Monday, December 14, 2009

Countdown to Angel #28: Bill Williams Interview

Continuing right along with our countdown to the release of Angel #28, we're proud to roll out the interview we conducted with Bill Williams, the writer who will be handling the secondary story arc involving new character, Eddie Hope. Let's dive right in and see what we have time to see!

Buffyfest: Eddie Hope is a man on a mission, what is that mission and how far is he willing to go to complete it?

Bill Williams: Eddie's life was fundamentally changed in the events of After The Fall and he thinks that his life was destroyed. He wants to get even for what happened to him and to others. Now it just so happens that he has his devil powers and he knows the very worst people in Los Angeles. So Eddie sets out to make the world a better place by removing these terrible people from the Land of the Living. When the series starts, Eddie is willing to do just about anything to punish LA's wicked. He sees himself as a lost soul tidying up his part of the world. I think he realizes that like any gunfighter he might run into someone who might out-quick him and he is fine with that. That is Eddie's starting point, but it starts to change in small ways from the first few stories on. Writing in Joss Whedon's world practically demands that you have the reversals and twists that he used so effectively on the various television series.

Buffyfest: Kelley Armstrong's Aftermath arc began with Angel saying, in so many words, that he's redeemed himself. Do you think he's redeemed? Can any of the Angel characters ever truly be redeemed without losing a necessary part of the narrative?

Bill Williams: Redemption for a character like Angel or Spike means that you move to a slightly different kind of story similar to the shift between the Buffy and Angel TV series. Buffy had one type of story thread running through it and Angel had another kind of story in play. The Whedon characters are more interesting because they have these monumental flaws. Wesley has a tremendous arc as a character. I think that you can have a character that has redeemed himself or herself and done something to wipe a slate clean. That does not necessarily mean that they have to get boring. There will always be someone out there who will stand up and tell you that you still owe a little.

Buffyfest: While rewatching the Angel series, were there any episodes or story arcs that struck you as being really exceptional?

Bill Williams: I loved the Fifth Season of Angel. It had excellent episodes like Harm's Way and Time Bomb, but the best of that season had to be the finale, Not Fade Away. That episode tied together long-running sub-plots, gave a few characters a graceful way off of the stage and wrapped the series up in grand fashion with a big bold statement. I did a podcast recently and the same question came up about Buffy. People picked the low-hanging fruit naming 'The Body' or the musical or 'Hush', which are all fine episodes. I picked the episode that starts Season 3, 'Anne' where Buffy is miserable because she has cut out her friends and family and because she is denying her basic nature. Thankfully in that episode, events conspire to get Buffy back in the game in that Hell Factory in a tremendous kick ass action sequence. By fully accepting the role of the Slayer, it sets the tone for the next few seasons.

Buffyfest: Are there any characters from Angel that you find yourself feeling especially connected to, that you really identify with?

Bill Williams: I love Electric Gwen Raiden and managed to work her into the Eddie stories as soon as I could. When it comes to the writing, I'm a crime guy so I love Gwen because she is always playing some sort of angle. She's always running a scam. Gwen is not as squeaky clean as the rest of Team Angel. She's more fun to bounce off of the more heroic, honest characters.

Buffyfest: If you could tell a story anywhere in the continuity other than what's happening now, where would it be?

Bill Williams: I would love to write an Angel story that is a pulpy bit of Chandler-era LA demon noir. They used that approach on the Angel stories with some luck in the first season or two of the television series. Angel was established in LA in the Hotel Hyperion- centric episode titled 'Are You Now or Have You Ever Been.' Maybe the story of Angel's 100 years in Hell after Buffy ran him through with a sword and kicked him into a gate might be a fun challenge too.

Buffyfest: Chris Ryall said in our last interview that he wanted to steer clear of telling too many crossover stories but, if you could take Angel (or any other character in his universe) and team him up with/pit him against any other established character, who would they be and why?

Bill Williams: How much fun would a Spike/ Blade the Vampire Slayer buddy road-trip project be? It would be like the movie Midnight Run but with way more stabbing. Maybe a zombie-fighting Angel/ Lone Ranger western in old New Orleans would be entertaining. The nice thing about Whedon's creations is that they are strong enough to stand in almost any genre and any era.

Buffyfest: You’re in a demon karaoke bar seeking guidance: what song do you sing and what are you drinking to build up your courage to get on stage?

Bill Williams: Hurm. If I wanted to maintain my geek cred, I would say "We Used to be Friends" by The Dandy Warhols which was used as the theme to TV's Veronica Mars, but it would more probably be something by Dean Martin. Last night, I was at a place called The HiBall in Austin and I had a few ripping good Old Fashioneds. I think that maybe the bourbon would make me sing better. It would certainly help if the audience had a few.

Our thanks to Bill Williams for taking the time to talk with us. The more I hear from this new creative team, the more excited I get. Stay tuned for tomorrow when Bill Willingham will join us.

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