Dudes & Dragons is what is best described as a “quirky” film James Marsters said when I talked to him about the movie, which is being released on VOD/Digital/DVD today, March 1st. Having had a chance to watch the film, I found myself surprised at how much I ended up enjoying it. Marsters talks a little about how when he first read the script, he wasn’t sure what to think the first few minutes, but ended up loving how it all comes together in the end. I found myself feeling the same way while watching it; confusion about where the film was going and, eventually, being really pleased with where it went.
I talked to Marsters recently about the film, as well as some other things going on in his career. He was a super nice guy and after we finished laughing about our mutual dislike of Brazilian nuts we got into talking about Dudes & Dragons and other juicy topics.
To start, are you excited about the film being released next week?
JM: I’m very excited about it. I’ve watched it with an audience twice now and the laughs are pretty much constant the whole way through the film. I’ve been talking with press about the film for the last two days now and most of them have seen the film, and everyone agrees it’s a really fun ride. I think it’s something we would call quirky because it’s not done all the time. I think Buffy was also called quirky in the beginning, before it sort of paved the way for a lot of female heroine stories that come out now.
Any favorite scenes from the movie?
JM: My favorite part of the film is when Maclain (“Camelon”) has had a fake British accent the whole time, and he finally admits that he put that on because he feels like it works. He’s not estranged from his brother anymore and he can just admit he’s been doing this fake accent. There’s something both funny and vulnerable and very dear about that, and it gets all wrapped together in one moment. I think that’s genius.
How did you get involved in the project?
JM: They just sent me the script and I fell in love with it and wanted to give it a try. I thought, if we can get this script off the ground it’s going to work. I was intrigued because it was a very ambitious script being done by an independent producer.
What was your favorite thing about your character, Lord Tensley?
JM: When I read Lord Tensley, he seemed to be really despicable, powerful and dangerous, but also really vulnerable and pathetic and, in a way, endearing. It was like there was a frightened child beneath everything. Basically, he’s a character that has trained a dragon to light on fire anyone that falls in love, and that’s about as messed up as it gets! But, that’s because he’s had his heart broken and he’s still hurting. There’s something relatable about that, because I’ve also had my heart broken and that changes you. So, I thought if you can get all those qualities together it’ll be an interesting character.
What draws you to the sci-fi/fantasy genre?
JM: I was drawn to it as a fanboy early on! I grew up watching re-runs of the original Twilight Zone and then Star Trek. Then there was Star Wars and the Planet of the Apes films. I’ve been interested in the genre all my life. In high school I became a punk rocker, then after college I became a subversive theater artist. I find that science fiction and fantasy can be subversive in a way that realistic drama can’t really get away with. We can say things that are true, but we have that deniability because we can say “oh, this is just a vampire show, we’re not really talking about social issues here.” For example, Star Trek was really talking about the strength of diversity, that diversity makes a society strong and tolerance of the differences of people. Buffy was talking about the fact that women can defend themselves and be heroes. That made people uncomfortable. It still does. I just think the genre is cool and fun to watch.
And you’re a musician as well, right? How is it juggling being an actor and a musician at the same time?
JM: You drink a lot of coffee! If you surround yourself with people that are really good, you don’t have to do everything. I’m very lucky to be in a band with phenomenal musicians and songwriters. We all agree before we start where a song should go, and that’s a golden place to be. We’re on iTunes! People can go check us out anytime. The band is Ghost of the Robot, 99 cents a song.
Were you happy with how everything turned out in Dudes & Dragons when you saw the final cut?
JM: I was very happy with how it all came out, kind of stunned by how well they were able to pull off the visuals and really impressed by the acting. In this film, everybody brings it and everyone is well cast. Everything comes together.
Do are there any conventions you’ll be at soon, in case your fans want to come meet you?
JM: Definitely! The next one is in Lexington in March, and then there’s one in Paris I’ll be going to, as well. People can check out my official Facebook for my full schedule. I love meeting and talking to my fans.