Friday, 5 March 2010

James Marsters talks about Caprica

James Marsters talked to in recent days and also did a conference call yesterday to discuss his role in Caprica and a bunch of other things.

His first episode, "Know Thy Enemy," airs tomorrow and, from what he says (five episodes in total, the last one directed by Eric Stoltz), it seems that he will be appearing in all the remaining episodes in the first half of the season (Know Thy Enemy, The Imperfections of Memory, Ghosts in the Machine, End of Line) and the first one when the show returns (title and air date TBA).

Links and snippets below.

Al Norton: How did the role on Caprica come about?

James Marsters: This came about because of Jane (Espensen, executive producer of Caprica and former writer/executive producer of Buffy the Vampire Slayer); she really wanted me on the show and she let everyone know that I wouldn't let them down if they let me come on. She really fought for me and I would go anywhere in the world if she called but I'm really glad she called me to come up there.

Al Norton: Had you watched Battlestar Galactica at all during its run?

James Marsters: I've seen some episodes. I didn't see the whole thing but every time I saw it it was amazing. Much more about human interaction and the potential that we all have to hurt each other. It was like, "who's going to be evil this week?"

Al Norton: What Galactica and Buffy have in common is they were both shows where critics and fans tried to convince people, "don't be put off by the genre, it's really just about people."

James Marsters: Yes, exactly. It's nice that the actors are following. These are just good stories. The whole point of good writing and good directing is to get human beings in very intense circumstances. My favorite director is Martin Scorsese because he notches up the tension in his characters so high. That's one thing that fantasy and science fiction can do so well, put people in extraordinary circumstances and then the audience gets to sit back and watch how they deal with it.

Al Norton: Tell me about Barnabas and what drew you to him.

James Marsters: He is a lot like me. He's a revolutionary fighting for a more just world, at least one he believes in. He's at war with the world, like me (laughing). My thing is that my revolution is peaceful whereas he has decided otherwise. He is so thinking that he is right that he is going to battle for it and he's hurting people in the name of philosophy.

Al Norton: And you're on for at least four episodes?

James Marsters: Yes. They've left it open. I've completed one arc and I'm hoping they weren't just being friendly when they told me it was going well and they were thinking about having me back. They didn't promise anything, of course, but they told me they would definitely like to see my face again. We'll see. --

Since playing Spike, Marsters has played a series of mean, menacing guys, including his character Barnabus Greely, a diehard revolutionary on "Caprica," but he doesn't mind being typecast.

"I mean if I was playing Urkel, then I'd have a problem being typecast," he says. "But when you're typecast as the cool guy or the tough guy, or the potent character or the jerk who mixes things up, I think if you're going to get typecast, that's the one you'd want. I went in to audition for this 'Moonshot' [moon landing TV movie]. I love the Apollo program, I'm a science geek and stuff, so I was just so excited and would have taken any three roles, but the director's like, 'Oh no, I saw you in "Buffy" and I need you for Buzz Aldrin because he's the rock star.' -- Zap2It

We asked Marsters how he felt about playing a religious zealot, after years of playing bad boys, and he said:

I love anybody who has conviction enough to make mistakes, because only people who make mistakes get into enough trouble to be called drama... I feel like I understand why he's doing what he's doing: he's living in a time that is coming apart at the seams. In his world, people are committing mass sacrifice, and mass execution, and mass orgies, and people are shooting each other for fun. In Rome, it was the coliseum. In Caprica, it's the V-club. (...)

And Marsters says Caprica's portrayal of a society on the verge of collapse — whose residents don't know they're doomed to destruction within 50 years — is a clear parallel to our own reality. "Being that Caprica is scifi, you don't have to call it America. You can call it Caprica." You only have to watch Battlestar Galactica to know how screwed these people are. Meanwhile, in the here and now, you only have to listen to climatologists or experts on food supplies and clean water to know how precarious our situation is.

"In scifi and fantasy, we address those issues," Marsters says. "We just change the names."

Marsters says he's filmed five episodes of Caprica so far, culminating in episode nine or ten, and he's not sure whether his character will reappear in the first season. "They've left the door open" to bring his character back. --

- He says his favorite character on Caprica is Barnabas. His favorite actor is Eric Stoltz. James had a hard time not gushing in awe when in Eric's presence.

- Marsters says that Eric Stoltz directed the last episode Barnabas appears in. He says Eric was an awesome director, cracking just the right amount of jokes. He called Eric very brave and of having a 'free mind'.

- Regarding working with Caprica head writer Jane Espenson, James says, "I'm glad Jane worked with me on Buffy, because she fought to bring me on to Caprica". He also says that Jane is on the the top of the list of writers in Hollywood that he follows and enjoys working with.

- James is in five episodes this season. The writers have left the storyline open for Barnabas' return at a later date, although James hasn't heard anything about returning for a possible season two appearance. -- SpoilerTV

James on his character, Barnabus Greely:
James describes Barnabus as a religious warrior, a man who will do anything to change this corrupting world. And in trying to save the world, he is ‘not afraid to make mistakes;’ this James says with a heavy dose of admiration. When asked how he feels about playing such a zealous character, James says that he understands Barnabus’ motivation as he sees his world coming apart. In this fallen world, Barnabus is trying to save humanity and as such, he doesn’t fear going too far to do so. He will hurt and use people in order to make this right.

On Barnabus’ motivation:
Barnabus is driven by the loss of his father to the corruption of the surrounding world. Barnabus’ journey starts out very personal, as a quest to save his father and then expands to become very large in a quest to save the world in whole.

On Caprica and society:
Caprica reflects where we are in current society. James compares the world today to Rome and the rise of decadence. Before declining to get too morose, James admits that he finds the idea depressing.

Favorite episode of Caprica:
The episode the character is introduced in gives more for the actor to work with. James adds that the first episode is very intense for an actor because you don’t know what you’re doing well. -- Poptimal

SCI FI Wire has posted the preview clip from tomorrow's episode:

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