Interview With the WB.com
Ex-demon-dating funny man Xander Harris may be goofy, but he does his share of bad-guy butt kicking. Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s Nicholas Brendon took a time out to tell us about his life off the set.
Q: Can we expect anything new and outlandish from Xander this season?
A: Aside from the fact that they’ve allowed him to be less gawky — you know, I no longer have to wear stripes with my plaids — there’s not a whole lot I can reveal right now. You will just have to watch the show.
Q: Speaking of which, would you be a Buffy fan if you weren’t actually on the show?
A: I’m not sure. Buffy requires a certain level of devotion. It’s amazing how committed people are to it. I recently met someone who was completely obsessed with it, and he kept referring to things that had happened on the show that I wasn’t even aware of. That was a little unsettling. Sometimes I feel like saying, “Hey, it’s just a show.” But I am having a blast. I feel this character is in my heart, in my bones. And the show is so well written, it’s almost as if we are doing a short film every week.
Q: How would you describe your last movie role in the comedy Psycho Beach Party [due out on video in April]?
A: Even though I played a gay guy, I was actually the straight man. I was not the funny guy, which is one of the reasons I wanted to do it. On Buffy, I am now considered the far-out funny guy. With Psycho Beach Party, I was so nice and philosophical, it was almost boring. But it was also a huge challenge because your natural instinct as an actor is to show off.
Q: So who are you off-camera? Straight or funny?
A: I try to maintain the perspective that life is meant to be laughed at. I mean, some days I cry, but for the most part growing up I was the funny guy.
Q: Yeah? How so?
A: I’m always inventing new characters for my girlfriend because I love to make her laugh. I think I succeed, but she’s pretty much convinced I’m a nut. In fact, her pet name for me is “a real-life crazy person.”
Q: Is this a serious relationship?
A: Very! We’ve been together two years.
Q: What’s your secret?
A: A lot of love.
Q: Do you ever give advice to your guy friends about relationships?
A: No way!
Q: Why not?
A: Relationships are so unique and individual, it’s hard to step in and give advice. I mean, sometimes I give advice to my brother. Because I love him and only if he is making mistakes and if he asks.
Q: What about you? Who gives you the best advice about love?
A: Well, my girlfriend, of course.
Q: How do you keep romance fresh?
A: We try to force ourselves to go out on dates. [Laughing] We actually pulled that off five months ago. Going out on traditional dates can be kind of dicey for us, especially if we go somewhere popular, like Universal CityWalk. I have to keep my head down, otherwise I get mobbed.
Q: Does being famous ever get on your nerves, say when someone asks you for an autograph when you’re in the middle of a romantic dinner?
A: Oh, no. Fans are the main reason I do what I do. I have been given this opportunity to reach out to a lot of people. And I love being able to entertain somebody, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Someone who otherwise might be having a really bad day.
Q: Who entertained you when you had bad days?
A: Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in Some Like It Hot. I went through a rough time back in my early 20s, and I swear I must have watched that film at least 90 times. This was right before I was a professional actor. Before that I was completely obsessed with baseball.
Q: Why were you so bummed out?
A: My parents were going through a divorce. It was a rough time. I felt really lost. One night I went out into the backyard, and I was talking to God — asking for direction — and acting was the answer I got. That was pretty terrifying, because I was not a confident kid. I had a stutter. I had ears that stuck out and acne. I was definitely not cut out for acting. But I decided to chance it.
Q: Did acting cure your stutter?
A: The sad thing is, there is no cure for it. I will always have a stutter. In fact, it still comes up to this day when I am at auditions or speaking in front of a group of people. I just hide it better now. But rehearsing and practice definitely changed it. I feel really fortunate. I think having a stutter is one of the most devastating things that can happen to a young kid. This year I’m planning on volunteering for the Stuttering Foundation of America. I’m hoping to become a spokesperson for them so that I can help other people.
Q: What about the future? What do you want to see happen?
A: We finish with the show in April, and from there it’s up in the air. I’ve got my hands full right now, and Sarah is doing Scooby, and Alyson is doing American Pie 2, so I have to be mindful of the girls’ schedules. But I would love to get my hands on a decent script sometime soon. It’s tough, but they are out there. Ultimately, I would like to do a dramatic, emotional film. I have a lot of that inside of me, and that would be a great way to get it out.