Sunday, January 18, 2009

Mercedes Bites! An Exclusive Interview with Mercedes McNab

With Harmony being the main focus in the Buffy Comic right now, we thought it would be a great time to catch up with Miss Harmony Kendall herself, the lovely Mercedes McNab, and get her take on the resurgence of the character she played for 8 years. She was so great to take the time to talk to me, along with Tee, and is amazingly down to earth in person. We here at Buffyfest have spoken about this at length, and all agree that Harmony would not have the longevity she's had as a character if not for the way Mercedes portrayed her over the years: ditsy but slick, weak but strong, "the popular girl" yet relatable. So, sit back and enjoy the many musings of Ms. McNab.

Buffyfest: Let's start by talking about the the Buffy Season 8 Comic that Joss Whedon just put out. Have you heard anything about it?

Mercedes McNab: A little bit. I definitely heard that there's a Harmony one coming out.

B: It actually came out already. Harmony's the star of a reality show, "Harmony Bites"!

MM: Yeah, I also saw a little bit about it on the Mtv site. There's a lot that's been written about it and that Jane [Espenson] was the one that wrote it. So, I know a little bit about it, but I haven't seen the actual comic book yet.

B: How do you feel about your character creating such a buzz all these years later?

MM: I think it's flattering, I mean that people will take an interest in my character. I don't know if it has anything really to do with me, I think it has more to do with the writing and the writing of my character, especially since now it's you know, now in a comic book format. Um, and I think Jane [Espenson] definitely knows how to write for Harmony really well. It's really funny and I think the reality series idea is perfect for the Harmony character.

click below to hear the audio of Mercedes' answer

B: Did you see the cover?

MM: I did. It was with the two dogs and funny enough I have a dog that looks like one of those dogs.

B: The likeness is spot on. It's basically a perfect portrait of

MM: I know it's pretty crazy. It'd be fun to have in my collection of things for posterity and the grandkids, ya know, "Oh, I was also in a comic book."

B: Right, I'd want to frame it and put it on my wall.

MM: I know!

B: Okay, so let's talk about the film you did called The Pink Conspiracy.

MM: Yeah, it just came out on DVD a couple of months ago.

B: How was working on it with Sarah Thompson [Eve from Angel Season 5] again?

MM; Well, she's really lovely to work with. She's just a really nice girl. So, we had fun and it's always nice to be reunited with people you worked with in the past because there's a familiarity there. It was a different character, but again my character didn't like her character, so we kind of had that down pat and it was easy. This time I didn't have to be violent with her.

B: Right, haha. Can you tell us a little bit about the movie?

MM: It's a dark comedy and about a group of girls that get into a big conspiracy about the male gender. Basically, from the beginning of time girls have been conspiring against boys who they don't like and ruining their lives. It's definitely written from a guy's point of view (laughter). It's really funny and it was a great experience.

B: So you were in the Buffyverse from Buffy Season 1 to Angel Season 5? Which show did you prefer working on? Was it because of the story or the people on set?

MM: Well, I liked both shows and working on both shows. I enjoyed working with Spike and Harmony, those two characters the most. I really liked our relationship in Season 4 of Buffy
and how that kind of evolved. I liked working on Angel Season 5 just because I got to be there every day basically and more consistently as a regular rather than Buffy where I was just reoccurring. I would just show up here and there, ya know? As for hanging out with the cast and stuff, it was nice to be more familiar and get to know everyone and be there on the day to day [on Angel]. So on a personal level, I think it was more fun for me on Angel...but on Buffy I liked the story and what James [Marsters] and I got to do, I always looked forward to our scenes together.

B: I'm sure (laughter). Can you describe what it was like when you were filming the last episode of Angel, "Not Fade Away"?

MM: It was pretty sad. Everyone was a little bit in shock and overwhelmed and thinking "Wow". I think after 5 years or 8 years or whatever, you kind of take everything for granted and you just think you'll have this job and these people in your lives forever and then all of a sudden it just hits you, that it's not the case. I guess it could be likened to graduating from college or high school or something like that. The kind of uncertainty of what's going to happen next and also just being with these people, working with them for so long and not having them in your day to day life anymore. It's pretty sad.

B: So you were under the impression that you were going to have a Season 6 pretty close to the end, right?

MM: Yeah, we definitely did. We were kind of blindsided. So, we were all a little bit shocked.

B: Okay, this a fan question. Do you find that people who work on Joss Whedon's projects have an interaction and a relationship with fans that's different than any others?

MM: Definitely. I think with the conventions and all those kinds of things it gives the sci-fi community a chance to meet the actors. I think it's the genre of the show that helps that. There's more exposure to the people on the show and the fans. There's more of an opportunity for them to meet one another. Also, the way Joss writes so well is what makes you feel like you're a part of these people's lives. It's really intimate and the fans get a chance to live in their [the characters] lives. In that way, I think the fans are very close to us.

B: Does it surprise you that to this day people are interested in talking to you about your character and about that world?

MM: Definitely, yeah it is. As it gets further and further away, there's less stories I have to tell because it's getting further away in my memory so... and there's people who sometimes remember it like it was yesterday. Yeah, it's pretty surprising.

B: And you probably didn't expect it to go this long.

MM: No, definitely not. All I had was a few lines in the pilot and then I ended up going all the way to the last episode of Angel. I had no expectations what so ever. I thought I was just going to have a couple lines in the pilot and might never be heard from again.

B: That's so cool. That goes to show what a great character Harmony is. So, obviously we're Buffy and Angel fanatics because we still want to talk to you about it, but we wanted to ask you if you had any geek obsessions of your own?

MM: I don't know if they're geeky, but I really am obsessed with shoes.

B: So are we (everyone laughs).

MM: I think that's pretty much a feminine trait. Yeah, shoes and handbags, I'm pretty obsessed with.

B: They say you're either a bag girl or a shoe girl.

MM: I'm both. I wouldn't want to narrow it down to just one.

B: That's a good one (or not, depending.) We also wanted to talk about the popularity of vampires, in general, right now with Twilight and True Blood. Do you think there's a chance for a Buffy movie?

MM: I would hope so. I mean I would love to be a part of it if there was, but they better hurry up because we're all getting older and we're not suppose to, we're vampires. Yeah, so they better hurry up if they're going to do it. I would hope so, it would be a lot of fun. It's been long enough that the show's been off now and I think a lot of people would go to it.

B: So, you think it would be embraced, even by people who didn't watch the show?

MM: Yeah, because I feel like people who didn't watch the show have figured out that it was such a hit through DVD's and whatnot, so people can totally catch up. Where before when it didn't really exist. If there was a movie made out of a TV show you never saw, you would have no idea what was going on. Now with people having an interest in it and it's so hyped up, they could go back and watch the DVD's and then see the movie.

B: It does make you question if Buffy and Angel came out right now, what it would be like compared to when it originally aired.

MM: Yeah, it would probably be crazy. People have always been fascinated by that darker vampire life.

B: So, you've been on Supernatural, Reaper, and Psych and other TV shows since Angel ended. Do you have any other TV spots coming up?

MM: I think February 11th is the air date of a Criminal Minds episode I did, which is on CBS. It's a really dark show, to say the least. It's about serial killers. I get kidnapped by a serial killer and held hostage. I thought it was a really great acting experience for me. Actually, Nick Brendon is now on the show as a reoccurring character, so I got to see him at the table read which was nice. Yeah! I haven't seen it [the episode] yet, so I hope it's good. I'm pretty proud of it. I was proud of what I did while I was there.

click below to hear the audio of Mercedes' answer

B: What do you like about working on television?

MM: I like the consistency of it. Like with Buffy and Angel, you can be a guest star where you just pop in and be a totally different character then after a week you're done. Then you can go pop in somewhere else. Kind of jumping into other people's worlds – a cast and a crew that you don't know necessarily and try to figure out how to work with everybody in a new environment.

B: Do you have anything else coming up? Any projects you want to talk about?

MM: There's a few horror films coming out. Ones called XII, ones called Dark Reel. Those will be coming out soon. They were some independents that I did last year. So, keep a look out for those.

B: Great. Well, thanks so much for talking with us, Mercedes. We really appreciate it.

MM: You're welcome. Thank you for having me.

Check out Mercedes McNab's latest film The Pink Conspiracy and don't forget to watch the February 11th episode of Criminal Minds, Wednesday 9:00pm ET on CBS


Anonymous said...

Cool interview. It's great to see that the cast is still working.

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