Angel Magazine (US) – 2005
May/June 2005 (issue #9)
Almost a year after Angel’s cancellation, Angel Magazine thought it was about time we caught up with actress Amy Acker, who portrayed Fred for just over three seasons. Amy shares some special anecdotes, including falling off a horse on her first day, and her thoughts on the best Angel kisser…
So imagine how you would feel. You’ve just flown over to the U.K., spent an exhausting weekend making on-stage appearances at a special Angel convention, answered all manner of probing questions from inquisitive fans, and posed and smiled for about 1000 official convention photos. Oh, and you’re heavily pregnant. Well that’s just what Amy Acker has been through, as Angel Magazine sits down to talk to her after a long convention weekend, and yet she is still friendly, smiley and lively – exactly as you imagine the Fred actress would be in real life.
Somehow, this comes as no surprise, considering the fun atmosphere the Angel set must have had. It’s obvious that Amy has many fond memories of her three years working on the show, and she spends most of the interview smiling and chuckling. Her biggest laugh is saved for her memories of her first day working on the show – where she fell of a horse – an outtake which is featured on the Season Five DVD. “Oh yes, that was really me,” she chuckles. “I was on the horse with David [Boreanaz, Angel], whose girlfriend used to work on a rodeo, and he was saying that he thought it would be more believable if the horse was running, and I was like, ‘yeah, great!’ And so he runs up the hill, and I was afraid to hang on to him too tightly because I didn’t want him to think ‘this girl’s weird!’ So I went flying off and David tried to grab me and save me, but he just fell on top of me. I had a little bit of a bump on my head and my neck was really tight, but one of the stunt-guys offered to massage my neck. He turned out to be a chiropractor, and he snapped my neck back into place! I didn’t like that at all!”
Indeed, there were plenty of humorous incidents on the Angel set. “There was something funny going on pretty much every day,” Amy shares. “Pretty much any time Andy [Hallett, Lorne] was on set we had great fun! We would always make fun of him because he had certain things he would do – like he would do the double takes that Lorne does, then we would have this thing where we would see if we could get him to do a quadruple take! So we would always do little things, and he would always say little things that we would make fun of.” Poor Andy!
Another fun experience was Season Five’s “Life of the Party” episode, where Fred and Wes became inebriated, meaning Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof had to pretend to be totally drunk. Just how does one rehearse for something like that? “That was the funniest thing, because I was talking to Alexis and I was saying, ‘now are you going to be really drunk or just a little drunk?’, and he was like, ‘well I’m not going to do anything crazy…’, and we went to rehearse the first scene and he was all ‘hwuuuuurrrgh’ (makes drunk sound). I was like, ‘oh… so you’ve developed this whole character thing, so I should probably have done something other than pretend that I’m sleepy!’ So we sort of just played with that all day, and it just got progressively crazier as the day went on.”
There was just as much fun behind the cameras as in front – mainly in the form of practical jokes. “I think I was the victim of most of the practical jokes, although I would sometimes participate with the other guys. We did steal Andy’s video camera one day and went around and got all the cast and crew to talk about how horrible he was to work with and what a diva he was. He was looking all day for his camera and he went home and found all these people just saying ‘Andy’s such a bitch!'” Poor Andy, again!
Of course, things became a little more serious for Amy when she took over the very different role of Illyria. “I’m not sure if I had a preference between playing Fred or Illyria,” Amy says, after being asked to choose between the two. “Really, the combination of both of them make me like parts of each of them more. So when I was getting to play Illyria, it made me realise how nice it was to come to work and not have to put two hours’ worth of make-up on!
“With Fred,” Amy continues, “I got to experience a lot of emotion, especially with the scenes with Wesley towards the end. They were just two totally different things and it was nice to get to play both of them.”
But which character would she prefer to be in real life? “I think it would be a little tiring to be Illyria for the rest of my life,” Amy laughs. “She has a lot of issues that she has to work out!”
Playing Fred – and Illyria – have had their effects on Amy’s own life, too. “I feel like before I started playing Fred, I was a little shy – and not as weird (laughs). I guess being around these guys every day, who were always cracking jokes, and playing such a character for so long starts to take an effect… Like now I just ramble on forever about nothing (laughs).”
Of course, it wasn’t always light, comedy scenes with Fred – Amy had to deliver a lot of scientific lines too. “For some reason it was easier for me to do that,” she says. “I feel like when I had to say a long paragraph of just stuff that didn’t make sense, that’s easier for me because I was like, ‘Okay, I have to memorise all of this’. Then, every time I had a scene where I had just one word I would miss my line! If I had to do a whole thing of science talk, I could usually do it.”
Amy didn’t share all of Fred’s traits, however. Prepare yourselves for a shock, readers – she’s not a massive Dixie Chicks fan! “I probably wouldn’t recognise much of their stuff, I think I would maybe recognise one of their songs. Music-wise, I pretty much like everything. My husband has gotten me into music that I never would have thought I’d listen to. I was always like an indie-rock kind of person – I always liked Pavement and things like that.”
Picking out favourite Angel moments isn’t a problem for Amy. “The Pylea stuff was really fun because it was my first time on the show and it was my first job in L.A. And I really liked the episode that Joss directed where we went to the ballet [‘Waiting in the Wings’]. That episode actually came about because Joss was saying, ‘oh you did ballet’, and I was like, ‘yeah I did it for 14 years’. Of course, he didn’t ask me which years of my life that was. I hadn’t danced for seven years! But me and Alexis got to do a lovely ballet number. It’s probably better that it wasn’t in the show! (It’s on the Season Three DVD extras – Ed) Alexis was quite the natural ballet dancer. He was wearing a red g-string under his costume, and it turned into rather a comedy experience. It was fun!
“As for favourite Illyria moments,” continues Amy, “I liked beating up Spike so much. That was a lot of fun. That was the first time I ever got to really beat up one of the boys. I loved the Illyria stuff in the last episode with Wesley, switching back between Fred and Illyria.”
Speaking of that particular scene, Angel Magazine asks Amy which was the most difficult to perform – Fred’s death scene or Wes’? “Fred’s death scene was pretty much a day from 8am to 9pm with Joss, me and Alexis being locked in a room, pretty much starting crying at 8 o’clock until the end, so it was just a hard day. We were all like, ‘let’s go for a drink after work,’ but we were just so exhausted and had to go home. It was just a hard day. I didn’t think saying goodbye to Fred would be as difficult as it ended up being.
“We were lucky that Joss was directing that episode. We did the scene four or five times and the first take is good but Joss is really pushing you to the next level, so I think having him there was good. Luckily, there was a lot of waterproof make-up. Joss had been thinking of the times Buffy died and that she looked so beautiful and he wanted Fred to look sickly and pale, and for the blue to be coming through and for Fred to look unflattering. It seemed to work!
“With Wesley’s death scene,” Amy continues, “that was his final day of working on Angel so everyone was kind of in shock that we were cancelled and it was my last time to work with Alexis. So it was hard, but I guess that one lasted about two hours and the other one was 14 hours…”
Amy has only seen the final Angel episode once so far. “I think, eventually, I want to watch it again. I’ve just been really sad that we didn’t go back, even now. You just think about things from the first year and you think, ‘oh isn’t it sweet, we were doing this…’
Amy did, however, get to see her big episode – “A Hole In the World” – quite a few times, and one occasion in particular stands out. “Joss and Alexis and I went out to do the commentary for the DVD and we sat there for 20 minutes, and everyone was so sad that we didn’t even say anything! The guy in the booth was like, ‘erm shall I rewind it, because someone needs to talk on this thing…?’ We had to start over and do it again.”
Angel fans may have heard some Amy Acker rumours over the last few months, so Angel Magazine decides to put the record straight. One rumour had Amy linked with the sequel to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. “I don’t know where that came from,” she laughs. And there’s also been a Lois Lane rumour flying around. “Yeah, someone asked me about that the other day. They’re auditioning people right now, but I haven’t even got an audition. I would like to.”
And then there are some rumours that completely baffle the actress. “When I’d first gotten married,” Amy reveals. “I showed up at Paramount and my husband, James, drove me there. The guard was a big Angel fan and he said to me, ‘I thought you got married to Skip the Demon and you’re already cheating on him?’ So I guess there was some rumour that Skip the Demon and I got married, and I was like, ‘Okay…’ I never even met him out of make-up – I don’t know what he looks like!”
After an hour of reminiscing, it’s time to draw the interview to a close. Angel Magazine asks Amy if she has any special message for the readers and Angel fans. “I just thought it was amazing that everyone tried so hard to keep the show going, and that people were still watching it. We all wanted it to continue. It was such a fun thing for all of us,” she concludes, “and I’m glad that other people enjoyed it as much as we did.”
Amy chats about her guest stint as the Huntress on the Justice League Animated series
“I did three or four episodes of that. I think the people who run the show are very big Joss Whedon fans and there’s a bunch of Buffy and Angel and Firefly people involved with it. I had never done any animation work before and I was terrified, but I think they wanted an Illyria type of character so it was cool.
“What did the huntress get up to? Well, kind of a lot with the question. It’s a bizarre sort of love story. It’s been interesting, especially cos the guy who plays ‘the Question’ has two kids who are in high school, so it’s an interesting match!”
KISS AND TELL
Who’s the best kisser in the Angel cast? Amy reveals all – sort of…
“I got to kiss all of them. It was all so spread out, I don’t know that I remember who was the best. (Laughs) I seem to remember being nervous having to kiss all of the guys. I guess they were all good!”
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT!
Did Amy Acker get any hints from the Angel writers about the direction Season Six would have taken?
“I think it was gonna be a continuation of the finale, with us fighting all of these people on our own and going out against these evil Soprano mafia things – we’re trying to kill these people. I think it would have been really interesting. According to Joss, Illyria survived the finale.”
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