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By Edward Gross


Needless to say, the WB is about to air the final episode of Angel , “Not Fade Away.” In conjunction with the end of the series, David Boreanaz took the time for an exclusive chat to sum up his feelings regarding the show, portraying Angel and the new direction his life is taking him.



Q: From what I've been reading, you seem pretty ready to move on from Angel at this point.


A: Yeah [laughs]. I felt strongly about it a year ago, but when they kind of revamped the show this year, it was a good enough thing to have happened just for the story structure and the people and the fans. It ended up really being a thoroughly enjoyable year for me. Probably the best year of all the years since the first one.


Q: Really?


A: Yeah, this year turned out better than I expected in terms of the characters and the storylines. But just in general, as far as the series is concerned, I was itching about a year ago or a year and a half ago. I always prescribe to the format that when every season is over, I consider the series over until it gets reordered and then I move on from there. So when I learned about the show not being picked up from Joss, I didn't really have much of a reaction. For me, you take the show for as long as you can, you work from it, you work on a character for “X” number of years and you build with it and you take it as part of your resume. For me, it was almost like a relief of pressure, so to speak. To have those words come in, it really took a lot of weight off of my shoulders. It wasn't like I was rejoicing, but at the same time it felt right.


Q: But from what you were saying, you had reached a point of wanting to leave before they even rejiggered the show.


A: There was a part of me last year that wanted to get out. Last year at this time they didn't even know if we were going to come back and I'd already accepted the fact that we weren't, but, like I said, I did that almost every season. In this business, things happen so quickly and so fast that I've always focused on getting the first episode done, then the following episode and not be so concerned about storylines and where the character is heading. I really kind of keep that unpredictable for myself, because you never know what's going to happen. I have a pretty good handle on the situation. Walking around thinking it's never going to end or that you're invincible — I think that's one of the traps in Hollywood, that you have to really be cautious and be aware of who you are as a person. And you have to remain strong in that foundation, which is something that I got from my parents growing up. They gave me that and it's helped considerably to go through moments like last year, go through the moments of this year. Truthfully, you kind of get sick and tired of people asking you, “What are you going to do now?” I know what I'm going to do, the cards have been laid out and I don't have to worry about shrinking something into a hiatus now. I have my whole life pretty much in front of me and the opportunities are going to be invaluable. I look forward to the many challenges. That's what's exciting about being an actor, a producer or a director in this business. You continue to grow and create yourself as an artist. That's where I am right now. It's exciting and it's refreshing to be in a place like this.


Q: A lot of people do tend to be so defined by their shows and their character to such a degree that when it ends, they don't know what the hell to do with themselves.


A: I've always remained cautious of that. But even with the roles I've taken on during hiatus, there's always been a piece of the Angel character that's with me. He's a very well-versed character and he has multiple personalities.   When you define a character and play a character, I think every actor has a sense of what they've just done inside of them and they use that to the best of their ability, using it for them rather than against them. That's pretty much what it's about. You make choices and you make them for the right reasons and remain truthful to that conviction.


Q: You mentioned that seasons one and five were the best years for you. Is that because you prefer the more standalone storytelling?


A: Just getting the show off the ground was a lot of work and a lot of frustration and a lot of great energy and a lot of crazy stuff happening in my life. I was just really bombarded with tons of stuff and didn't know what was going to happen. You were kind of on the pulse of anxious anxiety and that energy of kind of grasping it and letting it slip away. It was really kind of intriguing and fresh. I don't really remember much about years two and three. Four was just a hard year and with five — maybe it was the standalone approach. I just enjoyed the comfort of different types of shows coming at me.


Q: One of the things I've admired about the show — and I guess it was true of Buffy as well — is that there was never the fear of having the characters do something that might not be what the audience expects; that they could go darker than most characters might. But with all of the censorship issues and all of this nonsense, do you think the end of Angel could also be the end of an era in terms of taking risks like that?


A: I think cable is the new outlet as far as extreme television is concerned. I think the cable media takes more chances than the networks do. It's a shame. The whole censorship thing, to be honest with you, I just think there's a big overreaction to it. People need to calm down, accept the change and just move with it. We're not living in the ‘50s here, it's not like black and white television with only three stations. There's a multitude of choices out there that is going to dominate the industry in five years — everything's changing and it's definitely the end of an era. You're even seeing the end of the hour drama, unfortunately. It will be there, but it will be in a different format. Just reality TV alone is really taking off because advertising dollars speak and Madison Avenue has a chance to exploit that. That's where the medium is right now. Look at all of the mid-season replacements that came up and got cancelled. Great shows that aren't being given a chance by the networks because it's easier to make a buck off of seeing Suzie screw Joe in the backyard with cameras watching. It doesn't make much sense to me; it's pretty irrelevant. But in today's society, where America is, people want to see that fast, furious pace; those dilemmas and those struggles and conflicts. I think the hour drama will always be around and I think that comedy will be around, it's just that it will be in a different format. It's definitely the end of an era for Joss and for true storytelling. With Angel , I think the way we ended this year is an open-ended book. You kind of see the characters going out with a fight, which I think has been prevalent for Angel since the inception of the show. He's always going to be fighting and I think that's true today with humanity and all of the things that are going on in the world.


Q: In the course of the series, would you say the gamut of what you were able to play was fairly unusual for television? I mean in terms of the shift from comedy to the darker places.


A: Oh, yeah. I just thought it was a fantastic journey to be able to do that. And it was great for me, because now it's enabled me to tap into those places on different levels and expand on those for different roles. I can use those opportunities to get certain parts or get into certain situations or to show certain directors and take on new projects. I really enjoyed the flexibility of the character and how the writers allowed me to interchange with him and move places. I welcomed that and it's one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much.


Q: From your point of view, has Angel evolved from where the series began to where it's ending?


A: I think the self-evolution of his character is ongoing. I don't think for his type of character that there will be an end to his evolution. As far as where he is and where he was – God, it's been leaps and bounds. The guy has just completely come out of the shadows, opened up and has become more vulnerable with a better sense of himself from the people around him. The evolution is amazing; emotionally he's evolved ten-fold.


Q: If there's never another Angel adventure, where would you say we're leaving this character?


A: In battle. Battle for his own self and battle for humanity, pretty much. Striving for excellence and continuing the good fight, whatever that good fight is.


Q: What would you like Angel the character and Ange l the series to be remembered for?


A: Again, just a sense of risk, a sense of style. A uniqueness to deliver story in a different manner; a uniqueness in character to expand with the other characters around him, to evolve into different types of characters, to be ever-changing; the angst of conflict within him. I think there's so much to be remembered and so much to be proud of about this show. And its use of mythology and verse and language and just texture, just the way it was shot. It will be remembered for a lot of things.


Q: When the cancellation happened, were you surprised by the intensity of the fans' reaction and their attempts to save it?


A: The fans are so committed, and it's cool to see. Even when the network moved us around, they were still following us. It's a sheer testimony to what these people are about, how much they love the story and don't want to give up on him. It's a blessing in disguise and it's bittersweet for all of us. Bitter for the fans and sweet that we get to go out like this with the sense of people yearning for it, rather than having the attitude, “You're in the seventh season, you now have Angel, Jr. running around.” There's a blessing to everything and I think that all of this is a blessing. You kind of take it on as one and move with it.


Q: Are you interested in those Angel TV movies they've talked about?


A: No. I'm interested in a feature film and it would have to be done right, it would have to be done with a higher bar. I've always thought this could be done really well as a feature film with the characters. Even if Buffy was to return, I think the whole mythology of it would be really amazing to see. I believe in that a lot and I think that may come to fruition one day. I don't forsee a television movie. Of course, that's me speaking right now.


Q: Have you got your next project lined up yet?


A: I have one that is lined up. I actually have a few and I'm just trying to figure out which one I want to do. There are a few independent films that are really small and kind of fit what I want to try. There's also the possibility of a bigger budget one with a smaller role. I'm just weighing it out right now.


Q: Is there a direction you see yourself going in?


A: Any kind of Harrison Ford or Clint Eastwood type of roles. Men of action. Fearless characters. I like the real conflicted characters, I like characters that have a lot going on and the odds are against them and they have to come up from the ashes. I'm really attracted to those kinds of characters. It's enjoyable to me. I love the Joe Luis type of guy: you can knock him down, but he's always able to get back up. I love the spiritual characters, I love the romantic characters – a lot of people haven't seen that part of me, which is going to be challenging, to show that other side of me, including humor and a kind of wackiness. It's really a matter for me of the people involved, the writer and the director.


Q: You sound like a guy excited to embrace this new future.


A: I'm very excited. Like I said, it's a whole new page and I'm really looking forward to writing a chapter in a vicious way.






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