interview buffy the vampire slayer Taken from TV Zone #135

James MarstersBlonde Ambition

From dangerous killer to sweet puppy, we talk to James Marsters about his character’s change of heart…

Some James Marsters wallpaper for you

Also in this issue: latest reviews of Buffy and Angel


There’s something that James Marsters wants fans of Buffy The Vampire Slayer to know, and he doesn’t want there to be any doubt about it. “Many people think Spike is impotent,” the actor explains, “and we should clear that up right now. We should put it in the first paragraph of your article: he can have sex, but he can’t kill humans!” (Consider it done, James - Web Ed.)


Marsters is referring to that now-classic scene in mid-Season Four, in which Spike attempts to partake of a bit of liquid nourishment at the expense of Willow, only to discover that a brain implant devised by the Initiative prevents him from chowing down on human prey. The result is a hilarious ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ exchange between the, er, frustrated Spike and a very confused Willow.

If a casual viewer had just switched on the episode after the commercial break, “It would have sounded like a failed rape scene,” claims Marsters. "I went as far with the beginning of the scene, which was the beginning of the ‘rape,’ and was I remembering De Niro in Cape Fear [in which his character violently assaults a woman] and tried as much as I could to get to that.

“That was the scariest scene in the movie, and I still can’t get it out of my head. I really can’t watch rape scenes, but I thought the scarier the beginning of our scene was, the more people took it seriously and were really freaking out, the funnier it would be when we came back from commercial and I can’t get it up.”

That kind of humorous juxtaposition is one of the more enjoyable aspects of working on Buffy as far as this actor is concerned. “I liken it to the court jesters of a few hundred years ago, who were the only ones who could be honest with the king, as long as it was a joke. You could tell the king that he’s a fat idiot as long as you’re being funny, and I think Joss (Whedon) is able to talk about some issues in a more direct way than other shows that are more realistic.

Shakespearean Spike

But just how villainous can Spike continue to be when he’s still got that chip imbedded in his brain? Well, pretty nasty, as seen in Season Four’s The Yoko Factor, where he manages to turn the members of the Scooby Gang against each other simply with some well-chosen words. “It’s very Shakespearean, he says it right out in that scene, ‘This is what I’m going to do,’ and we watch him do it. That’s the thing, if Spike can’t cause physical pain, at least he can mentally torture people.”

Joe Nazzaro


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James Marsters talks more about Buffy's Spike in TV Zone #135

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