Onscreen, David Boreanaz has been a serial killer, fought with vampires, and solved the toughest murder cases in the land. So, while he and the rest of Hollywood took a strike break, Smoke took the opportunity to talk to the real David about his thoughts on dogs as talent scouts, the craft of acting, and cigars on the golf course. From Buffy the Vampire Slayer to his latest hit Bones, Boreanaz explains it all.
By Evan Dashevsky;
has his dog to thank for his career, a fact he absolutely confirms from his California home while on a writers’ strike scheduled holiday—kind of. “Well, that helped kind of push the career along. I mean, that is a true story; I was walking my dog and a talent scout saw me on the street. Then from there, I got my manager, which led to me getting my first acting jobs.”
Photos by John Russo
See, it was his dog. And while it may be ability that has sustained his career through three hit TV series, it was the fact that his dog needed some exercise one day that first got David’s toes in the industry door. Also, destiny wasn’t hurt by the fact he and his dog were walking in a cosmopolitan urban center where open-minded attitudes extend to the street level, dog-walking circuit. “He was trying to pick me up. It was a guy, he was homosexual. You know, he knew off the bat when he met me that I was very into females, so he knew he was going to strike out on that one. But I did some research and saw he was a reputable guy. So, yeah, walking my dog kind of led me to acting.”
So, that was how it started. A simple dog walk and a misread street infatuation in Los Angeles launched the career for the Buffalo-born, Philadelphia-bred son of a local weatherman. Boreanaz, the former high school jock and once-upon-a-time ball boy for the Pittsburgh Steelers, wasn’t taking his acting career too seriously until he moved out to California at the age of 22. “I didn’t really do well in acting class. They were kind of bizarre to me,” he recalls of his first awkward forays into dramatic training. “But then I had this one teacher who kind of transcended me into improvisational games and technique and things like that. That made sense to me. Then you know to work with people.” Sometimes instinct and real-life experience is all an actor needs. Boreanaz never fancies himself the future Olivier, but prides himself on being able to wax intelligently about his craft, considering himself to simply be “somebody who likes to be around experiences and moments of life, and portray those experiences and those emotions through characters.”
However, it probably wasn’t direct experience that helped David breath everlasting life into the character that launched him into superstardom. In 1997, David introduced the world to its most beloved vampire with a soul, Angel, on sci-fi teen angst phenomenon Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (For the uninitiated, here’s Angel in 60 words: born in Galway, Ireland in the 1700s, the womanizing son of a wealthy landowner becomes an immortal vampire and terrorizes Europe for a century or so before a gypsy curse returns his soul to him, thus giving him empathy for mankind. He eventually settles outside Los Angeles in the 1990s where he defends southern California from the forces of evil.) The role drew so much fan attention, Angel was given his own namesake spin-off, which ran for five seasons and developed a cult following for the young actor.
David has, more recently, left the gothic soap opera genre and moved into the forensic investigations realm with his Fox show Bones. At the time of the interview Bones was still “on break,” as he benignly put it. “Everyone’s pretty much shut down as far as Hollywood is concerned, we’re kind of in a holding pattern.” The show already had four pre-strike episodes in the can, but after producers and writers ironed things out, the show was back in production and the network plans to start airing new episodes in April. And then “how many episodes we do from there until May is dependent on how many we can get done, at least as the current season is concerned.”
In Bones, David portrays Special Agent Seeley Booth alongside Emily Deschanel’s forensic-nerd hottie, Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan. Every week the pair solve murders based on what they can extract from human remains in various states of decomposition. Bones is part of the larger “cops with corpses” trend that has taken over the hour-long TV crime genre. Everything from the ubiquitous CSI franchise down to the god-awful Navy NCIS is built around scene-after-scene of attractive actors leaning over piles of mangled body parts with beaker and UV-light in hand. So, how does Bones go about standing apart from all those other shows, like, say a Navy NCIS? “Well that’s a very procedural show—they heighten and explore the procedure of solving crime with DNA and blood. I actually don’t even like Bones when it goes in those directions, so I’m always spinning it in the character’s head—spinning it to what makes this character tick and make the character come out in the forefront rather than the B-story of the crime and the DNA… Even if we were in the lab or dissecting the DNA and the blood, I have to find ways to have Booth and Bones connect mentally, spiritually, hilariously. That’s what’s intriguing for the audience: to have a relationship with the characters, rather than the DNA. Some people really enjoy watching those other kind of shows, but that’s not what I like.”
But for a short while, David took a break from Bones as writers and producers worked to find a shared definition of “residual.” His time off from Bones wasn’t all vacation however. He recently finished shooting the sports drama Our Lady of Victory alongside Entourage’s Carla Gugino where he plays husband to the coach of the first col-
lege women’s basketball national champions. He also has been able to spend a lot more time with his wife Jaime Bergman, an actress and former Playboy model and their five-year old son at their vacation home in Park City, Utah. “We get up there as much as we can. I love being outdoors. I do some mountain biking. I took up fly fishing this year. And ice hockey—play tons of ice hockey.” He also does a bit of traveling to the east coast and hits up London when he can. And, of course enjoys a good “cedar-wrapped Fuente—that’s what I like. I’m more of a mild cigar guy. I don’t like hard Cubans, I like something smooth, not as heady. I always appreciate a fine cigar when I hang out down in Mexico. A good cigar always goes nice with some Sambuca—dip the tip in to it, makes for the perfect smoke. I’m also a big golf-smoker—when playing a round with the guys, I always enjoy a nice stogie.”
Boreanaz has certainly seen his hard work rewarded with three hit shows and a rabid following. He has done some film work before, such as 2001’s horror flick Valentine, but is starting to gear himself towards more thoughtful fare such as starring alongside Allen Cummings and Carrie Fisher in last year’s independent dark comedy Suffering Man’s Charity. Unfortunately, any more ventures into film might be in a bit of a holding pattern until the strike bottle neck works its way through. But on a positive note, that gives him plenty of time to, say, go for a nice walk with his dog and see where destiny takes him next.
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SMOKE - Spring, 2008
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