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The 7 - Random - NYT Profile on James Marsters (Spike)
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Wolfram J. Paulovich
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#1 Posted on 20.5.03 2238.58
Reposted on: 20.5.10 2241.59
Thought this little profile might amuse the Buffy wonks, of which there seem to me many on this board.

[This is from the New York Times]

A Vampire With Soul, and Cheekbones
By JOYCE MILLMAN

LOVE hurts. Just ask Spike, the formerly evil peroxide-blond punk vampire of UPN's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Last season, Spike's desperate passion for Buffy culminated in an extraordinarily mature story line, in which the emotionally frozen slayer used the masochistic vampire for violent, all-consuming sex. Their affair walked the line between love and hate; it ended in rejection and attempted rape. Sick with remorse, Spike tried to win Buffy back with a typically brash gesture, traveling into the underworld to regain his soul. But now that soul burns with guilt and self-loathing.

You know what else hurts? Pain. And Spike has had plenty of that this season, enduring weeks of torture by minions of the apocalypse-bent First Evil (the incorporeal source of all badness). But he refuses to rejoin the dark side because, in a fleeting moment of tenderness, Buffy told him she believed in his capacity to be good. Spike yearns to be a man, not a monster, and he's paying the price.

So is James Marsters, the charismatic American actor who plays the British Spike. He's growing impatient with weeping and being whaled on. Speaking by phone from his home in Santa Monica, Calif., on the first day of his Christmas break, Mr. Marsters explained that "Buffy" was a "very moral universe."

"And if you're going to seriously redeem a character like Spike, who is a mass murderer, then he's going to have to go through a real journey," he said. But he hoped the writers got it over with soon, he added, laughing, "because I'm tired of getting dragged across gravel."

Spike was originally intended as disposable slayer bait, but his deliciously snarky, seductive villainy clicked with the show's creator, Joss Whedon, as well as with viewers; Mr. Marsters is now in his fourth season as a regular. And no character better embodies the ambitious, unpredictable nature of "Buffy" — which veers from drama to comedy to horror, usually in the same episode — than Spike. He has been a bad boy, a lover, a hero in black leather and goofy comic relief. He has a romantic's vulnerability (before becoming a vamp, he was an earnest, awful Victorian-era poet) and a rock star's swagger (authoritatively displayed in the show's celebrated 2001 musical episode). Spike is dead, but he hasn't disengaged from life. And in Mr. Marsters's agile, richly textured performance, you sensed Spike's soulfulness long before he had a soul.

Spike's female fans sensed something else, too. Throughout Spike and Buffy's sex scenes last season, Mr. Marsters was as naked as broadcast television allows. (Sarah Michelle Gellar's Buffy remained discreetly covered.) And he has, well, these abs. And these arms. And cheekbones like straight razors. So, not surprisingly, Mr. Marsters has noticed that his popularity "has climbed to a new level in the last six or nine months, where sometimes I get chased and stuff."

Why do women love Spike? Well, it's obvious — tough but sensitive, Spike is the perfect fantasy object. When asked for his thoughts on Spike's appeal, Mr. Marsters laughed and said, "In the words of Sid Vicious" — he adopted a slurred British accent — " `Girls love me 'cause I've got a nice face and a good figure.' " Turning serious, he added: "Women enjoy the potency of Spike. But if a man is bad, he will be bad to you."

Raised in Modesto, Calif., the son of a Methodist minister and a social worker, Mr. Marsters, 40, sounds much sunnier than the vampire who lives inside him. His voice is lighter than the deep caramel tone he uses for Spike, and his laugh is warm and contagious. Mr. Marsters describes his teenage self as "a pretty good kid until I hit about 15 and discovered punk rock." After high school, he attended a theater apprenticeship program at the Pacific College of the Performing Arts in Santa Maria, Calif. And then, he said, "I went to Juilliard, and they kicked me out and all hell broke loose."

The Juilliard defeat — his rebelliousness "inspired great hatred among some of the more prominent members of the faculty" — left marks both psychological (he gave up on acting) and physical (he acquired the scar that cuts through his, and Spike's, left eyebrow from a mugging while bartending in Queens). Mr. Marsters regained his confidence when he moved to Chicago in the late 1980's and was quickly cast as Ferdinand in a Goodman Theater production of Shakespeare's "Tempest," in which he made his entrance strapped nude to a metal hoop. (Déjà vu: Spike has been strapped to a torture wheel this season, but, Mr. Marsters noted, "In `Buffy,' I got to keep my pants on."

After a well-reviewed theater career in Chicago and Seattle, Mr. Marsters arrived in Los Angeles in 1997 "willing to sell out, happily." Being cast in "Buffy" was "wonderful irony," he said. "I get more acting jollies from the show than I did from any full season of theater. The writing is not safe. That's the best thing about it. It can be horrifying, but in the most exhilarating way."

Viewers saw proof of that in the haunting final scene of this season's best episode to date, "Beneath You," in which Spike revealed his soul to Buffy in an empty, moonlit church. Mr. Marsters gave Spike's madness and despair a moving, shattered dignity. There was something Shakespearean in his readings of lines like "Why does a man do what he mustn't but for her; to be hers," delivered in half-darkness, and in the devastating last shot: Spike striking a martyr's pose — draped around a large cross, bare back to the camera, flesh smoldering — for a love that Mr. Marsters calls "unquenchable."

While Mr. Marsters said he had "real interest" in returning for another season, the fate of "Buffy" is uncertain — Ms. Gellar's contract is up and, as yet, she hasn't signed another. What does Mr. Marsters want Spike to do before the show ends? "I'd like to see him regain his sense of joy in something more fruitful than killing people," he said. "I've always envisioned him giving Buffy a garden that he could never go to in the daytime, to give her something alive for a change."

As for life beyond Spike, Mr. Marsters has ambitions large (find another series, adapt "Macbeth" for the screen) and modest ("I think I'm a character actor who can be pretty if you apply enough powder". But when he talks enthusiastically about returning to theater, it's clear where his heart lies, and where some of Spike's playful fearlessness comes from.

"I miss the interaction between the actors and the audience," he said. "I miss soliloquies, where you can turn boldly to the audience and speak to them. I love talking to one person at a time, if only for maybe three seconds, but specifically looking in people's eyes and watching them jump. Oh, it's wonderful! And dangerous."



Joyce Millman is a television critic for The Boston Phoenix
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CRZ
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#2 Posted on 21.5.03 0037.37
Reposted on: 21.5.10 0037.39
Did you REALLY have to start two separate threads?
EddieBurkett
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#3 Posted on 21.5.03 0053.37
Reposted on: 21.5.10 0053.53
Just so *I* don't start a new thread: MSN went crazy today with the Buffy stuff. Included is a top 10 list of BTVS moments (paraphrased below), as well as an(other) interview with Joss and some articles on the show from over the years.

Top 10 BTVS moments:

10. Buffy/Angel first kiss
9. Angel kills Miss Calendar
8. Joyce's death
7. Willow meets Vampire Willow (Dopplegangland)
6. Hush
5. Angel loses his soul
4. Buffy's deaths (yes, both)
3. Once More With Feeling
2. Buffy gets her class protector award at the prom
1. Buffy kills Angel
Wolfram J. Paulovich
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#4 Posted on 21.5.03 0343.06
Reposted on: 21.5.10 0346.55

    Originally posted by CRZ
    Did you REALLY have to start two separate threads?


People often start threads that say, "Is HHH Holding Flair Down?" and "Is Flair Over?" and their similarities are ignored in favor of earnest posting.

In that case, though the threads explore virtually the same topic, people, conditions and aims, the trend is permitted.

Though these two Buffy threads have the same base topic (Buffy, instead of "WWE Wrestling"), they address vastly different aspects: one, a profile of one performer and character; the other, the creator (akin to Vince) commenting on the history and meaning of his creation.

If one were to apply the rationale used in the wrestling forum, not only are these two threads fundamentally different from one another, they also must be presented in different threads.

So, yes, I did need to start two different threads.

But I really don't care that much. I just hoped that wieners interested in this stuff would be able to see something new or different on this subject and have fun. And, hopefully, they will.
CRZ
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#5 Posted on 21.5.03 0549.55
Reposted on: 21.5.10 0551.48
Jeb, I wouldn't exactly point to the WRESTLING forum and say that's the way I like message boards to work. Let me put it this way: TOO MUCH BUFFY AND ANGEL IN RANDOM FORUM GRRRRRR GO FIND FANBOARD
Wolfram J. Paulovich
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#6 Posted on 21.5.03 1305.38
Reposted on: 21.5.10 1309.24
Well, I wouldn't, either. But I had to give it a shot. Point taken.
kazhayashi81
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#7 Posted on 21.5.03 1408.34
Reposted on: 21.5.10 1408.56

    Originally posted by CRZ
    Jeb, I wouldn't exactly point to the WRESTLING forum and say that's the way I like message boards to work. Let me put it this way: TOO MUCH BUFFY AND ANGEL IN RANDOM FORUM GRRRRRR GO FIND FANBOARD


The only thing you find on those is 50 "SPIKE IS HOT!" threads.
Nate The Snake
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#8 Posted on 21.5.03 2008.37
Reposted on: 21.5.10 2012.36
I think we're all missing the most important thing, here.

Spike is forty years old.

Forty. Years. Old.

I look older than that sunofabitch, and he's got ten years on me, dammit.
EddieBurkett
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#9 Posted on 22.5.03 0214.24
Reposted on: 22.5.10 0217.35

    Originally posted by CRZ
    Jeb, I wouldn't exactly point to the WRESTLING forum and say that's the way I like message boards to work. Let me put it this way: TOO MUCH BUFFY AND ANGEL IN RANDOM FORUM GRRRRRR GO FIND FANBOARD


When the board went down the second time, and you put up the disclaimer that the it might not be back until June, the thought crossed my mind that this was a deliberate attempt to force us Buffy marks to find somewhere else to discuss the series finale, (Of course, the thought also crossed my mind that it was interesting the board was down as the Kings were eliminated...) but then it came back and everything was good.

And Kaz is right. The level of Buffy discussion here is as good as if not better than any Buffy-specific site, given the lack of 'shipper talk and "so-and-so is hot!" posts. I have a Buffy message board that I check regularly, and there's a reason why I keep posting my comments here and not there. One might think that fostering a respected level of discussion on their message board would be something to be proud of, but since our comments are regarded as we regard the "Spike is HOT!!!!" comments, I suppose its all a matter of perspective.

At the very least, rejoice that we're discussing the series finale. After this, we'll just have Angel for us to clutter the random folder with.
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