Buffy the Vampire Slayer will go down in history as a ground-breaking show. But its spin-off, Angel, was also an incredible TV series in its own right. Now, 20 years after it premiered, the cast of Angel came together to discuss their time on the show with Entertainment Weekly. Here’s what we learned from the reunion.
David Boreanaz on getting the spin-off news
The day that Boreanaz got the news that he was going to lead a spinoff was a memorable one for him. “I was at home living in North Hollywood and I got a phone call that Joss [Whedon] wanted to talk to me. And the only thing he said was, ‘I want you to come into my office tomorrow.’” Boreanaz thought the worst, “I’m fired, I’m in trouble,” but Whedon reassured him.
However, the next day, he was more preoccupied with shooting the Buffytwo-part Season 2 finale, “Becoming.” “I got into work and we were doing a flashback so it was Angelus…and I was working this Irish accent that was horrible,” he said to laughs. After that, he had lunch with Whedon, still in hair and makeup. “I remember that I just wanted to get back to work.”
Charisma Carpenter on her character’s journey
All of the characters had “redemptive” arcs if you will on Angel, but Cordelia’s is one of the most referenced. The snobby, popular cheerleader on Buffy began to show more of her true nature on the original series, but it wasn’t until Angel that she truly came into her own and found what she loved to do: Work with Angel and the gang.
“She changed so much,” said Carpenter. “When you bring a character like Cordelia — a big, bright smile — to this dark [world], it provides a contrast that makes it interesting.” The friendship between Cordelia and Angel became an important part of the show. “That was the greatest story for me, and probably one of the leading reasons why she grew to be deeper and more complex,” added Carpenter.
J. August Richards on being the new guy
Charles Gunn comes in towards the end of the first season. He was played by Richards, who was then brand-new on the scene. “I was so nervous to start this job because it was my first [as a] series regular.” Richards, continued, “I was a young actor and I really wanted to be on a show on the WB. I knew of the show, and it had such a reverence out there in the world.”
But it wasn’t an easy role to get into. “[Gunn] was supposed to be sort of like a street, ghetto youth and I felt like the furthest thing from that,” said Richards. “So when I got the material…I called my manager and I was like, ‘I don’t know what to do with this character.’” Fortunately, he was able to discover Gunn’s true intentions, which earned him the role.
Amy Acker learns what her cast members really thought of her
Acker played two characters: scientist Fred Burkle, and then goddess Illyria, who takes over Fred’s body. “I had just moved to LA. I had only been there about a month, and I got this audition. Acker continued, “I was only supposed to do like three episodes. And then in the midst of that, they decided they were going to add another girl to the show.”
Her co-stars chimed in when discussing her characters. “She was such a strong force to the cast because there’s a sense of vulnerability to her character,” said Boreanaz. “I remember thinking there was no way you were going to be able to play Illyria because you’re such a nice person,” said James Marsters (Spike) to Acker. “And then we shot together. I was like, ‘Oh my god, you’re terrifying.’”