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James Marsters on 'Buffy,' a Violent Altercation with Joss Whedon, and John Barrowman's Penis

By Dustin Rowles | Celebrity | September 24, 2021 |

By Dustin Rowles | Celebrity | September 24, 2021 |


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James Marsters, best known for playing Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, appeared recently on the Michael Rosenbaum podcast, Inside of You. It’s a must-listen if you’re a fan of Buffy, because over half the show is devoted to his time in that universe.

For instance, he blames himself for Charisma Carpenter’s exit from Angel in the fifth season. He claims that Whedon convinced the network to pick up an additional season of the spin-off by moving Spike over to Angel. Marsters, however, refused to take a pay cut from his salary on Buffy and, he says, it meant having to cut Charisma Carpenter’s character in order to get in under budget. (Carpenter previously implied her pregnancy also played a part in her “unceremonious firing.”)

Marsters also said that he wasn’t in a particularly good place during his years on the two series because he was a “method actor,” which meant living in Spike’s dark world the entire time he was on the series. Sounds gloomy.

He also said that he didn’t work with Joss Whedon that often after the second season because, by the time he was made a series regular on Buffy, Whedon had moved to Angel, and by the time he’d moved to Angel, Whedon had moved on to Firefly. Moreover, he said, the episodes that Whedon chose to direct rarely included much of Spike because Spike was not in Whedon’s original vision of the series. In fact, Marsters said, Whedon was incredibly unhappy that Marsters’ character had gotten so popular that Whedon couldn’t kill him off, as he had originally planned. It led to an altercation between Whedon and Marsters that he’s detailed before.

“In Joss’s world, evil is not cool,” Marsters said. “I was supposed to come in and get killed off, but the audience reacted to me in a way that was going to make it very difficult to kill me off … I was basically ruining his show.’

“It changed the show from one about a teenager overcoming adolescence,” Marsters said, “to a show where those problems are kind of sexy. I was killing people all of the time. I was shredding them, and the audience wanted more of that. And Joss thought, ‘The point is overcoming the evil!’”

Whedon “got frustrated and pushed me against a wall. He said, ‘I don’t care how popular you are, kid. You are dead. You are dead. You are dead, you got me?”

Marsters added he thought of Whedon as a “mad wizard,” someone capable of creating magic but also, “Don’t piss off Gandalf, because he might snap and tell you exactly what he’s thinking.”

Later in the interview, Marsters spoke about working with John Barrowman, who apologized earlier this year for regularly exposing his penis on the sets of Doctor Who and Torchwood.

“This is my experience,” Marsters said, adding that he couldn’t speak for anyone else’s experiences. “What I experienced was a man who was so sweet, and so supportive, and so loving and so giving that nothing about his behavior — and I’ve seen his penis — made anyone feel uncomfortable. Nothing. His behavior,” Marsters added, “was inadvisable and it could be taken wrong by some people. We all live in the decade we live in, and we all learn from each other, and we are all each others’ mirrors,” he continued, quoting Sartre. “We judge what’s acceptable by what other people are doing and we learn from that.”

Marsters, however, added that in this decade, he’s thankful for all the rules surrounding sexual harassment because it allows everyone to be comfortable together, and “there won’t be any more drama.”

Source: Inside of You

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.



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