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Feature: Angel on DVD
To Live and Die in LA
Angel and Buffy The Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon talks vampires, DVDs and babies...
Joss Whedon has a lot on his plate. He’s back working on Angel. He’s overseeing the explosive endgame of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. His last series Firefly failed to ignite viewer interest – not surprising considering its lousy timeslot and lack of fanfare.
From the start, Angel was a huge risk for everyone involved. In addition to doubling his workload, Whedon was transplanting two of Buffy’s key players, Angel and Cordelia, from Sunnydale to Los Angeles. Whedon gambled that a) Buffy could survive the loss and b) the brooding vamp and the bitchy cheerleader could stand alone without Slayer support.
Somewhere along the line it worked. Setting up Angel as a ghost-buster of sorts with Cordelia as his assistant was a heavenly hell-match. After some fine tuning of the show’s appearance and cast, Angel, now in its fourth season, finds its way to DVD store shelves with the release of season one in the US and season three in the UK. And both releases are laden with extras to keep fans delighted.
“I like to do voiceovers for particular episodes,” says Whedon who with his high fan profile is one of Hollywood’s few identifiable writer/producers.
“Dave Greenwalt [exec producer] and I did Commentary on the first episode together where we thought we’d be all funny and fascinating and we ended up being really nervous and bored. We were like, ‘Oh God, no one is going to listen’. But I think that about every Commentary. I am always like, ‘Oh jeez!’ but then I realize a lot of the time the stuff I am saying people don’t actually already know, so it’s not so terrible. But I’m not like funny and drunk like Trey Parker or anything. And, you know, it’s probably best that I don’t be.”
Perhaps the bonus that fans have been most eagerly awaiting is the Screen Tests for Amy Acker (who plays Fred) and Vincent Kartheiser (who plays Angel’s son Connor). The wait is soon over – they’re on the Season Three release.
“That is one of the things I was most excited about,” says Whedon enthusiastically. “Those scenes belong to me – I wrote them and used my actors. It was funny with Amy Acker. I saw her when she walked in the room and said ‘Please God let her be able to act.’ She acted really well. But sometimes what I see in the room doesn’t always translate to the screen, so that night I wrote a three-page scene and two days later we just put it on the schedule. I knew that J [August Richards, who plays Gunn], and Alexis [Denisof, aka Wesley] weren’t heavy on the schedule so I made it with the three of them to see if I liked her. Then the studio and the network called and said, ‘Show us the thing’. I said, ‘This isn’t supposed to be for everyone, it’s for me to see if she pops on screen’. So I sent it and her deal was done in a day, which has never happened before or since.”
by Steve Gidlow
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