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Feature: Angel (Alexis Denisof)

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Angel star Alexis DenisofStarting out as Giles's replacement in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Wesley Wyndam-Price now watches the streets of LA in Angel. Paul Spragg gets up-close and personal to co-star Alexis Denisof...

Also in this issue: The Sunnydale Agony Column – see what sob-stories the Buffy and Angel characters have been writing to a certain green-skinned club Host...

Way back in season three of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, there began the reign of terror of Giles's replacement as Watcher: Wesley Wyndam-Price. Well, okay, so it was more a reign of uselessness and running away, but let's not get bogged down here... The person flawlessly portraying this pompous Englishman is actually Canadian actor Alexis Denisof.

After being sacked in his turn, Wesley re-appeared some months later in LA, inveigling himself into Angel Investigations as a rogue demon hunter. Denisof had a problem to face, however. He was joining spin-off show Angel one episode after the death of Doyle, a character that had become popular quickly with fans. Was this a tough act to follow?

"Yeah, there was definitely a mixed response," considers the actor. "I consider that a challenge, to be perfectly honest. I was delighted because I knew what Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt [Angel's co-creators] had in store for Wesley. I knew they were going to take a good long time and really evolve the character, I knew the ideas that I had that I wanted to bring in. Then to do that in the face of adversity just makes it all the more tasty.

"It's nice to surprise people and to show them that a book isn't necessarily its cover, and that's what I think Wesley is all about. He has hidden depths and complexities that have been discovered consistently throughout the years of the show. And each season it just gets better and better, I think, for that character."

In the beginning, Wesley was very different to the man we see today. Things changed dramatically towards the end of Angel season one when rogue slayer Faith reappeared with some old scores to settle. The episode showed that within him Wesley really did have courage and toughness to spare. Denisof explains that he didn't have to push to have Wesley toughened up.

"That was really what Joss and David wanted to move towards anyway. I mean, once he was taken out of Sunnydale and was gonna be added to Angel as a regular, we all knew that we had to refit the character so it could be somebody people would want to be with on a regular basis. Prior to that, the idea of him was to turn up and either be funny, be annoying or advance the plot and then go away.

"But now the responsibility's different. Making him tougher was inevitable because he would have to be tougher to survive in the world in which they live. Also, the guy that goes off and studies with the Council of Watchers to work with a vampire slayer must have some grain of toughness in him, if that's his ambition. It's been a real pleasure to reveal the unique toughness that Wesley has..."

by Paul Spragg

Get up-todate with Denisof's thoughts on Angel season three in the full five-page photo feature when you buy Xposé #65

Images © The WB / 20th Century Fox TV
Feature © Visual Imagination 2002. Not for reproduction

Excerpts taken from
Xpose #65, see below for ordering options
Xposé #65
March 2002
ships from Feb 08

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