Alyssa Pack wrote for Bleeing Cool from Wizard World Portland.
James Marsters is best known for his role as Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the spinoff Angel, but appearances on Smallville, Caprica, a great episode of Metal Hurlant, the voice who does the Dresden Files, and other performances have cemented his acting as a fan favorite. Getting a chance to speak and meet fans in Portland at Wizard World he was happy to answer questions about Buffy, voice acting, and whether he would be doing more writing.
Question: What got you into playing video games and what do you play right now?
James Marsters: “I’ve like video games ever since my dad bought me pong. Then I went through a string of poverty and couldn’t afford video games. I remember convincing my wife into investing in the new Nintendo system when Super Mario came out and we could only afford that game. Chicago winters were horrible so I spent all of my time with Mario. Then I really didn’t game that much until my son was old enough to play with me. Then he grew out of it so now I have to play by myself. Right now I love to play Resogun on PS4 and I just scored 350 million on it!”
Question: Did you like acting in Buffy or Angel more?
James Marsters: “Honestly I think acting in Buffy was more painful because when you love someone it hurts. When I got to go over to Angel I just got to be a headache to Angel and ruin his day and that was really fun.”
Question: How do you feel being on TV?
James Marsters: “It’s weird! Most of my life I was acting on stage and when stage is over you never get to watch it. Watching myself on television is hard because I critique myself and know where I messed up.”
Question: How is it seeing a second generation watching this show for the first time now?
James Marsters: “When we were filming Buffy I was constantly telling people that if we do this show right, it could go multigenerational. If a show is delightful enough it can catch on to more than one generation, that’s pretty amazing.”
Question: How was kissing Buffy?
James Marsters: “Stage kissing for a camera is way different than kissing in real life. It’s kind of dicey kissing on camera because it has to be so technical to get the right shot. It’s so easy to corrupt the shot and I used to be horrible at it. The first time I kissed Buffy it took 14 takes because I kept messing up the shot. It’s just awkward because it’s nothing like kissing in real life.”
Question: Which was your favorite jacket Spike wore?
James Marsters: “I think that the black jacket probably looked cooler but it was useless. In the summer time it was a sweat box and in the winter time it did nothing. They would give the rest of the cast big puffy coats and I never got one because I had a jacket. I would be freezing the whole time we were filming though. The captain john wool coat protected me very well so I preferred that one. The Buffy coat went through wars because there was only one of them for 6 years. In the beginning I used to give it to Sarah to be a gentleman but after all the sweating and fake blood it got really gross.
Question: Was it hard to sing with a British accent?
James Marsters: “No. The truth is as far as Pop and Rock is concerned, British people are trying to sound American. I don’t really know how British I sounded but I really didn’t worry about it too much.”
Question: How did you get into voice acting?
James Marsters: “It started with Jim Butcher and The Dresden Files. For reasons that I am still mystified by they asked Jim who they wanted to read his books and he said James Marsters. I’m not really sure how well that first book was but I tried. I really believe I got marginally better at it as the years went by and now we are on book twelve. I think I got known for that and then I started getting called for video game and cartoon voices.”
Question: What was your favorite Season of Buffy?
James Marsters: “That’s a complicated question because they are all so different. The most fun I had was the second season when Spike was introduced. Frankly, when you play a pathological murderer who enjoys ripping people apart you don’t have to feel bad about anything or have a
Question: Is Ghost of the Robot performing in Portland?
James Marsters: “No. We want to but the Portland Convention Center is completely booked and we haven’t been able to find another place to perform.”
Question: Will you be writing another book?
James Marsters: “I would love to write another one. David Fury and I have talked about doing another one together however, our schedules are so busy right now and it hasn’t worked out yet. Into the Light was really easy to write because it was originally a pitch for a Spike television movie. I told Joss that we should do a movie that would be cheap to film and the main things I had to consider for Spike was that I had to have a goal for him that showed what a badass he was but didn’t involve him stealing or killing. So the idea to have him trying to get these boots without working for them but also not stealing them and still kicking demon ass kind of all came together. In the television movie the girl was supposed to be based on my wife which I loved the idea of her being a part of the Buffy universe. So it would have been really cheap to shoot and when we decided to make it a book it was really easy to write and set up as a graphic novel. When Dark Horse gave me ideas for the cover they wanted to know if I wanted a classic Spike pose where I would look cool and the girl would be in the picture and so would the monster. What I wanted was a picture of Spike fighting the monster to create a dynamic embrace.”
Question: Do you like the fact that the main female character has been incorporated into Season 10 of Buffy?
James Marsters: “Oh yeah, that was always the plan.”
During the Question and Answer, James Marsters was asked about one of the songs he’s performed with his band Ghost of the Robot. He answered the question and then began to sing the song along but was quickly joined on stage by his band mates in Ghost of the Robot, Sullivan Marsters and Charlie De Mars. They performed “The Cowboy Song” live on stage for the audience.