Watch This Face: Keep an eye on Amy Acker.
Angel certainly is.
Actress Amy Acker has been in Los Angeles for less than a year, and she’s already a cast member on a network television show. Amy plays Winifred, a.k.a. Fred, on the WB’s Angel. Fred first appeared on the show at the end of last season (she was that crazy cave chick), and now she’s alongside Angel, Cordelia, Wesley and Gunn as they fight the bad guys–both the human and, well, not-so-human kind. Amy was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, where she spent most of her young life studying dance. After high school, she attended Southern Methodist University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. Then, the aspiring actress moved to New York and lived there until an MTV pilot (which never made it on air) brought her to Los Angeles. In only a few short months, she’d landed the part on Angel. Now that’s a success story!
Teenmag.com: So what’s working on Angel been like so far?
Amy Acker: It’s been a lot of fun. It’s been really great.
Teenmag.com: When you first appeared at the end of last season, did you have any idea that your character was going to become a regular?
AA: Well, before I filmed the first episode, they had talked to Joss [Whedon, the show’s creator,] about wanting to have another girl as a regular on the show. They said that it was between like six people. I ended up doing a screen test for the WB–Joss wrote a scene before I started shooting–and I found out kind of in the middle of filming that I was going to be on it this year.
Teenmag.com: Was it weird joining the cast at that point since they all know each other so well?
AA: They were so welcoming. Everyone was asking me, ‘Oh are you nervous about going on a show where everyone already knows each other?’ but everyone was so nice from the very beginning. Most of my scenes last year were just with David [Boreanaz]. He was so helpful, because I hadn’t done that much film or anything, and he kind of taught me how everything worked. It was just nice because he kind of took on the big brother role that he has on the show with me in real life.
Teenmag.com: Fred is just starting to re-adjust to living in the real world, right?
AA: Yeah, she’s starting to get there.
Teenmag.com: What’s in store for her this year?
AA: Well, for a lot of it she’s just trying to sort of find her place with the group of people, and trying to find out how she’s going to help out the team. She’s just getting kind of readjusted to society. There are a lot of funny things about, you know, just her fitting in with everyone.
Teenmag.com: What’s her “role” within that group going to be?
AA: I think she’s going to try to become a part of the team. She has a lot of the same qualities as Wesley, good with numbers and all of that. So she’s hopefully going to be able to help them figure things out.
Teenmag.com: Will Fred and Angel have any romantic sparks?
AA: Well, Fred has a big crush on Angel, but I’m not sure that it’s reciprocated. He kind of looks at her as his little sister, so. The episode that showed last week was where he kind of told her that he couldn’t really be in love with anyone anyway. But I’m not sure that she took the hint. [Laughs.]
Teenmag.com: There’s a lot of magic and fantasy on Angel, were you ever into that kind of stuff growing up?
AA: I wasn’t really. I mean, in college some people would have Buffy the Vampire Slayer night or something, and everyone would go over and watch the show. I [went] a couple of times, but I wasn’t really even that familiar with it before I started doing it.
Teenmag.com: Have you watched a lot of Buffy and Angel now to catch up?
AA: Yeah, I’ve tried to. You know, the people who watch the show really know a lot about it, so my friends who are big fans have kind of filled me in on everything. I probably know more than I ever thought I would know about vampires now.
Teenmag.com: Fred is a physics whiz. Were you any good at math and science growing up?
AA: Yeah, actually, I was pretty good at math.
Teenmag.com: The stuff on the show is pretty complicated though. Do you just have to memorize the terms when she throws out formulas and stuff?
AA: Yeah. Well, half of the time they make up what the words are that I’m saying anyway. It makes it even more difficult when you’re talking in gibberish. But she’s a fun character because she is so different than anything else I’ve ever done, and she is just always kind of nerdy. She’ll just will talk and talk and talk and everyone’s like, ‘What are you talking about?’ It’s a lot of fun.
Teenmag.com: Switching gears, I wanted to ask you about your dance background. You studied it for a long time. What made you switch from dance to acting?
AA: I had studied dance for like 15 years, and then I ended up having knee surgery, so I had to do something else. I took an acting class in high school and ended up loving it so much more than ballet. I was kind of glad that it worked out that way.
Teenmag.com: When you were younger, did you want to become a professional dancer?
AA: Yeah, I wanted to. I was auditioning for companies and stuff like that. Then it just kind of all switched around, and I was about to go to a performance arts school for ballet, for high school, and then I ended up just going a different way.
Teenmag.com: What were some of the first plays you did when you were in high school?
AA: Um, The Crucible and a play called The Illusion. We did some musicals: Hello, Dolly and a musical of Some Like it Hot.
Teenmag.com: Oh, can you sing too?
AA: Um, not really. I can act like I’m singing. I can kind of do it, but it kind of horrifies me.
Teenmag.com: One of your first jobs was an MTV pilot, right?
AA: That was after I graduated. I lived in New York for like eight months, and I got [the pilot in] New York, and just came out for a week or two weeks to film that. But it didn’t end up going anywhere.
Teenmag.com: What was the show about?
AA: It was about these seven kids who were in college, and they lived in a haunted house. I was a mean girl in a wheelchair. [Laughs.]
Teenmag.com: A mean girl in a wheelchair?!
AA: Yeah, it was pretty funny.
Teenmag.com: What kind of work would you like to do in the future?
AA: Well, I would love to go back and do theater again. I would love to be able to go back to New York at some point and do plays, at least on the hiatus. It’s hard to survive doing that. I’d love to do anything. This is great right now. It’s such a learning experience, and it’s so fun because it’s all fantasy, and anything can happen. It’s nice because all of the shows are so different that you get kind of a taste of something new every week.
Teenmag.com: We wish the smart and friendly Amy the best of luck on Angel this year. Don’t forget to watch her every Monday at 9pm EST/PST on the WB.