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DB Woodside - Buffy's Principal
An actor's life
How did you get into acting?
It’s actually an interesting story. I was a football player and I hurt myself in my last year of high school and had to sit out of football for three weeks. I found it too depressing so I began wandering the halls of high school and ventured down into a wing that I’d never really gone down before because I heard music.
I happened on a dress-rehearsal for Brigadoon and sat down and lost myself in that world. I don’t do musicals but there was something fascinating about exposing myself to an art that I’d never really been involved with.
Did you find it easy breaking into Hollywood?
I think it’s an actor thing. I don’t think it’s difficult to break into Hollywood. The difficulty comes when you’re trying to have staying power and you have a career - and you’re trying to maintain the career you want to have.
How did you get the Buffy gig?
I’d never actually watched the show. The summer before the seventh season I got a call from my manager – I guess [the producers] had seen some of my work – and they wanted me to come in and screen for this character. I said ‘no’, a week passed and they asked me again - and I said ‘no’ again.
Finally, thankfully, my manager twisted my arm and forced me to go in. Shortly afterwards I fell in love with the role and the rest is history. I’m so glad my manager pushed me.
Seven year itch
Why do you think the series came to an end?
I think there was a cloud hanging over the seventh season, especially in the beginning. I don’t think anyone was sure what Sarah was going to do, but I think she decided that seven years was enough.
She’d just got married and I think she wants to have children relatively young. She wanted to spend time with her husband and explore other opportunities, primarily in film. I’d imagine she’ll make guest spots on Angel from time to time, to keep people happy until the Buffy movies start coming out.
Buffy the movie
Would you play Robin Wood again?
I don’t think I’m interested anymore in making a guest appearance on Angel. If Joss called and said, ‘You’ve got to come back and do this cool thing’, then I’d come back.
I’d be very interested in the Buffy movies. I think there is so much more that can be accomplished given that format. To play that character again in a movie I just think would be fantastic. When I think of how the Matrix has changed film technology I think 'My god, think what we could do with Buffy'.
Did you find it easy playing a principal?
No, I was a little bit of a troublemaker in high school. I would find it very difficult to take my role seriously and trying to discipline kids for doing relatively the same stuff I was doing at that age. I’d be a horrible principal.
Did you find it easy doing the fight scenes?
I was actually really lucky. They didn’t know when I was younger that I studied various martial arts techniques. So, when they showed me some stuff, they were surprised that I was able to do a lot of it. James [Marsters] does a lot of his own stunts, so that one fight scene that James and I had was a lot of fun. They really let me do a lot of my own stunts.
The stuff where you see where I’m thrown against a wall – DB Woodside doesn’t do that. Someone else does who is more skilled at being thrown against a wall. I would probably break my back. This guy was fantastic, he was a great double for me, but I really got off on doing a lot of my own stunts. When you’re a guy it’s play, you really want to do as much as you can, not because you’re trying to be courageous or show off, it’s because it’s fun and it’s part of the job you live for.
Did you get on well with your stunt double?
They’re your right hand person, they make you look cool. They have so much more experience so they can really break the move down for you and, in a way, be a dance instructor and show you how to do the moves just right. My stunt double was fantastic, he was a great guy. I hope to work with him again someday.
Tears and hugs
What were the last days on the set like?
It was sad to see these guys who had been together for seven years of their lives, who had grown up together. They were a family, and like many families they work hard and love hard.
They were fantastic and welcomed me into that family for the final season. So there were quite a few tears, quite a few hugs, but they felt they had to move on. I personally could have continued, but I understand their need to move on.
Did you keep a memento of your time?
Yes, I stole a few things. I had to have a few Buffy stakes, just in case. You never know, when you are walking down a dark alley and get jumped by a vampire or a few demons, especially given the Robin Wood-type profile.
Did you do any research about demons for the role?
It was actually something I came to very fresh and now I’m looking to find out more about it. It became very fascinating to be introduced to this world and now I’ve been drawn into looking up some of these old stories. Joss has most of his own mythology [but] I’d like to do my own research to see what Joss based his research on.
What’s it been like doing your first convention?
It was absolutely brilliant. I’m so happy they chose me to come over. It was only their second convention and what I liked about it is that it was small.
I tend to be quite shy, so it was great for me to get the chance to come over and be introduced to the convention circuit in such a small way. The Irish are beautiful people, so unbelievably friendly and warm; they just welcomed me and took me around. They were fantastic and I can’t wait to go back.
Did you have to answer any weird questions?
Not so much. I think there might have been a few questions that threw me a little bit. They wanted to know about the relationship between Robin Wood and Faith and that was interesting.
A lot of people wanted to know if there was actual heat between myself and Eliza on set, but other than that I don’t think there were too many questions that threw me off. A lot of the questions were really well worked out and were a pleasure to answer for these wonderful people.
Who's the hottest Slayer - Buffy or Faith?
Here’s the thing, they’re both so different. I feel like Buffy is the sister Robin Wood never had. I think there’s a brother/sister thing going on there. The thing between him and Faith is much more visceral. These two are very dark individuals. They have a lot of secrets and they are made to feel outsiders from the Scooby Doo crew.
I think they really bonded on that level, so I have to say on that level in my mind and the viewers, I see Robin and Faith going off together. In their world, going off together would involve somewhere very dark, involving a lot of killing and sex. That’s who they are.
What was your favourite moment from the series?
There were several moments. It would have to have been episode seventeen and the big face off between Wood and Spike. Those fight scenes are so intense and that one took us between two and three days to shoot - twelve to fifteen hour days.
I remember one of those nights at about two o’clock in the morning. James and I were sitting on the side. It was just this moment when we thought, ‘Wow, what would we prefer doing right now?’ We’d been given this chance to play these two dynamic characters.
We were tired, but were just so happy. I remember driving back and feeling so lucky and hoping that I’d have that chance again.