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Monday, January 19, 2004


HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- David Boreanaz's first time directing probably won't be his last.

The star of The WB's Angel went behind the cameras for his directorial debut with "Soul Purpose," the episode that airs this Wednesday, and from all indiciations, things went swimmingly.

"David directed as well as anybody we've had -- and that's really embarrassing," joked series executive producer, creator and frequent director Joss Whedon.

Whedon and the cast of Angel assembled at The WB's Winter Press Tour for the Television Critics Associaiton, where they talked about the show's fifth season and upcoming episodes.

Boreanaz said his directing gig was "a very pleasurable experience," although sometimes disconcerting.

"It's pretty bizarre when you're directing and then you're acting in it and you're trying to remove yourself from it. It's a very strange experience," said Boreanaz, who is also starring in the latest Crow film, Wicked Prayer.

"For me, these guys (cast mates) are fantastic. They know what they're doing. The notes are so minimal. They do their job. They come in, they hit their marks and they're professional. And I allow them to grow creatively and allow their space to almost make it as a whole, rather than an individual thing -- which I like to see the show as. I let their wings fly creatively and I want to keep that energy alive."

In "Soul Purpose," a mysterious stranger approaches Spike, claiming responsibility for recorporealizing him in a mission to guide Spike in supplanting Angel (David Boreanaz) as the new vampire champion. Meanwhile, Angel is racked by intense fever dreams and hallucinations of his worst fears intensifying his worries that he will lose authority to Spike.

Whedon said his series star handled the episode's challenges well.

"There is nothing that can prepare you for directing -- it's just different from everything. It's such a crap shoot and I didnšt know how these guys would relate to each other," Whedon said. "The amazing thing to me wasn't just that the performances were up to snuff -- because that is something you would expect an actor to understand -- but the camera work and all of the setting and the lighting were beautifully done."

James Marters, who plays Spike, also praised Boreanaz.

"Overall David was fabulous as a director," he said. "I had people from the crew come up to me and say, 'Can you please lobby the producers to have David back? When we're really tired, at the end of the season, a bad director can break us, so please get David back.' I hope he directs two or three season -- I'm serious.

"He had a confidence about him that normally first-time directors normally lack. He was so confident, and we all relaxed."

Andy Hallett, who plays Lorne, said that Boreanaz relied on his personal experience with the cast.

"There was a scene where I required a little bit more energy to enjoy the moment more," Hallett said. "And he said, 'This is what I need you to do. And it didn't work the first time. So he came back and said, 'Pretend you're performing with Patti LaBelle right now.' It was an example that he know I would really get. So it was neat to see him take all these personalities and tie them all together."

Boreanaz directing is probably the closest thing to a sweeps stunt that Angel will have this season -- not that one is necessary. Ratings are critical reviews have been solid for the show in the fifth season.

"The law offices have changed our perspective, how we relate to each other," Boreanaz said. "And I think each character now can stand on its own and deliver a great telling of the story of what's happening."

Click on the thumbnails below for images from "Soul Purpose" and look for more on Angel soon here in The Continuum.

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