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Feature: Angel

Jolly Green Demon

Andy Hallett as himself and the demon Lorne

He’s got his finger on the pulse of Hollywood as well as the evil underworld. Andy Hallett talks to us about playing Angel’s resident psychic demon, Lorne.

It is often asserted that the eyes are the windows of the soul. However, for Angel’s Lorne, the vocal cords are what truly give you an insight into a person. The green-skinned, red-horned demon is able to read people’s auras while they sing. Then, much like a demon therapist, he can advise and guide him or her towards their destined path.

In recent years, Lorne has put his talents to good use as one of the demon-fighting team of Angel Investigations. The man behind his green tinge is the talented actor and singer Andy Hallett. A native of the small Cape Cod town of Osterville, Massachusetts, the gregarious Hallett used to be – believe it or not – shy. That all changed the day Patti LaBelle invited him up onstage to sing during a concert in Boston. This gave him the courage to pursue a career in professional entertainment. Hallett eventually moved to Los Angeles where he worked at various jobs before getting his big break on Angel.

“I actually went to Barnstable High School with Joss Whedon’s [Angel creator and executive producer] sister-in-law Dawn,” notes Hallett. “We were really good friends in school and she later moved to Los Angeles. Not long after I got out there I gave her a call. The two of us started hanging out again and were having such a good time that we eventually decided to share an apartment. It was though Dawn that I got to know Joss.”

And so it was that Hallett ended up taking Joss Whedon and some of the Buffy writers to the most scandalous karaoke bar in Hollywood.

“It wasn’t your typical karaoke bar where some sloshed old geezer is in the background singing New York, New York,” he chuckles. “This place was filled with people from all walks of life and if you sang you were the live entertainment. We went there every Friday for at least two years and it became a bit of a tradition with us. On this one particular night I was up onstage singing and all this outrageous stuff was going on around me. I’m not sure but I think this may have inspired Joss because months later he said to me, “I’ve got this idea for a karaoke-singing demon on Angel and I’d like you to read for the part.”

After two or three auditions, Hallett beat out the competition and won the role. Originally named The Host, his character starts out as the owner of Caritas, a demon/Human karaoke bar and sanctuary. He makes his début in the second season Angel episode Judgment. In it, Angel (David Boreanaz) mistakenly slays a demon who was protecting an innocent girl. Lorne is the only one who can help the Vampire deal with his guilt, but before he can do so Angel must first perform a little karaoke. Although it was Hallett’s first time playing The Host, he immediately felt at home in the role.

by Steven Eramo

Get the full interview, plus creator Joss Whedon on the series' 100th episode, when you buy
TV Zone #173

Photo © Warner Bros
Feature © Visual Imagination 2004. Not for reproduction

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TV Zone #173
March 2004
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