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At Least There’s No James Marsters… Yet


 

Summer Glau will have a recurring role on season 2 of Dollhouse as someone who “shares a past” with Eliza Dushku’s character. Many people have argued that Glau would have been a better choice for the part, and that she might even have gotten it if she hadn’t been on the same network’s (now-defunct) Sarah Connor Chronicles at the time. I’m not sure about this. Dushku has limited range, but so does Glau. So do most of Whedon’s favourite actors. Even the ones who can actually act, like Alexis Denisof — who, of course, will also be appearing in season 2 of Dollhouse — seem like rather limited personalities, at least when they work with him. And of course he’s been known to fall head over heels for actors with very little personality, like Amy “also on Dollhouse” Acker.

Some showrunners try to build their stock companies out of craggy, average-looking actors with lots of personality and fight with their networks over the casting of people who don’t look perfect. Whedon is like the opposite; he absolutely loves to cast every part with the kind of pretty-looking, slightly bland people that networks also love. He fights to cast the people that other producers have forced on them by network executives. David Milch fell in love with people like Dennis Franz; Joss Whedon’s ideal actor appears to be Nathan Fillion, a cute, non-threatening actor with a limited emotional range. That’s why Dollhouse is the ultimate Whedon show, about pretty people who literally have no personalities at all.

I’m not attacking him for this; people cast the actors they’re comfortable with for the shows they do, and Whedon’s type of show — pitched halfway between dead-seriousness and silliness, and aimed at a young audience — probably requires the kind of beautiful, uncomplicated people who populate the movies/shows in most of the genres he’s riffing on. But I think he got lucky, in Buffy, by casting Sarah Michelle Gellar, who, though cute, had more spunk and more of a prickly, interesting onscreen personality than most of his actors. (She was also good at crying convincingly, which helps give the impression of at least a two-dimensional actor.) He was also lucky in getting Alyson Hannigan as a last-minute replacement; she’s also a more distinctive personality than his usual actor. Even Angel got a little lucky because David Boreanaz grew out of his initial pretty-boy status and became almost tough. Anything resembling genuine toughness has been hard to find in a Whedon character since then; it’s always a bunch of stone-faced ballerinas and Krasinkis playing at being action heroes, entire shows cast with people who could play assistant D.A.s on Law and Order or supporting roles on a late ’90s NBC sitcom.


 
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At Least There’s No James Marsters… Yet

  1. I disagree about Alexis i find he's very talented, and his character did develop. The actor whom has no range is James Marsters, whom goes no where with his acting, and every character he has ever played is pretty much the same.

    But yes, Summer Glau, I don't think I have ever seen her pull of a 'human being'.

    And Amy Acker, I find their characters are often stones and can't emerge to grow convincingly. But I think Alexis pulled that off convincingly.

    And I disagree about Sarah, she never went anywhere after her role of Buffy and it's not that Buffy overshadowed her it's that her range fell flatter then most.

    David Boreanaz, brilliance had range because he could pull off two different characters, sadly he's on Bones where his range is forced to remain nothing because of the writing and directing and creators.

    • "The actor whom has no range is James Marsters, whom goes no where with his acting, and every character he has ever played is pretty much the same." and "David Boreanaz, brilliance had range because he could pull off two different characters, sadly he's on Bones where his range is forced to remain nothing because of the writing and directing and creators."

      Marsters acted circles around most of that cast and it was his acting that resulted in Spike being more than the one-dimensional, one-shot villian for which the role was created. He has a huge body of work behind him on stage, including Shakespeare (I believe), where he got great reviews. Google it sometime. As for his other TV and movie roles, have you seen any of them? I haven't seen them all but the only thing "the same" about his characters were that a good chunk of them were villians but he did it without playing 'Spike' over and over again. That boy managed to steal every scene he was ever in and even makes the deadest of the dead actors come to life.

      (conts…)

  2. You know, I just wonder what kind of lucky charm Joss has cause I want one!

  3. Amy Acker had plenty of charm in her Angel role!

  4. You gotta be kidding. Denisof has "limited personality?" Did you not watch the whole series of 'Angel' where Denisof's character goes through about as drastic a change as any in TV history?

  5. [quote=The actor whom has no range is James Marsters, whom goes no where with his acting, and every character he has ever played is pretty much the same.quote/]
    That can be said of any actor/actress.
    He can act anyone from Buffy and Angel off the screen but It's obvious that none of you have actually seen James Marsters act live…..

  6. Amy Acker's performance in the last seven episodes of Angel is probably the best of any Joss Whedon show. I always thought he had a gift for getting the best out of average actors (I can't really think of a recurring or regular performance on either Buffy or Angel I disliked, so this post baffles me a bit.

  7. Summer Glau is an untalented actress who shouldn't be allowed on television. She single-handedly ruined the Terminator franchise for me, because she is probably one of the ugliest people I've ever seen, and not just on TV.

  8. This post destroys any credibility you ever had to comment on anything related to acting.

    • Good, because credibility is overrated. You should never agree or disagree with someone based on whether or not they have credibility.

  9. James Marsters is so talented and every time that he appears on sceen he steals every scene,even when he is given very few lines to work with. He is a shakespearian actor of the highest order and his understanding and interpritation of his craft is outstanding. Try looking him up on google and you will get an idea of the vast body of work that he had under his belt before he worked on Buffy. The show, that when he joined, he actually took to a much higher level as far as acting was concerned. James Marsters is capable of much much more than he has already acheived but does not conform to the typical hollywood actor ( thank god) He is often out spoken but honest and probably does not "fit in" with the rest of the ass licking run of the mill actors in Hollywood that do not even have half of his talent or integrity.

  10. Boreanaz, "brilliant"?! Not to be harsh, but I guess he does mediocre brilliantly. He's good when it comes to subtle humor, perhaps due to his decidedly non-expressive expressions (haha). But when I see him play a character, it's like he has to strain to act. If by "two different characters" you mean 'Angel' and 'Angelus', he was just doing two ends of the same spectrum, again, very mediocre. He doesn't have range, he just has connections.

    Alexis Denisof I agree with, he's fantastic. Just needs to speak up a little more sometimes. I always thought Amy Acker was good too. She even did a bad guy very creepily as Illyria and as a villian on 'Alias'. She managed to keep them very different to boot.

    To each their own I guess…

  11. I <3 you Linda. Just sayin'. Wish more people would understand him like we do…

  12. i am with linda and jennie!!

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