In next week's Angel series finale, Spike wonders how to spend what could potentially be the last day of his undead life. So the platinum-topped vamp Spike chooses to spout poetry at a seedy bar. For his portrayer, James Marsters, playing live music would more likely top the final to-do list. The California-bred actor moonlights as lead singer of his rock band, Ghost of the Robot. On the final night of his Angel duties, he happily previewed two new tracks for us in his trailer. "I think this is the best song I've written so far," he said proudly of one acoustic ballad. Soon, he'll embark on a European tour with the group, but don't fret, Spike fans: Unlike co-star David Boreanaz, he's not ready to stake his signature role just yet.
TV Guide Online: How does it feel to shoot the last day on a series?
James Marsters: Good. Television often is an exercise in frustration, just because time and money are forcing you to work faster and make more compromises than you want to. You go into your trailer and punch the wall a lot. There are some [dents] over there, though my Buffy [trailer] was even worse. But I find that all the frustration has sort of fallen away the past couple of days, and we're just left with the fact that there are some really good people working here and some really good scripts to work on. It's been a good job.
TVGO: This is the second show you've said good-bye to in a year. That's got to be weird.
Marsters: Yeah, but I'm used to endings. I'm from theater and we're used to things being wonderful or horrible and then, inevitably, over. You get to the point where you come to peace with that. I kinda like when everything goes away and the space is empty again.
TVGO: Which was easier — the end of Buffy or Angel?
Marsters: This one's easier, less intense. I haven't been here as long. I just have a real sense that it's the end of a really great ride, and possibly not the end. There's talk of other stuff going on.
TVGO: So you'd be open to playing Spike again?
Marsters: I would love to come back to the character. I'm hopefully gonna start to play more human beings. I wanna play a doctor or someone who was never set on fire, who was never stabbed. That would be nice. But it would also always be cool to come back and be the bad-ass for awhile. But I do think there's a clock ticking. Spike's a vampire. He's not supposed to age! So I think there's about a five-year moratorium. I don't want [creator Joss Whedon] to have to come up with something like, "Oh, if you don't drink human blood, you do age."
TVGO: How often have you had to dye your hair? Bet you look forward to laying off the peroxide for awhile.
Marsters: Oh yeah. We touch it up every episode. I can audition my head off, and I only ever get called back for drug addicts and rock stars, and I'm tired of it. It'd be nice to just look like me again. My own self-image is with brown hair. It'd be nice to have that looking back at me again. [Editor's Note: On April 27, he shaved his head live on On Air with Ryan Seacrest. Proceeds raised from fans who bid money for a lock of the bleached-out hair were donated to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.]
TVGO: I see you have an empty "Save Angel" candy-bar wrapper lying around.
Marsters: Yeah, I ate the chocolate!
TVGO: What do you think of fan outrage over the cancellation?
Marsters: It's felt really good. I always joke that I spend so much time making the show that I'm surprised to find out people watch it, but that's really true. The thing I love about theater is the interaction between the audience and the actor. I've missed that. This outpouring feels like a little of that response. And it's not wasted effort. If it doesn't save the show, it [still] means that any project that comes from this universe will be paid more attention to. If there's a movie, it may get a bigger budget.
TVGO: Are you happy with how the show is ending?
Marsters: Oh yeah. This was [going to be] the ending of the season, prior to us getting canceled. It was gonna be a great lead-in to next season. Now, it's serving as the end of the series. It doesn't have the big computer visual pop that Buffy did because frankly, Buffy had a much bigger budget. But it's a good ride, and it's really thematically satisfying. Heroes in Joss' world stumble and make mistakes, but they keep trying.
TVGO: That's a good message to go out on.
Marsters: Yeah, man. We're having a good end of the season. Let 'em cancel us! But we're gonna be so good that you will secretly in your heart be sorry! [Laughs] But hey, man, no sour grapes to the WB. Seriously. They've paid for my car, you know?