IGN Sci-Fi (2001)
Angel’s Amy Acker talks next season, romance and Gatorade.
Amy Acker, the beguiling young actress behind the geeky-quirky cool of Angel’s new addition Fred (short for Winifred), is pushing for one particular quality to enhance her character next season.
“I’m trying to get her to have some superpowers!” Amy laughs. “I was just joking with Joss [Whedon], and I think I said it would be nice if she could fly. But I don’t think it’s going to happen.”
Never say never. After all, the bookish, resourceful Fred was stranded in the strange world of Pylea for years, a human slave clad in dirty burlap rags among bright green, Klingon-esque demons, only to be rescued by Angel at the end of last season. Amy herself is no slouch — as part of her acting major at Southern Methodist University, she was trained in weapons and certified in combat. So in real life, she could pretty much kick Mr. Tough Guy Angel’s vampire ass, right?
“We-eeellll… I don’t know about that,” Amy laughs. “Maybe I could if there was good choreography. If it was just me and Angel one-on-one, he probably would take me.”
In addition to her weapons training, Amy did theater and a couple of indie flicks before moving from New York to Los Angeles at the end of last year. She also starred in the movie Groom Lake, which was written and directed by none other than Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner.
Now that she’s on a big-time TV show, and now that Fred is back from Pylea and will be a crucial component of the Angel posse next year, Amy couldn’t be more thrilled. When I chat with her, the Angel gang is just about to reconvene for season three rehearsals. “We’re about to find out what’s going to happen — I’m just excited to see it,” she exclaims. “It’s strange. At the end of last season, they had all just finished 22 episodes and I had just started. I was like, ‘Why do we have to stop? You don’t need summer!'”
You can definitely detect a bit of Fred’s off-kilter charm in the disarming way Amy describes things, giggling slightly when she realizes that, say, she already has legions of fans writing “Fred is Hot” type manifestos. It calls forth that hilarious scene wherein Fred divulges her love of tacos to Angel — all things said, perhaps that loopy charm is Fred’s superpower.
Kicking back before starting in on the show’s grueling shooting schedule, the woman behind Fred’s mud-caked visage chats breezily via phone about all things Angel.
IGN Sci-Fi: Since this is one of your first interviews, we’ll start with an easy question: are you excited to wear something other than dirty rags next season?
Amy: Definitely. [Laughs] Of course, I don’t know if that’s even a possibility. [At the end of last season], they still kept me in the burlap. I’m hoping for something a little more stylish, but I have a feeling I’m still going to have style from five years ago, when I was [in LA] last. I think I’m gonna be the nerdy one!
IGN Sci-Fi: Is there anything you’d like to see in Fred’s style?
Amy: I think that fashion is not really her big concern. I want to make sure that she can still move a lot and have some of the same physicalities that she had in the other world [Pylea]. So I guess just clothes that allow that.
IGN Sci-Fi: And overall, how do you think Fred will fit into the Angel gang? Is she Research Girl, or is she gonna spend all her time cooking them tree bark enchiladas?
Amy: I think she’s going to end up doing research, because she likes books and math. [She’ll be] helping out Alexis [Denisof] a lot. They have some similar qualities. But I think it’s going to take a while for her to get adjusted enough that she can find her place there.
IGN Sci-Fi: She’s gotta go have some tacos first!
Amy: Exactly! [Laughs] And a bath.
IGN Sci-Fi: There seem to be some sparks between Fred and Angel (David Boreanaz). How do you think their relationship will develop?
Amy: Well, I think Fred definitely sees Angel as her savior, and she has a little crush on him. I’m not sure how Angel’s going to be with everything that happened at the end of the season with Buffy [Spoiler, if you haven’t seen the episode: Buffy kicked the bucket]. I don’t know that he’s looking for a relationship. I think she might be more interested than he is!
IGN Sci-Fi: What about the dynamic between Fred and Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter)? How do you think that’s going to work?
Amy: I didn’t get to have too many scenes with her last season. I have a feeling she’s going to be helping me out, probably [as] the motherly kind of girl who knows what I should wear and knows how to act and has very strong opinions on how to do all sorts of things. Hopefully, she’ll give me a little guidance.
IGN Sci-Fi: Now some people have compared this character to Willow on Buffy — the cute geek girl. Do you see her that way?
Amy: Oh, yeah. I think she has a bunch of the qualities that Willow has, and I try to make it so that Cordelia is the one who obviously comes off as being very sexy and really feminine. So I think [Fred] has a lot of those qualities, but maybe a little more crazy than Willow, just because of circumstance.
IGN Sci-Fi: Being stranded in a demon world will do that to you. Backtracking a little bit, how was your audition? Was it just a regular ol’ thing?
Amy: It was an audition from my agency, and the character has changed a lot from the audition. First of all, her name was Logan in the audition, and she was working in the library and it was a scene with her and Wesley. She was reading books and had kind of a little bit of the thing where she changes the subject real fast. But none of the history of being in the other dimension was developed at that point. It changed a lot, and who knows, maybe that’s how she’ll be after she starts to re-adjust.
IGN Sci-Fi: That’s another thing — I mean, living so many years in Pylea, Fred is kind of, well, nuts. What kinds of problems is she going to have fitting back into the real world?
Amy: That’s where a lot of the humor’s going to come in with me, trying to figure out how to deal with whatever problems you come up against, being out [in the world]. I mean, Los Angeles is an interesting place as it is, even if you haven’t been away for five years. And they’re going to be fighting demons and I’ll witness that, and [we’ll see] how that affects my transition back.
IGN Sci-Fi: It’s kind of a crazy way to be put back in the real world: in LA, fighting demons.
Amy: It’s still not quite the real world! [Laughs]
IGN Sci-Fi: I suppose not! Now as you know, another element of the show is that everyone sings at the demon karaoke bar. Do you think Fred has any serenades planned?
Amy: I don’t know! I didn’t really [know about] that angle. At this point, I’m sure I would sing a song for Angel, either a sweet song or some total rock song. I just imagine that she has this whole other kind of life that she’s lost.
IGN Sci-Fi: So maybe she can come up with a nice power ballad or something…
Amy: Totally, some ’80s glam rock. [Laughs]
IGN Sci-Fi: That’s the secret side of Fred — she’s a full-on glam rocker.
Amy: Maybe! [Laughs] I haven’t run that by Joss yet.
IGN Sci-Fi: Now Fred was stranded for years in Pylea, and had to make do with things she could find… If you were stranded somewhere, what are the three essential things you’d like to have with you?
Amy: I would like to have a journal, something to write on. I’d like to have a book… I have a bunch of favorite books, so that would be a hard decision. I guess I couldn’t have any movies, cause then I’d have to bring a TV. [Laughs] Probably…an endless supply of, like, Gatorade.
IGN Sci-Fi: You like Gatorade?
Amy: I do! [Laughs] Ever since I was a child. Just the original flavor — I’m a fan.
IGN Sci-Fi: That’s the green one, right?
Amy: Well, I call it green. Everyone else says that it’s yellow.
IGN Sci-Fi: Nah, it’s definitely green. And on the survival tip, with all the skills she’s built up, Fred would be the ultimate Survivor contestant. Do you think she’d walk away with all the money?
Amy: Well, I don’t know. Some of those people were so mean. Like, they have to do stuff to get other people out, so, I don’t know that she has that in her. Then again, she’s kind of a loner, so maybe she wouldn’t even be aware of all that. I think she would definitely be a finalist.
IGN Sci-Fi: She just wouldn’t be forming any evil alliances to vote people off.
Amy: No, I think she would rather be by herself. Unless Angel was a contestant!
–Sarah Kuhn is partial to the Gatorade flavor Alpine Snow.