20 Questions with Alias’ David Anders

December 7, 2005 No Comments »

David Anders is not British, which came as a surprise to many an Alias fan who easily fell for Sydney’s nemesis from across the pond with the flexible loyalties (although, mostly on the evil side). No matter, though, as he brought the hotness and snark with such flair. Perhaps this is why his appearance on December 7th’s show (“Bob”) is bringing back a slew of fans to an ailing show that will make its final bow this season.

A multi-talented man, Anders recently returned to his stage background this past summer in the rock musical “Beautiful,” and strummed his way onto a CSI: Miami episode this season. He talks to PopGurls about his musical interludes, his dance skillz and of course, his alter-ego, Sark.

1. Word just came out that this will be Alias‘ last season — were you surprised that ABC made that decision?

The ratings have never been “stellar” by any means so I wasn’t really THAT surprised to hear news of the cancellation.

2. Sark — incredibly evil, yet incredibly sexy. Why do you think so many people are drawn to Sark despite the evilness? Or, really, in addition to the hot evilness?

I really have no clue as to why people dig what I do with Sark – well, I guess it could be how wicked terrific I am but, really, aside from that blaringly OBVIOUS answer – I got nothin’. (in JEST, JEST and more JEST.)

Honestly — the reason I think Sark has received such a warm welcome in spite of his oh-so limber loyalties and working primarily for the dark side, is [due to] the writing that has always been unbelievably consistent. I have always given the proper props to the writers because there is no show without JJ and so on down the line. They all have the penmanship and creative manipulatability (I KNOW ITS NOT A WORD) to make (to most) a completely ruthless, despicable dude with little morality and even littler regard for any other being than himself completely likable.

3. Do you think humor plays a big part in his popularity?

Humor is a big reason [Sark is so well-liked] — Sark has had a lot of cheeky one-liners that play in to the classic villain archetype and many respond to those types — it’s hard not to — and there is also the youth thing on my side, which brings the throngs of what I call the Boy Band Contingent and brings talk of the Sexy Spy stuff and deliciously evil crap. It’s always very, very flattering, to be being asked to go to proms in Valdosta, Georgia. Never in a hundred years would I have thought I would be recognized as the young British spy guy who killed his father and so on, but these are the cards I have been dealt by the show (SAG CARD INCLUDED!) and I am ever appreciative and never will forget the Sarkster even after this humble spy drama closes down in May.

So in response — Yeah, it’s the hot evilness.

4. Every evil mastermind needs a break once in a while – what do you think Sark does on his free time?

On every continent on the planet I bet all Jules does is work on his tan, refine his many languages, shoot his vast assorted vintage gun collection at crocodiles on his estate, and more important than any of the above mentioned he practices and practices past the point of Perfection in the art of LOVE (spooning included).

5. Honestly, how do you see the Sark/Sydney relationship: antagonistic brother/sister, antagonistic enemies or antagonistic “they’re going to end up in bed anyway, so why deny the attraction”?

She hates, he admires and desires, and they have reached the arrangement where in the event of a fight she dominates the shit out of him and he [either] runs or compliments her on her skillful beat down!

6. If you had to put together your Alias blooper reel, what would be on it?

Once Melissa George [who played Lauren] and I were repelling from a ceiling and I, wielding an ice pick, stabbed a dude in the neck and flipped around to land on my feet to throw the guy out of his security post and swap clothes. On one take, I flipped around like a floor gymnast with such rapidity that I lost control of my landing and I took an office chair and a man’s head straight to the “goodies” — you get the idea — and then Melissa came in on top of me and I did the keel over whilst cupping bit. Melissa started laughing and then realized “oh shit, are you ok?” and disappeared out of frame to ask me and the whole set erupted.

I took one for the team on that blooper — “TEAM FUNNY.” Definitely my favorite, and I think it may be on the 3rd season reel.

7. So, Merrin Dungey [who played Francie] called you out as a lovely kisser on Alias. You have had your fair share of lovely ladies to smooch as well – who’s been your most memorable Alias kiss?

Merrin was the first and her boyfriend at the time is a good friend of mine – kind of weird, like kissing a sister or your buddy’s lady, but nice. Melissa was great because we would game plan like a football squad, intent on making it hot as hell and we were given the most sexually bizarre stuff to do, so it was awesome. She is amazing to work with, hot and funny and charming and pretty much perfect in every way… I miss her. And recently, Rachel Nichols [who plays, well, Rachel] which was….well…. I guess you’ll see in a matter of hours.

8. You seem to sport a wide variety of hairstyles in your roles. Which do you prefer – the buzz cut or the longer locks?

I like the buzz cut, my girl likes the long – and the fans seem split. But I think lean toward the long and the curls in the back – never had a shaved head before in my life before the show so it was fun to find that I rather enjoyed not having hair.

9. How did you feel about the ‘stache you wore on Charmed? Or did you insist on it? Did it help you really, you know, FEEL the character?

It helped me and my upper lip feel itchy as hell – “magic shows” – what are ya gonna do?

10. What is the embarrassing story that your mother breaks out in mixed company?

My mother is so damn nice that she can’t help herself in elevators sometimes — she will introduce herself and her children on our descent and our reason for being in whatever city we are in and ask [the other people] to respond in kind — I’ve since forbid it, but back in the day it was bad.

11. How well do you rate yourself as a dancer? Always known to bust out on the dance floor or do you hang on the sidelines doing the “white man’s overbite”? Do you have a signature move?

I have been told that I’m like a hip-hop Baryshnikov. The last time I had a signature step it would have to been the “Kid and Play House Party lock feet with a buddy and unlock into a move backward thing” — pretty sure that is not the official name for it, but I use to do it in middle school.

12. What was the best holiday present you were ever given, and why?

LIFE! I don’t know – once I got, like, three starter jackets (everyone was wearing them and I wanted all of my favorite teams): one Vikings, one Blazers and one Twins — I did not expect three of them that year!

13. It seems that a lot of TV actors have been taking sabbaticals on the Broadway stage. You have an impressive stage background, but just made your NY theatre debut this summer in the Fringe Festival’s “Beautiful.” What did you most enjoy about the experience? What have you found to be your biggest challenge between performing live on stage, and creating a role on film?

This will be the only answer to a question where I will indulge in RIDICULOUS PRETENSE and talk about CRAFT so indulge me – Al Pacino said that acting in whatever medium is like walking on a high wire. In film, the wire is painted on the floor. On the stage, the wire is a 100 feet high without a net. I think that’s as accurate an analogy as I’ve ever heard on acting. I enjoy and fear and need both.

The vast majority of actors (GOOD actors) started on stage and, on those stages, found out who they were. Once you perform on a stage, however big or small, to a receptive, laughing, crying, captivated, appalled, booing and/or walking out of the house audience you become aware of the power and necessity of acting. Depicting life, however that playwright has in mind, for a group of witnesses and feeling them feel with you is amazing and you don’t have time between takes or a corner to go think about and prepare for a scene like with film, but film is very difficult as well in its own right – I have found so far in my journey that it is about a certain stillness and learning the tricks of the film trade – I have been very lucky to have been able to learn on the job and from the likes of Ron [Rifkin], Victor [Garber], Jen [Garner] and the entire the ALIAS gang – cast and crew.

14. So, you’ve got a background in musical theatre and had a role in “CSI: Miami” as an aspiring singer. Any plans to release any original material?

As for an upcoming release, the answer is nugatory. But I have had some inclinations to start a band – I want to call it “Meat Corset” or “Jerry Lewis Farrakhan” — my friends aren’t very enthusiastic or supportive in my pursuits, which I find a bit odd — I think those are totally normal rock band names!

15. Moving from Oregon to LA, what was the first thing that happened when you got to LA to make you think, “Whoa, Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore…”

I was 18, alone and without the safe structures of a university or conservatory, so one would think that the culture shock thing would be the case but it really wasn’t — I always thought of myself more of a big city person in a big city multi-cultural family (my eldest brother is black and my sister is Vietnamese) – and I really wanted to be here and had a real drive to get to where I am now and to be doing what I am doing now.

16. What’s the best pick-up line you’ve ever heard? How about the best one you’ve used?

I don’t really know any pick up lines, ‘cause I’ve always been terrible at picking up the gals in bar situations — luckily my girlfriend of three-plus years came up to ME with the old “are you the guy from….” line – so I didn’t have to embarrass myself and show my lack of game.

17. Your resume calls out a guest-starring role in So Little Time, an Olsen twins series. Do your friends tease you about that, or are they really just jealous?

At the time I had never done anything on camera, so I jumped at the chance to do the show and say the three lines of dialogue I had – hell, I would have done a show with Dave Coulier at that point in my career! My friends that had that ridiculous countdown-until-the-Olsens-are -18-years-old-and-legal thing on their computers are the only jealous ones. Thank god I don’t have any of those friends.

18. Sark’s role was changed from a regular character to a recurring character. Would you rather be a regular character that competes for storylines or a recurring one that has fewer episodes, but knocks each one out of the ballpark?

It was not difficult to see that Sark in season three was becoming a bit one-note. Hopefully, I was not to blame for that and I don’t think that to be the case – but I think that any good villain in film or TV has to have that wildcard factor of not knowing what they’re gonna do next and that’s precisely what made Sark great. But in seasons two and three, I became contracted for every episode and that element of mystery was compromised in episodes in which Sark didn’t have any involvement in furthering story but was defending a Laboratory and its experiments.

19. When did you realize that you had some sort of fame?

When I was visiting home (up in Oregon) and eating dinner with my parents, and our waiter, chucking restaurant waiter decorum, was compelled to tell me that “I was the best villain on TV.” I had only done a few episodes at that point and it was one of, if not, THE first times someone recognized me. It was a very unexpected and flattering compliment. It was also the first time my parents realized that people (not many) knew who I was and were responding to what I was doing. It was fun for them and for me, too, not only to be noticed, as it always is, but to see how happy and proud it made my folks.

20. Will we see you popping up on a CSI again soon?

Uh, yeah — CSI:Branson, MO…kidding. No CSI‘s in the immediate future. There is a CSI :Miami in the recent past though – I played a musician accused of murder in part one of the New York/Miami crossover.

It was surprising to be offered a part on CSI: Miami after being on the original in a role that I was told would be returning this season. I guess any qualms regarding a possible world-blurring conflict ended up moot because I don’t think the former minor league baseball playing toxicologist will be back in the lab. Maybe he got another shot at “The Show,” to quote Bull Durham.

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