December 15, 2008
Back in October we had the chance to speak exclusively with Amy Acker, known best for playing the quirky yet lovable Fred in Angel about her past shows and her new role in Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse premiering on Fox this coming February.
How did you come to be in Angel?
That was a long time ago, after college I went to New York for a little bit and then I moved out here and I had only been here about a month and then I was having regular auditions, and one of these auditions happened to be for this character on Angel and I think at that point the characters name was like Logan or something and she was a librarian. I went in and did that scene and I got a call-back from Joss [Whedon] and luckily he liked me and they were trying to decide about adding another girl into the show and they were tossing around a couple of different characters. Joss wrote a scene that I think is on the DVD that Alexis [Denisof], J [August Richards] and I did which was kind of a Midsummer Night’s Dream sort of Shakespearean little scene that Joss had written and that ended up being my screen-test for being a regular.
Sounds like fun!
It was a lot of fun. They kept saying they were going to do a whole episode like that which we were all excited about but I guess that would have been season 6.
What was your time on the show like?
I loved being on Angel. I mean it was such a great cast, and still some of my best friends are from there, Alexis and J . It was such a great show to work on, because at least with my character, and it seems like everybody got to go on such a big journey for each character so we were starting in Pylea and ending up as Illyria, he [Joss] keeps you interested as an actor.
Was there any part of the show, its overall progression that you didn’t like, for example how Angel took over Wolfram & Hart?
No, I don’t really remember now feeling there was anything I didn’t like. I was a little bit sad when Fred died because that was her thing, that her and Wesley would be together but I think story wise that was good. I was excited to do all those great scenes with Alexis so I was sad more as an audience member that Fred was dead.
How did you feel when the role of Fred was changed to Illyria?
It was exciting. I mean I knew about it. It’s a funny story, Joss called me over or something and said “Meet me for coffee” and I said “OK” and he was like “I’m killing Fred” and I was like “Oh” I thought I was off the show and he waited two minutes and then said “but your still going to be on the show” and I was like (jokingly) “OK, I hate you!” It was exciting because I got a lot of time to work with him and develop what he wanted the character to be. He had Alexis and I come over one night and we made dinner and they had all these cool blue lights in their house they put on and we worked through some scenes and made the character and all the movements and stuff so it was an exciting process to develop a character that was so different from Fred.
Did you expect the shows cancellation at the end of the fifth season, was it a surprise?
I think we were all very surprised, actually I think it was like two days before that where Joss was telling me all of the very cool stuff that was happening next year. I think I talked to him when he was going to dinner with the guy who told him it was cancelled and I was like “Oh good tell him about that I hope we don’t get cancelled” he was like “Yeh, we’re not getting cancelled” and we were like “Oh, never mind, we got cancelled.”
What sort of storylines did you have setup for season 6?
All I know is he [Joss] was going to have Illyria have the ability to switch back and forth to Fred, like a Superman/Clark Kent kind of thing between Fred and Illyria. She was going to be transforming into different people which I was excited about, not having to do 3 hours of make-up. So that was one thing and another was going to be this whole big mafia thing where we went over and killed all the bad guys and then we were going to kind of become like all these groups were going to turn into a sopranos type mafia thing.
Since playing Fred, seen as your major breakout role, do you feel you’ve been typecast at all?
You know I actually would say, not so much, I feel like more Illyria has been kind of the way that people have been casting me more often than Fred. I haven’t really gotten to be like the nerdy smart girl again. Which is actually more who I am. I keep ending up killing people and doing that kind of stuff.
So you would say Fred is the role that best fits your personality?
I don’t know if I turned into her more over the years or if I started out like that, yeah I mostly identify with Fred.
Be sure to check back on January 15th when our interview with Amy concludes and we cover Alias, Drive, videogames, technology and her new role in Dollhouse.