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James Marsters details taking Spike from minor to major in Buffy

The immortal vampire chats ahead of his visit to Calgary Expo

James Marsters is best known for his portrayal of Spike in Buffy The Vampire Slayer, but more recently for touring with his band.

Courtesy Calgary Expo

James Marsters is best known for his portrayal of Spike in Buffy The Vampire Slayer, but more recently for touring with his band.

From the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike stole the show.

Played by actor James Marsters (who will be coming to Comic Expo next week), Spike went from recurring character, to a member of the main cast, having a romance with the main character and even joining the spin-off show Angel.

Not bad considering he was supposed to be killed off after a few episodes.

“I was really desperately poor when I got the role,” Marsters recalled. “So, my main thing, I was trying to find a way to not get killed off. I tried to convince Joss (Whedon, show creator) to keep me alive and being paid money. I had just had a son, and I needed diaper money and doctor money. So I was very well motivated to burrow my way into that show like a tick.”

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Whedon told Marsters that the Spike was supposed to be a soulless monster without emotion.

“When he said that to me, I said 'right on boss. Thumbs up'. He walked away, and I thought no way in hell I’m going to do that.”

Instead Marsters cheated, pouring all his talent into playing up the love angle of his character with fellow vampire Drusilla. He also honed in on Sarah Michelle’s character, trying to create a connection on screen.

It worked, and the character took off, much to Whedon’s dismay. According to Marsters, the creator of the show didn’t like the idea of a vampire being cool and sexy – evil should be evil. But fans demanded Spike stick around, so he worked with the character.

And fellow actors helped Marsters through his admittedly horrible fake British accent.

“The accent wasn’t that great. I’ve watched School Hard, the first episode I show, and there’s some points where it really sucks,” he laughed. “My first line is really horrible.”

“Tony, the guy who plays Giles on the show, lost patience with me. At some point he came to me and forced me to be tutored, and I’ll forever be indebted to him. He wasn’t that friendly at times, but he was very, very helpful.”

Marsters is currently showing off his comedic chops is a web-series about two 'idiots' playing video games (poorly) in ViDiOTS, and playing with his band Ghost of the Robot. Marsters will play the official after party at the Calgary Comic Expo, in addition to signing autographs and meeting fans.

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