James Marsters has played a villain in numerous science-fiction television series (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Smallville, Torchwood) and is now taking that love of villainy into film, where he will be playing the evil Lord Piccolo in Dragonball. Talking to TV Guide, Marsters gave a run-down of the villains he is scheduled to play, beginning with Braniac on the CW's Smallville.
Asked about what Braniac was currently up to, Marsters answered "He's gone from trying to rule the world to trying to survive, hanging out with tramps, warming his hands over open fires. My wardrobe is way cooler, and I get to eat a rat. I assume he'll soon be back with his machinations and making life tough for Clark. What was really fabulous was that I got to work with Marc McClure, who played Jimmy Olsen in the Christopher Reeve Superman movies. He plays a scientist. I can probably say he's a good scientist." Marsters explained why he was happy to return to the show. "I really like working with the cast, and I loved it in Season 5 when the audience didn't know what I was there for. That was pretty delicious."
Marsters wasn't willing to explain much about where Dragonball was currently at, but he had a lot of praise for the work being done on it. "Dragonball is the coolest television cartoon in the last 50,000 years. Its only failing is that the female characters aren't drawn well - we're going to fix that in the movie," Marsters said. He continued, "It's got a Shakespearean sense of good and evil and there are incredible action scenes with characters of unbelievable power. It's going to be really visually exciting. I was told the budget is about $100 million."
While he wouldn't reveal any spoilers about the film, Marsters was willing to describe a bit about his character:
Lord Piccolo. He's thousands of years old and a very long time ago he used to be a force of good but got into a bad argument and was put into prison for 2,000 years. It got him very angry, and he finds a way to escape and then tries to destroy the world. The cool thing is, anybody who has seen Dragonball knows that Lord Piccolo transforms into a character named Piccolo, and that is a whole other ball of wax. That is one of the most popular characters in the whole series. I've been told I'm working for people who will just flay me alive if I give too much information, but what I can tell you is the character is green, bald and has pointed ears. Heroic wouldn't be the wrong term by the end, but it's a long journey.
Marsters also had an explanation for why he enjoyed doing sci-fi work. "But you know, some of the writers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer are on the best shows around - Grey's Anatomy, 24 - you name it. And they all have the same complaint: "This is great, but I just want to have a big demon come out of a rift hole and suck someone into some interesting universe." I'm like, "You're on 24, man. There could be nuclear war at any time!" And he's, "Yeah, it's boring. I'm stuck to reality! So long as Marsters wants to remain in the realm of the fantastic, fans will no doubt be looking for his next appearance.
Smallville airs on the CW Thursday nights. The show, which tells the tale of a young Clark Kent before he became Superman is in it's Seventh Season, and stars Tom Welling, Michael Rosenbaum, Kirsten Kruek and Allison Mack.