2 Joss Whedon Writing Secrets, Revealed by BUFFY’s “Spike”

An actor’s eye view of a legendary writer-showrunner. For that alone, we here at TVWriter™ find this insider type article fascinating:

James Marsters

by Doug Elfman

James Marsters, who played Spike on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel,” has still got it. Recently, I saw an online photo of a woman at a fan expo holding her underwear which read, “Marsters can Spike Nicole.”

Marsters is in Las Vegas this week for the WizardWorld.com convention ($75-$85), which also features David Morrissey, Emily Kinney, Seth Gilliam and Steven Yeun from “The Walking Dead,” Tom Mison from “Sleepy Hollow,” Robert “Freddy Krueger” Englund, Lou Ferrigno, Kevin Sorbo, Elvira, RJ Mitte from “Breaking Bad” (he’s also DJing Saturday at Chateau), and a ton of other actors, composers, and animators.

When I got Marsters on the phone to ask about this lady’s underwear, he laughed, like he couldn’t believe he was still a sex symbol. Then he put down his game controller (he was playing “Far Cry 4”), and I confessed my super fandom.

“Buffy” was my all-time favorite show, and Marsters is one of my all-time favorite TV actors. (He was terrific on “Torchwood.”)

Marsters told me two things that blew my mind.

First: Marsters played Spike as a three-dimensional vampire with a soul from the beginning of the series, against “Buffy” creator Joss Whedon’s desire for Spike and other vampires to be soulless not seductive.

“I’ve never told Joss the truth,” Marsters said. “For Joss, evil is not cool. Evil is not three-dimensional. You’re not supposed to feel bad for evil people. For Joss, vampires are metaphors for the things you get over in adolescence.”

In other words, vampires represented the unjust in society, and the show wanted disillusioned people not to lose all hope.

Marsters had a family to support, so his hope was to stay on the show, and he made Spike as fully realized of a character as he could.

“I was poor, and I did not want to be killed off. I was of the opinion Joss could make me do whatever he wanted me to do, but how the audience reacted to me — that was up to me.”

Second: Here’s the secret to how Whedon, a genius, got the best out of his great script writers:

Read it all at the Review Journal