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The James Marsters Interview

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"I Almost Punched The Preacher, Man."

CB: Well, given that you've only worked with Marianne, is that fun to be working with an English person? Because when you look at Without A Trace you think American procedural, but then you've got this sort of international cast in there.

JM: Yeah, I'm kinda tempted to go, man, I kind of earned some living doing an English accent, and now you're earning some living doing an American one. [laughs] That's the great thing about joining the circus, man. Yeah, she's just been very light, and very fun, and...they're obviously a very good company, and they know what they're doing, and you just kind of stand on your tape and say your lines and they move on. It's easy, and there's not a lot of futzing and there's not a lot of oh, dear, we gotta go back to this, we blew the focus or we gotta change this angle, they just have already figured that out fifteen minutes ago, and you're just not even aware of it. So I get to fool around with Marianne and they tell us to shut up, and then we say our lines, and we both know our lines, and then we move on. Kind of a Woody Allen kind of deal. Or like Clint Eastwood -- like, they say Clint sometimes just puts out word, "I will not take more than two takes. I'll probably only take one, so be ready." And that's when it's really good. I think the first take is the best.

CB: So with a procedural such as Without A Trace, it seems like, by design, every episode is pretty much going to be a stand-alone. You want people to tune in and know what's going on -- it's not like a show like Buffy where if you come in in the middle of a season there's a lot of mythology to get straight. Yet it seems like the most interesting characters dramatically, both for the audience and, I would think, for the actors are the ones that go through fundamental changes. How do you balance that in a procedural? Do you look for an arc with your character? Or do you just sort of see what they throw at you?

JM: That's a really good question. Um...I tend to think that there's always an arc. [laughs] You just can't help but go there, and whether the writers know it or not, there kind of is. And if you give over to the writing, and explore it honestly, then they see the dailies, and then they are more aware of what they're doing. Sometimes you just clarify, or make obvious what they're not even admitting to themselves. It's kind of a dialogue that you go through. But you really...one of the great things about procedurals, I think, is that they don't really address character very much. Character is best defined through action, through what do I choose to do now. From this room, we're gonna go to where? And where we go says a lot about who I am.

CB: Absolutely. And especially under the stress you see in procedurals -- the life-threatening, life-changing decisions you've got to make.

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Mondo Extra

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Mondo Extra
The James Marsters Interview

Episode Report Card
Grade It Now!
YOU GRADE IT
"I Almost Punched The Preacher, Man."

CB: Well, given that you've only worked with Marianne, is that fun to be working with an English person? Because when you look at Without A Trace you think American procedural, but then you've got this sort of international cast in there.

JM: Yeah, I'm kinda tempted to go, man, I kind of earned some living doing an English accent, and now you're earning some living doing an American one. [laughs] That's the great thing about joining the circus, man. Yeah, she's just been very light, and very fun, and...they're obviously a very good company, and they know what they're doing, and you just kind of stand on your tape and say your lines and they move on. It's easy, and there's not a lot of futzing and there's not a lot of oh, dear, we gotta go back to this, we blew the focus or we gotta change this angle, they just have already figured that out fifteen minutes ago, and you're just not even aware of it. So I get to fool around with Marianne and they tell us to shut up, and then we say our lines, and we both know our lines, and then we move on. Kind of a Woody Allen kind of deal. Or like Clint Eastwood -- like, they say Clint sometimes just puts out word, "I will not take more than two takes. I'll probably only take one, so be ready." And that's when it's really good. I think the first take is the best.

CB: So with a procedural such as Without A Trace, it seems like, by design, every episode is pretty much going to be a stand-alone. You want people to tune in and know what's going on -- it's not like a show like Buffy where if you come in in the middle of a season there's a lot of mythology to get straight. Yet it seems like the most interesting characters dramatically, both for the audience and, I would think, for the actors are the ones that go through fundamental changes. How do you balance that in a procedural? Do you look for an arc with your character? Or do you just sort of see what they throw at you?

JM: That's a really good question. Um...I tend to think that there's always an arc. [laughs] You just can't help but go there, and whether the writers know it or not, there kind of is. And if you give over to the writing, and explore it honestly, then they see the dailies, and then they are more aware of what they're doing. Sometimes you just clarify, or make obvious what they're not even admitting to themselves. It's kind of a dialogue that you go through. But you really...one of the great things about procedurals, I think, is that they don't really address character very much. Character is best defined through action, through what do I choose to do now. From this room, we're gonna go to where? And where we go says a lot about who I am.

CB: Absolutely. And especially under the stress you see in procedurals -- the life-threatening, life-changing decisions you've got to make.

Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14Next

Mondo Extra

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