James Marsters Dishes About 'Smallville,' Spike and More
Nov. 8 – James Marsters is no stranger to TV shows with fantastic elements. He did play a bleach blonde vampire for nearly seven years on 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and 'Angel', so he should feel right at home in Smallville, Kan.
A revitalized 'Smallville' is now in it's fifth season on the WB, and Marsters joined the cast this year as classic DC Comic villain Milton Fine, aka Brainiac.
Marsters chatted exclusively with AOL Television editor Sean Doorly about his new character, his old character Spike, spreading the love and the benefits of working in television.
So who is Brainiac?
Brainiac is a murderous robot that disguises itself as college professor. My character is trying to wake Clark up. Like many political science professors, I'm trying to open my students' minds.
What drew you to this role initially?
It was so refreshing that people behind 'Smallville' were still so excited about the idea of Superman before he was Superman. A problem with Superman is how do you make him vulnerable? The answer is you take the character before he was Superman when he was young. Then he is vulnerable because he hasn't figured anything out yet.
How is Brainiac different from Spike and how is he similar?
So much of Spike I don't remember. We shot 16-hour days, but the way it feels internally Brainiac is not similar at all. Spike was really a loner. He was very emotional and passionate and not that rooted in his intellect. This guy has no guilt, no remorse at all. Just "Am I getting what I want?" Brainiac is in his brain. He is an intellectual.
You had a slow roll-out for your character. What was that like?
They always do that. It's easier for me because there's not much to film. (Laughs) I filmed four episodes so far and I have six left. I can't say much about what is coming up, but I can say that I will be transformed.
So, do you love playing Brainiac?
Yes, I really do. I love pretending to love. It's great playing a robot that is pretending to care. Even when you are playing a villain, you can play him much better if you can show his love.
Were you a comic book reader when you were young?
Totally. I was a big comic book fan.
So when they approached you about this role, you were familiar with Brainiac?
Yeah totally, but I said, "I'm not going to be green and wear a pink jumpsuit." He is a robot with a maniacal smile, which always freaked me out. That is not a normal robot.
Did you have to do much research for the part?
Not much, because in the comic books the back story on Brainiac is only a few panels.
What makes Brainiac tick? What makes him who he is?
He gets what he wants -- complete intention. He has a plan to get rid of all humans who are destroying this beautiful planet. It has gone beyond pest control. They are ruining the atmosphere and the topsoil.
What makes James Marsters tick?
Love and music. It's all about love and spreading love.
Which do you prefer, television or theater?
In television, when the writing is good and the acting is good enough not to mess up the writing and the special effects come off well, the product is so nice and shiny. It's also really nice to be paid well enough to have medical insurance. In theater, you are more in control. You are the show and the product is the audience.
What are your upcoming projects?
I'm going to London to do a small version of 'Macbeth.' Then I'm coming back and shooting a thriller.
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