots were really determined upon the scenes. I had a lot of ... interior
flashbacks of my mind, and was it a dream? Was it not a dream? And I had a
great time doing it. Once I got rolling with it, though, I found that my best
opportunities came after I rehearsed, and they were messing around with the
camera. I'd see the monitor, I'd come up with a different shot. And that's how
it kind of came to be for me, and I kind of shot off the cuff a lot towards
the end as I got more comfortable with it, and that was great.
How did you keep the acting part separate from
the directing part?
Boreanaz: It's pretty crazy, yeah.
You do your work, and there were moments when I was acting in it, and I had
the [assistant director] call action or I would look at a little television
monitor while I was setting the shot and rehearsing. So you're mind's really
all over the place. But I enjoy working like that. The more that's going on,
the better for me creatively.
Do you want to do more
Boreanaz: I don't know. Yeah, I think
so. Again, you're directing your prescription. You're directing a prescription
that is for an already prescribed show. You have your limitations. You can put
your mark on it, and I feel like I did that with this show that I directed.
But then again, I'm not the show runner. I don't get the final cut. I will
have a director's cut, and if anybody would like to see, it will be much
longer. So that's the way it is. That's just what
This season, things seem to have gotten a lot
lighter. Is that true, and how long will that last?
Boreanaz: I don't know. I think that
we take each episode as they come, and I know the next four or five episodes
coming out are really interesting and unique to a series that's taken a big
turn and is only going upwards. So I'm very confident that the storylines will
remain intact as far as the small plot lines are concerned, with Spike and
myself and what's going to happen with Fred [Acker] and what's going to happen
to J [who plays Gunn]. And I think that all kind of unfolds. So we're just
letting it ride out. It'll be light, but it'll get dark, too. I think right
now we're at a good place.
There's been no word yet on whether the network
will pick up Angel for season six. What's your sense of whether the
show will be picked up for another year?
Boreanaz: I don't know. I prescribe
myself season to season, like I've always done. And once I hear word of that,
that's great, and we'll see what happens this year.
You're not tired of the character? You've been
doing this for a long time [eight years, counting his appearances in
Boreanaz: For the show it's been a
great five seasons and now ending a fifth season of the show. And I've loved
it. I've loved everything about the character, and if the show were to go
away, I would be very happy and pleased with where the character is right now.
He's very challenging. He still always makes it interesting. The writers
always make it interesting for me to play him, and, God, he's 250-something
years old, so I don't have to worry about backstory with
Can you talk about Joss' being more heavily
involved in the show this year? [In previous years, Whedon has found himself
working on as many as three series at once, including Buffy,
Angel and Firefly, as well as developing other
Boreanaz: Joss has been involved in
the show since the inception of it, and people always ask me that question,
and I feel as though his involvement has always been 120 percent every year. I
don't think it's been either-or. I think that because he had a lot going on
last year with Firefly and Buffy and this show, people are like,
"Well, he's now going to have much more attention." But to me that's just
bulls--t. I think that the type of artist that he is, and he comes up with an
idea, he wants to see that come to fruition. That's ... the type of artist
that he is, and I respect him highly for that, and that's what's been so great
working with Joss. That he doesn't just say, "Well, I'm doing this, so forget
about your show." I feel like he's always been there, so I don't see any
Joss Whedon, Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy)
won't be making an appearance this season on Angel, even if it is the
Whedon: Sarah last year said that she
would be interested in coming on the show. And then this year, she ... said
that it felt too soon. And that's something that I actually understand. It's
very difficult when you throw something off that's sort of taken over your
life and your public persona for years and years and years, and you go off,
it's very difficult to just sort of say, "OK, I'm going to throw that back on
on somebody else's show and dive in again." And I think that's probably what
I don't know that it's a never. ... It was more
just like, "Now's not the time." And as writers, we have to go to our own
characters and care more about that. And so it isn't ... bad, I don't think.
You know, I mean, obviously I would love to see her on the show, and she's
welcome anytime she decides she is ready. But I don't know if that will
happen, and with a cast like that, it's not my first priority.
With the guest appearance of Tom Lenk [Andrew],
you revisited Slayer lore in the Jan. 28 episode "Damage."
Whedon: Yeah. So we wanted somebody
from Sunnydale on the show, and we thought Andrew would be the person most
likely to annoy everybody on Angel.
Can you talk about Charisma's return to the
Whedon: It's been 100 episodes. She
was there at the beginning. [It's a chance to ask] where are we now? Have we
gotten better? Have we gotten worse? To take stock, that's really what a 100th
episode is for. To go back and say, here was the mission statement. If we made
a hundred of these, there's a reason we were talking about this. So let's talk
about it some more.
Is Connor [Vincent Kartheiser] coming
Whedon: We hope so. We haven't made a
deal or anything. We don't know his schedule, but we definitely have a
That would be for this season?
You have mentioned if the show doesn't get
picked up, this season will wrap up the series as well as the
Whedon: Yeah, that's what I usually
do, and I didn't do it last year, because I didn't know we were in danger of
getting canceled. And I didn't do it the year before, because I knew we
weren't going to be. But usually, my philosophy has always been, do an episode
that ties up everything, but opens up some other things. And this season is no
different. It's very much a good way to go out, and a good way to start a
completely new season.
Will it be as dramatic a change as it was last
Whedon: Well, I don't know if we can
afford a whole new set, but they will definitely not be living the way they're
At one point, you had a bunch of Buffy
stuff cooking. There was a BBC show based on Giles' character and an animated
show. Are any of those going to happen now?
Whedon: Every now and then we get a
nibble on the animated show. I'm very leery of it, because I would want it to
be wonderful. I don't have the talent pool that I had back then, or the time.
And it's hard to get the kind of money it takes to make really good animation.
So I'm not sure how that'll work out. The Giles thing I would love to do;
again, that's just a question of time.
James Marsters, the presence of Spike seems to
have invigorated the show. Did you have any idea of the phenomenon your
character would become?
Marsters: I still am resistant to
think about that, because I think that in general, celebrity will destroy your
soul. And if you concentrate too much on how popular you are or what the
effect is out there, it just trips with your head. And I contemplated it a
little too deeply one season, and it really was too trippy. And ... I'm so
appreciative of it. It's just wonderful. But what's important is really what I
do today. And if I suck or if I don't suck. Because sometimes you suck. Like
today, I had a fight scene that sucked. Seriously, it
What's going to happen to Spike in this season
of the show?
Marsters: Oh, man, I gave up trying
to second-guess these writers so long ago. They go exactly the opposite
direction. We just did a big fight between Angel and Spike, right? I would
have bet ... my guitar on the fact that Angel was going to win that fight. I
was like, "There's no other way you can do it." Of course. Why would you do it
the other way? And what they've done is open up Angel for a whole new arc of
self-doubt and a whole new reason to try to redeem yourself beyond the reward.
Genius. So I have no idea.
What I do know is that there seems to be a lot
more dramatic potential between Angel and Spike than I once realized. When
Joss wanted to bring me over to the show, I thought, "Well, it will be cool.
I'll make Angel's life hard like I made Buffy's life hard. That would be fun."
But what I'm discovering, this is also interesting, things like Spike never
bought that Angel was reformed. When he first, he was like, "Bulls--t. You're
still going to go kill people. I don't buy that for a second." And ... it
doesn't register with Angel now that Spike has gotten his soul and is
reformed. He does not see himself in Spike at all. And I think that's because
Angel has seen Spike do such horrendous evil that he just cannot believe that
you can come back from that, and Spike doesn't believe that Angel could come
back from what he did. Even though they're hoping to come back from doing what
they've done. It's a really wonderful doppelganger for
There's a perception that you're taking over
the show from David. And it seems like the writers have picked up on the
perception of tension between you two to create this tension between the
Marsters: Well, yeah, but that was in
there from the very first, from [the Buffy episode] "School Hard" [in
which Spike first appeared]. ... And the whole Drusilla thing, of [Angel's]
glomming onto Drusilla, that was already stuff that we'd done before. .. I
think because there's tension between the characters is why this character and
not another one from Buffy came over to the show. But yeah, between
David and me functionally, there are no sparks at all. I am in awe of this
guy. I'm serious. He's the same guy that I met a long time ago filming
Buffy, this guy that broke a f--king two-by-four with his head. Right?
... He was doing a gag where they had a wire in his back, and it went a little
wrong, these things happen. It's long hours. He went through with his head and
broke it, and he's bleeding. And he's like, "[It's] nothing, nothing." He's
hiding the blood, and he said, "Let's just go." He just wanted to get the next
take. He's the same guy.
He directed a show this year, and he's so good, I
mean, he doesn't know this really, but he's so good that we forgot that he's a
first-time director, and we all got lazy with him, and we kind of left him in
the ditch a little bit, and we had to remind ourselves, "S--t, David. We
should be here for David, because he's really a first-time director." But he
had the quality of such confidence in knowing what he wanted to do one step at
a time. ... And I asked him at the end of filming, I was like, "So, dude,
you've read a lot of books, right? Directing and all that?" And he's like,
"No." And I said, "So, what, are you just acting like you know what you're
doing?" He's like, "Yeah." But I'm like, "It's so working." At the end of the
day, maybe that's what you need. He doesn't really realize it, but he actually
has [it], to the point where the crew is coming up to me, right? And they're
pressuring me to suggest that David gets another episode or two this year and
[that] he be put into the time when we're really tired so that we can have a
strong director and we don't have to stress out more than we need
Do you want to direct?
Marsters: I'm more interested in
producing, frankly. As I see how things work in television specifically, I
think the things that interest me as far as larger arcs of characters, as far
as finding larger components to put to each other, as far as deciding what the
story is that we're going to tell and how we tell it, I'm kind of leaning
towards wanting to do that and hire a director.
Talk about working with Charisma
Marsters: She's wonderful, man. She's
wonderful. I was supposed to be the new Cordelia on Buffy, and it didn't
really work out that well, because I was a vampire, and I kept lighting on
fire when I tried to get into the house. So, yeah, watching Cordy, watching
Charisma at work, is like, "Oh, that's what they wanted. The master's at work.
I see." She's fabulous. She looks great. ... She kicks butt with a sword, too.
That was this morning.
Alexis Denisof, your character, Wesley, joined
the show in the middle of season one. Did you know you'd be here for the 100th
Denisof: I never knew if he was going
to stick around. So the job for me was to just try and make it as interesting
and irritating as possible a character and hope that they'd find something for
him to do the following week. And fortunately they are still doing that as we
stand here. I don't know how many episodes that character's been
Are you prepared to do Angel for another
three, four, five years?
Denisof: I think we're just getting
warmed up. Why, have you heard we've been picked up for three
I don't know. What have you
Denisof: Sadly, nothing. I mean,
jeez, they really keep us dangling. I wouldn't know.
Would you say your character has experienced
the most change on the show?
Denisof: Oh, boy. The most? I don't
know if I could say the most, but it's certainly been a great deal of change.
I would agree with that.
Do you like the direction they've taken him so
Denisof: I really do. It's a pleasure
for an actor to have the chance to spend this amount of time with a character
and be given the opportunity to evolve the character like we have over the
years. So I'm definitely fortunate to have had that chance. Joss and the
writers have always been coming up with great ideas and new directions for the
character every season. And my job is just to take that as far as I can and
make it as believable as I can and see where that leads us. We didn't really
know where we were going when Wesley joined the show, but we knew that he
needed to change a lot and was going to change a lot. But could I have told
you then that he'd have his throat slit and kidnap a child and have an affair
with the enemy and ... shoot his father, so many amazing things? I definitely
wouldn't have been able to tell you that. It's been an awful lot of fun. In a
way, each time we reach a plateau, a new level of the character, I feel like
this is the starting point. Now we've got where I can start with this guy. So
that's a good sign to me. That means we've got a lot of stories to tell and a
lot of places we could take him.
Christian Kane, it's a surprise to see you on
the show again.
Kane: I like
What's going on? Why are you
Kane: Well, I don't even know that.
I'm not even sure that Joss knows. And also I really can't say where things
are going. But, A, because I don't know, and B, it wouldn't be right, because
Joss would probably kill me. But just, it was really nice to come back. ...
The way we did it was we kept it really secretive and stuff. And I think some
stuff leaked out that I was coming back in episode 10, or something like that,
but no one had any idea that I going to be in episode eight.
That was the great thing about the very last scene
in that episode. And Joss had the idea of not putting my name on it, no
credit, no nothing, and just like just bringing it in. It was really fun. It
was really fun. I just went to London and talked to some of the great, great
fans that we've got out there and supposedly I hear like, I guess five minutes
after the show aired, like six message boards crashed or something. Anytime I
can do that and cause havoc, that's just my style.
Are you the Big Bad for this
Kane: I'm always the Big Bad. Well,
Spike and Angel are good now. They gotta have somebody come in and be evil. So
that, you know, I have no problem doing it.
What was it like coming back to the
Kane: You know, it was little weird.
I felt really comfortable in this character's ... skin, because it's me. Joss
wrote the character, but I brought a lot to it. But it was very weird, because
the first day back, David Boreanaz is directing me. So that was kind of cool,
and it was just, it was a little awkward, because he's a little bit different.
There's a lot of the same qualities, but he's a little bit different. He's a
little bit more on another level now. So it was fun, I'll tell you