What wasn't so fun for Marsters while playing the punk-vamp, Spike, was the constant hair-bleaching necessary for his character--you see, vampires don't have hair re-growth (being dead and all) so roots were not an option. Marsters said that the chemical process would cause painful skin irritation on a regular basis. But the actor, who turns 51 in August, was happy to report that the harsh process did not damage his full head of thick wavy hair. Good genes! And the audience got to see those genes in action.
One of the first questions was from a rather good looking young man with an equally full head of thick wavy hair. Yes, it was Marsters' son, Sullivan, who attended the Wizard World Portland Comic Con with his dad as a member of Ghost of the Robot. Ghost of the Robot had performed the night before in Portland and many of Marsters' super-fans, also Wizard World VIPs, were sitting in the front rows of C124 at the Portland Convention Center donning Ghost of the Robot T-shirts. Marsters has had quite a successful musical career, including solo tours in Europe, particularly the UK, where Marsters is pretty much a rock star. Prior to forming Ghost of the Robot in 2003, Marsters sang solo gigs all over LA, often performing covers of such icons as James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen, and Neil Young. And yes, Marsters was actually singing in the musical Buffy episode, "Once More, with Feeling."
I love working with James Marsters because he's so great with his fans; he's very genuine and down-to-earth, which makes him even more accessible. The last time we worked together in Philly, James invited the audience to try to embarass him. He did the same thing in Portland but luckily, it did not invite questions about things like when James had his last threesome...and yes, that was a real question from the Philly Comic Con. So when an audience member stepped up to the mike and said, "I have an embarrassing question to ask," James looked at me with the biggest grin on his face. He loves to see me blush. And of course, I did. But the question itself wasn't really embarrassing. Though I suppose with anyone other than James Marsters, it could be: What on-screen kiss was the most fun?
Fans in the know love Marsters' work in not just Buffy and Angel, or his stint as Brainiac in the long-running series, Smallville, or his numerous movie roles including PS I Love You with Hilary Swank, his long musical career or voice acting jobs for videogames and audio books like The Dresden Files, or even for his work on the comic spin-off Spike & Dru, but for James' role as the omni-sexual Captain John Hart on Torchwood. Wow, that was exhausting. My friend James has had an incredible career! And even more incredible, his role as Captain John Hart included one of the first male-on-male on-screen kisses with co-star, John Barrowman. James said that, though it's not exactly initimate or sexy to be directed through something like a kiss, working with Barrowman on the scene made it comfortable. Except for the facial stubble. James declared to all male audience members how very unpleasant it is to kiss someone with five o'clock shadow, and to please shave before doing so. His wife was there the day of the shoot and was allowed to "direct" the scene. Typically, in television, there are very few takes because of time. To have three takes is quite a lot. But for the Torchwood kissing scene with Barrowman, everyone on set was so enthralled that there was a whopping five takes! And with each take, James' wife would say, "Oh, yeah...that was good. Now, let's do that again."
James Marsters' numerous roles in television include fan-thrilling moments with Buffy- and Angel-alum, Charisma Carpenter on the hit series, Supernatural, now in its final season. Marsters and Carpenter play a husband and wife who are both witches. The aptly named episode, "Shut up, Dr. Phil," required a close up of James at one point. And though James wouldn't say who, I strongly suspect it was Jensen Ackles who ran his hand up James' inner thigh, just outside of the shot, to get James to flinch during the close up. But of course, being the consummate Julliard-trained professional Marsters is, he didn't change his expression once. Though after the close up, everyone, including the full cast and crew, broke down in a tumult of belly-laughter. Hopefully, that shows up on an out-takes disc on DVD when the show wraps.
As usual, time flew during James' Q&A; when I announced that we had but five minutes remaining, everyone, including James, was genuinely surprised. James tells a great story and the audience's attention was completely wrapt on his every word. But we had to end the session on time, even though there were more fans waiting in line to have their moment with James. James wanted to stay and talk to fans, but had to head right out to the airport from the Q&A to catch his next flight.
James Marsters is truly remarkable. And as always, it's an honor and a pleasure to work with him. You can see James again on the Wizard World 2013-2014 tour. We will be in St. Louis this month from 3/22-3/25. Check out the programming schedule at www.WizardWorld.com
Follow James on Twitter: @JM_Live and for more James Marsters News, follow @jamie_marsters and @CivilizedJames!
Thank you, James! Hope to see you again soon; in the meantime, safe travels.
And yes, James Marsters is 100% #PopCultureProfessor APPROVED!