James Marsters as Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer

James Marsters on Adapting Spike to a Voice Performance in ‘Slayers: A Buffyverse Story’

As a newer fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I have been very excited for Slayers: A Buffyverse Story. The Audible original brings us a new slayer by the name of Indira (Laya DeLeon Hayes) and she is trying to find her own Watcher with the help of Spike (James Marsters). To help promote the new series, I spoke with Marsters at a roundtable at New York Comic-Con!

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The interviews could take place because of the nature of Slayers: A Buffyverse Story being an Audible original and not being part of SAG-AFTRA so we could not ask about the show as a whole, this question itself isn’t necessarily about Marsters’ performance as Spike changing but rather just bringing a role to life as a voice performance that is beholden to that. Marsters was there with James Charles Leary, who plays Clem, and so I asked about their dynamic in the Audible series and adapting that from live-action into a voice performance.

Marsters spoke first about his theatre background and how it helped him adjust his performance into one that would translate well into the new medium for fans of Spike. “James and I, we came from theatre. And in theater, your face is that big,” he said while showing just how tiny you can be while on stage. “Your eyes are pretty much invisible.”

Leary chimed in with a joke, saying “Some of the stages you played at, the Goodman…” but Marsters went on to talk about how even at smaller theaters, it is still about conveying your character’s wants and desires through their vocal performance. “Even in a smaller house, maybe back just teasing, but it is pretty much hanging words in the air. That’s your job. And all the information is conveyed by the voice. And the body a little bit, but mostly voice. So going to a medium where it’s all voice is not that far of an adjustment. The thing is that I spent years getting a toolbox for theatre, which is how to do voice and you get down to Los Angeles like, ‘oh, you put that one away, none of those are gonna work.’ And so film acting is really about taking information out of the voice and putting it into the eyes. The eyes convey everything and you pretty much are underselling all the language. You’re just kind of mumbling it out and your face is gonna be the rest. So it was just really wonderful to come back to Spike and use the old tools, the theater tools on the character and still keep it and not make it stagey. I mean, it’s for a microphone, it’s intimate, it’s subtle, but you’re putting all of the character information into it.”

Slayers: A Buffyverse Story is available on Audible now!

(featured image: 20th Century Fox)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.