Good or Bad Angel?

We meet a man who needs little introduction to Shivers readers, David Boreanaz, the star of Angel

A Shivers feature by David Richardson

  David Boreanaz portrait  Sue Schneider, Moonglow Photos
  Selected from Shivers #77

Also in our Buffy bonanza this issue:

  • "I've heard a lot of suggestions from people about how Angel could have sex". Joss Whedon – The creator of Buffy and Angel (see also Shivers #76)
  • "There's nobody I know that's like the Mayor"Harry Groener on playing the wicked mayor of Sunnydale
  • "They were looking for someone who thinks he is Pierce Brosnan but is actually George Lazenby". Which regular is Anthony Stewart Head describing?
  • "I have fans whose finest pleasure is to berate me for killing characters that they love" Christopher Golden, the author behind many successful Buffy tie-ins and novelisations
  • Plus Nicholas Brendon in Piñata, previewed by the film's directors

Joss Whedon has said that he always knew, right from the first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, that the character of Angel deserved his own show. For David Boreanaz, the past year has been a time of change, as he bid farewell to the series that made him a star, and established himself as a leading man in the WB’s ratings hit Angel.

Boreanaz is blessed with playing one of the most complex characters on television. After all, Angel is immortal, thrives on blood, is cursed with remorse and cannot enjoy a full sexual relationship without losing his soul. “What is interesting about this character is that he is able to diversify himself,” Boreanaz defines. “He is a man of many traits as he has been around for 245 years. He has a lot of depth: he is not like this vampire with a cape running around and biting people’s necks. He’s got personality and I’m trying to show that. There is a wit and sarcasm in his character, plus the vulnerability that we played a lot in Buffy.”

With Angel now well past the half-way mark for its first year, it seems fitting to ask Boreanaz to compare the series to its parent show. How has it distinguished itself? “The biggest thing is the city itself,” he defines. “It takes place in Los Angeles and he meets such way out, very scary characters who are true to life. With Buffy there were more arcs to the stories and Angel’s part was more or less pining over Buffy, trying to be with her. Because the two of them have separated there is the chance for them to grow. Being in a city like Los Angeles he can spread his wings and see what’s out there. It’s a scary city.”

Despite some patchy episodes in the early half of the season (I Fall to Pieces, Rm W/A A Vu) the series now seems to have hit its stride with a run of excellent scripts. Boreanaz was especially pleased with the recently aired The Prodigal, which revisited Angel’s past. Re-using some clips from the Buffy two-parter Becoming, The Prodigal features flashbacks to Galway 1753, as we witness Angel’s youth, meet his abusive father and see his first encounter with the vampire Darla (Julie Benz).

“He was really fly-by-night,” says Boreanaz of Angel’s human equivalent, Liam. “He put himself in the position where he is today, because he wasn’t responsible. He is paying for that. “As far as the flashbacks are concerned, The Prodigal is the deepest one we’ve done to date. I think we have about six or seven flashbacks in that episode, showing why he’s become what he’s become and his relationship to his father before he was a vampire.

The Prodigal, and the even more recent Eternity both also gave Boreanaz a chance to reprise his earlier role of the vampire Angelus; in the former episode, we see the evil creature viciously killing many of the helpless Galway locals. “I enjoy that aspect,” he says of playing the baddie. “I’d love to go evil again. What I try to do is balance his evilness with his good side.” Given such success, Boreanaz claims that he would like to do more flashback shows. “I really want to go back to the Sixties,” he grins. “I want to go back to Woodstock, the tie-dyeing era… what was Angel really doing in New York City? I am still trying to convince Joss on that one!”

David Richardson

For the full version of this feature, as David Boreanaz discusses the intrusions of fame and his first Horror memories, get Shivers #77

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Photo © Sue Schneider, Moonglow Photos
Feature © Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction