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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Saying goodbye to Angel - in person

May 26, 2004

You’ll have to forgive me. I’m a little giddy. It’s not every day a girl meets her favorite TV star.

During a trip to Chicago last weekend, I got to meet Angel star David Boreanaz and spend a couple days with some of the show’s cast. Regular readers know my affection for the vampire with a soul. And after meeting the man in person, I can tell you this: he’s no Angel.

Boreanaz is funny, not at all like the brooding character he plays on TV. He laughed and joked with fans, teased cast mates, and even did the Angel happy dance at one point.

Now for those of you who think I’ve gone totally into stalker mode, rest assured. The Angel weekend was an organized event at the Holiday Inn O’Hare. More than 1,000 fans gathered to say goodbye to the show that was unjustifiably cancelled this season.

In addition to Boreanaz, actors Christian Kane and Stephanie Romanov were also on hand. Viewers know them as Angel’s nemeses Lindsey and Lilah. Viewers also may recognize Kane from his movie roles in Secondhand Lions, Life or Something Like It, and Just Married.

Other guests included scary-monster-guy Gnarl, or as he’s known out of makeup, actor Camden Toy. Elizabeth Anne Allen from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and upcoming country music star Branden Hart, Kane’s cousin, were there, too.

Now with all those celebrities under one roof, it was nearly impossible not to bump into them in the elevator, the hallway and of course, the hotel bar. To my surprise, the celebs were always gracious. They didn’t seem to mind the endless onslaught of fans fawning over them and clamoring for a photo and an autograph. Shamelessly, I was one of them. Pitiful? Absolutely. But that didn’t stop me.

I confess my memory is a little fuzzy when it comes to recalling my face-to-face time with the big guy. There may have been some minor hyperventilation and a brief moment of passing out - me, not him. And for those of you wondering, no, it was not possible to get any closer to him in that photo. When Kane jumped in with us for a snapshot, too, I thought it was probably the highlight of the weekend. I was wrong.

The question and answer sessions were outstanding. As your TV gal, I fully intended on getting the dirt for my loyal readers. But I was so star struck I could think of nothing to ask other than, “How difficult is it to fight demons in those leather pants?”

Thankfully, I said nothing.

When I did regain my thoughts, other fans were already asking some insightful questions. I did get to fire one off to Kane later. Here’s a sampling of some of the answers.

  • Boreanaz won’t do the much-talked-about Angel TV movies. However, he is open to Angel as a feature film. I got the impression he’s done with the WB.
  • His favorite episodes are the first one and the 1950s hotel episode. He loved working with Darla, actress Julie Benz.
  • He’s pleased with the way the series ended but had hoped to have more screen time next year with Spike.
  • He took Angel’s chair as a memento on the last day of filming.
  • He learned how to grill beer-can chicken from pal Kane.
  • Kane’s favorite movie role so far is playing a young Robert Duvall in Secondhand Lions. He later used the sword fight training from the film to battle Boreanaz on Angel.
  • Kane hated the evil hand. It was hot, stinky, and uncomfortable to wear. He also joked with writers he would reprise his role only if they stopped letting Lindsey get beaten up by girls.
  • Kane and company said they weren’t bitter about the cancellation, although he joked that Lindsey, Angel, and Spike could take down all the Smallville and One Tree Hill casts, if given the chance.
  • He doesn’t think he’ll be back in his guest role on Las Vegas. The cast is already full, he said.

The best part of the weekend was a concert by Hart, Kane and his band. They played some fabulous country music and tore up Waylon Jennings’ Luckenbach, Texas. I’m fairly certain most of the kids in the audience thought it was a brilliant, new country song that they hadn’t yet heard on the radio.

The most memorable event was the close of the concert which turned into a jam session. Watching mortal enemies Lindsey, Lilah, and Angel onstage singing Sweet Home Alabama was surreal. Boreanaz even sang a verse by himself, proving that his tone-deaf portrayal of the karaoke-challenged Angel is just a façade.

Some of the fans were just as entertaining as the guests. One guy dressed the entire weekend as Spike, complete with long, leather trench coat and bleached hair. From kids to grandmothers, I met folks from all parts of the country and Great Britain.

The event turned out to be a fantastic way to say goodbye to one of the most unique, well-written shows to ever hit the tube. Angel was solid until the very end, proving it still hadn’t lost its bite after five seasons. And the series finale was the most shocking of any show, ever.

Rest in peace, Wes, Gunn and Lindsey.

We’ll miss you, at least until you’re resurrected with Angel and the rest of the fang gang for the big screen.

Originally published 5/26/04 in The Exponent Telegram newspaper.


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