Mark Lutz

Mark Lutz plays Cordelia's recent love interest, The Groosalugg, in Angel. With the 3.2 VHS boxset due to be launched by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment on 19 August 2002 Keri Allan caught up with him when he attended the Caritas convention...

Keri Allan: How long are you in London for and are you going to get some free time to see some of the sights?

Mark Lutz: That's a good question. That changes by the hour, but I think we're here till tomorrow night then we're off to Glasgow and then Leeds and then back to Glasgow its all very confusing! I got to go to Stonehenge yesterday which was something I wanted to do so I got to do that, and that was very cool. I have a friend of mine that lives in London and my brother lives in London so we just headed out there.

KA: How did you get the part of the Groosalugg?

ML: Well I got a call one day and I guess they were having a little bit of trouble finding the exact fit in terms of what they were looking for for the character of this guy for angel. SO I guess I just went in and had literally 3 auditions that day and I went and read for the casting director, then came back and read for Tim Minear and David Greenwalt, and then later that day I read for Joss and I got the job that way.

KA: I hear you had to go through some changes before they got your look right. What did that involve?

ML: Originally I think the Groosalugg was supposed to be gold in colour - not unlike an Oscar statuette. I had to go through a series of make-up tests. Originally they painted me gold from head to toe which was dreadful. That took about an hour and a half maybe a little longer, but they didn't like it. When they did a film test for that the gold looked green on camera and so then they tried silver. With silver the only thing they could get that would work was this terrible stuff that would rub off on anything you touched so that was useless.

So then they decided that they would try making him blue. They made me up and I was ready to go on and shoot and the director for that episode, Tim Minear, turned around and looked at me and he said: "Mark, go home". And I couldn't believe it and I said: "Aren't I in the next scene?" To which he replied: "No, go home. You like you've were buried under a frozen lake for 10 years. You look terrible! I want you to just come back tomorrow with no make up". I was so happy (Laughs). That was the evolution of the Groosalugg. Gold to silver, to blue, to skin tone.

KA: What's the atmosphere like on set? How long do your days last?

ML: I'd say they probably average about 15 hour days, certainly for the crew. They are there a little bit earlier and a little bit later than for me. Probably between 12-15 hour days as a general rule. And on average we get the scripts about a week, five days before we shoot. But some mornings you come in and they've changed whole scenes. So you'll get there first thing in the morning and the pages you thought you were shooting aren't going to be the pages you are shooting.

KA: How well do you guys all get on there?

ML: I was really lucky because I had only been in Los Angeles for about two months when I got the role in Angel, so I knew a handful of people at best and I made some great, great friends on the show. I mean Andy [Hallet] is now my next door neighbour, I got a house right next to him. And J, [J. August Richards] is just a great, great guy. We also play hockey with David. So I've been fortunate in Angel, it has provided me with some really great work, but also a friend base, so its been a blessing on many levels.

There is a certain amount of high jinx on set, and I think part of the reason for that is that everyone gets on so well, so there's quite a lot of fun on the set, much to the chagrin of some of the producers. Alexis did a scene without his pants on once. Of course the camera doesn't see that, but everyone else does.

One thing I was joking about with Andy recently was when we were doing a scene where I had to carry Amy through to the lobby to meet Gunn. Right before the take Andy whispered some very nasty things in my ear and there was "Action" right afterwards. I was laughing so hard I first put my head down and then turned around because I was leading the group into the hotel lobby, so I had to turn around and look back at him like my character was looking back to make sure they were alright, but in reality I was looking back because I couldn't keep a straight face because I was laughing so hard!

KA: You've been travelling around the World doing conventions recently. What have been the high points for you?

ML: When we were in Sydney we went go see a concert at the Sydney Opera House, a tribute concert for the Dali Lama and I was sitting not two feet away from him. That was a huge highlight. We also got to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge and went scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef.

When I was over here the in the UK the first convention we did was right by Tower Bridge, and I got to go to the Tower of London and I got to go Stonehenge yesterday, which is very cool for me. I'm very much into history and all that so it was fascinating. The people would also be one of the highlights. We've met some amazing people.

KA: What have you found the UK fans to be like?

ML: Very friendly, very vocal (laughs), very dedicated to the show. I mean they ask some great questions. Sometimes you get the same questions over and over again, so the questions they were coming up with made us go ah well, Ill have to think about that one. So very well informed, and delightful. One of them shocked me the other day One of the questions they asked me was: "If you were a bird..." I was waiting for "what kind of bird would you be" or something, but they said: "who would be the first person you'd crap on?" That was an interesting question! But yeah questions are mostly on the realm of the show, so questions that really stand out are the ones that make you do a double take.

KA: Are you back for the next series of Angel?

ML: I cant comment on that..

KA: Ok then, have you got other work lined up for when you get back?

ML: Yeah actually my brother and I have formed a production company. He's a lawyer here in London. We've got the rights to the story of a Canadian swimmer, basically his life story.

KA: Is it true that you used to be a swimmer yourself?

ML: Yes, me and my brother swam for many years and competed for Olympic trials and nationals and world cups and things like that so the project is one very close to our hearts. The guy who is at the centre of the movie was a very flamboyant swimmer and died very tragically at the age of 25 after setting a world record that wasn't beaten for like 12 years after he died. It's very close to our hearts and I will be playing the main character, as I seem to have an uncanny resemblance to him, so it should be good.

KA: So how did you make the move from swimmer to actor, did you always plan to act?

ML: It was always absolutely the plan since I was a little kid. I swam competitively since the age of seven so I obviously wanted to take that as far as I could, but there was no way I was going to go to university and swim for four hours a day and be in the weight room an hour a day and try and pursue any kind of acting career, but being at school and working that way was a good way to combine the two. So I went to university and got a degree in political science that I never use, (laughs).

KA: So is there anyone you'd really like to work with, or anything you'd like to do next if the opportunity arose?

ML: Oh there's a list - I could and tell you all day the people I would love to work with, probably at the moment there's this guy, Jean Reno a French actor I think he's awesome. Him and Steve Martin would be two of my big ones, I've been a big fan of his since being a kid. I'd love to o do a comedy.

I started off in comedy in Toronto and that's one of the reasons I got the role of the Groosalugg because I was the only actor they had seen going in there.

KA: What would you most like to see your character do next?...

ML: I don't know, that's a great question. Maybe he'll head over to Sunnydale, hang with Buffy for a while, move onto Buffy! (laughs)

KA: Thank you for your time.

There will be more conventions later this year, including events in October with first confirmed guests being Adam Busch (Warren), Danny Strong (Jonathan) and Tom Lenk, (Andrew). These are being held in both London and Glasgow. For more details check out

With thanks to Paula Cope at DSA

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