Vincent Kartheiser

Vincent Kartheiser plays the part of Connor in
Angel. Born and raised in Minneapolis and the youngest of six children, Kartheiser trained at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis. He performed in several stage productions including A Christmas Carol when he was just six years old. Since then, Kartheiser has had leading roles opposite Thora Birch, James Woods, Melanie Griffith and Andy Garcia. Kartheiser has also made guest appearances on the television series ER. Keri Allan caught up with him as season four, part I of Angel was due for release on video...

Keri Allan: How did you find out about the role of Connor?

Vincent Kartheiser: Well, actually it was sent to me by my agent. Originally he wasn't even called Connor and he wasn't even Angel's son. I was actually just booked as "street kid". So I went in and they told me it was a good role, but they couldn't quite tell me what it was. They did say that it was going to be three episodes at the end of this year and then they might pick me up for season four.

So I went in and auditioned with a very basic script - nothing too special, nothing giving away the identity of my character - and I got the part and then they told me who the character was. I was excited.

KA: As you came in as the new guy, what was it like fitting into an established team?

VK: Well, in those kind of circumstances I'm rather shy, and I was really, really nervous. I showed up and there they all were, seven actors all sitting round the couch telling inside jokes with one another and laughing. Amazingly within a couple of weeks, I really felt welcomed by quite a few of them and really part of their family and half way through the next season I was one of the gang. This cast is extraordinarily nice and there is such a great ambience on set.

KA: I heard that there's actually quite a few tales of practical jokes on set. Have you instigated any or been involved in any yet?

VK: No, I'm not that close! [laughs], but everyone else gets to do them to me. They tease me endlessly, but other than that there was no other physical practical joke that was played on me or for my benefit. I'm quite boring, I think.

KA: Do you spend much time with the guys off set?

VK: Yeah. I mean you spend so many hours a day with them, for five days in a row and the last thing you wanna do is say: "Hey, you wanna come over on Sunday?" But I think on the hiatus here I probably will, because I wont be seeing them every day. You know what I mean?

KA: Yeah. So how do you relax when you're finally off set then?

VK: I'm a homebody. I'll come home and if dinner isn't ready I'll help cook it, and rent a video or watch a sports game on TV and maybe play some games on the Internet. On a weekend I might go hiking, bowling or maybe I'll go out to dinner with my girlfriend or something, but I don't do anything too incredibly exciting.

I'm not like gonna go hike the Andes or anything like that. You know how it is when you work all week its like, ooh time off, I think ill just sit right here!

KA: So have you had much fanmail as Connor? A lot of people consider you the show's new heartthrob! What's that like?

VK: Oh I haven't gotten any fanmail and I think the main reason for that is I told my managers years ago that when you get the fan mail just file it somewhere. Oh, that sounds so evil, doesn't it?! [Laughs] Quite mean, but to be really honest with you 99.9 % of actors never even see their fanmail. We appreciate it, I appreciate the fans, but - I don't even know how many I get. Maybe its one a week, maybe its 1000 a week, maybe its 20 000, I wouldn't even know but if I was to go through them all I would have paper cuts. I mean, what am I gonna do, send a letter back to each of them on my day off?

So I wouldn't really know about my fans, and also I told my managers - 'cos I'm real shy about that kind of thing - I don't really wanna know if I have fans, you know, its great that they like me, but I'm very reclusive. I'd much rather pretend that nobody knows my name and I'm a nobody.

KA: You attended your first convention this summer, after talking about fans, what was that like for you?

VK: Oh my god! The people are great and I was terrified that I was going to show up and meet this bunch of nerdy people, but they're great! They're regular people, they're lovely people. You know, 99% of them were completely respectful of our time and personal space and are really good people who like the show a lot, and that's terrific. It's just that its not something I encounter a lot. You know, I live a life of anonymity and to be in a situation where thousands of people know who you are by sight, it's a unique experience, and quite a rush at times and quite a burden at others so it's a mixed blessing.

KA: Would you say you enjoyed it?

VK: I enjoyed the convention overall, but would I want to live my life with that kind of response every time I walked into a room? Absolutely not. It's quite scary. Because people feel like they know you and understandably so, but I wouldn't want that every time I went to the grocery store or every time I stopped at a red light I wouldn't want people looking in my car and going crazy. You know, walking on a stage and hearing cheering is - I felt like Paul McCartney!

KA: Going back to Connor, it comes across as if he has inherited his fathers brooding side. Is there much of you in that character?

VK: Yeah, I mean there's some of me in that character, but no I'm a very light hearted person in most circumstances. I should say, on the exterior, I'm a very light person. I tend to like to make jokes and I'm sarcastic and I'd like to think I'm witty and funny and I don't take myself seriously. But I also have that other side of me when I feel I've been improperly treated or if I feel I'm not happy with something I've done and I'm not happy with myself. I think everyone has more than one side to them.

KA: You've had to play the angry kid all this year. What would you like to see Connor do if another season is made?

VK: Well, yeah it has been kind of the angry kid hasn't it? But that's how they wrote me, you know what I mean? There's not much you can do when they write you that way, so you just play it as honestly as you can. And I don't really have anything to say about next season. We'll wait until we get picked up before I start to speculate [Laughs].

KA: But would you like to see yourself do something a little more light hearted? lighter comedy? Or is it easier to play that kind of character?

VK: No, they're equally difficult. Comedy is actually really, really hard and I take my hat off to anyone who does it successfully. But yeah, I always look forward to changes in the character.

KA: I know you've done a lot of acting before, is this the first time you've done episode acting?

VK: Yes. It's very different to film. The process is very different. On film you have much more time, there's much more collaboration, and you know what you're getting yourself into. You read the script and that's the script you're going to do. Whereas on TV you get a new script two days before you're shooting, so you don't know what your character's going to do until you get the new script, and then there's really no rehearsal. Collaboration is there, but depending on the director, it can be a lot of collaboration or it can be very minimal.

I have a lot of respect for people who do it well. I have a lot of respect for David Boreanez, for the amazing job he's done for years and years, and I take my hat off to anyone who can continually work those kind of hours day after day and still come out with amazing performances. It's difficult. I'm not gonna say that its any harder than anything else, but it is trying.

KA: Would you consider doing some more, or would you prefer film?

VK: I prefer film, but I would definitely consider doing more. As an actor you have to be open to everything and I try not to judge things by their category - by theatre, TV or film - I just judge them by their content. I was raised on the theatre in Minneapolis, but I haven't done it for seven or eight years now but, that's where my grounding is.

KA: Thank you for your time.

Angel season four: part one is available from 20th Century Fox from the 14 July 2003. RRP £34.99 (video)

Return to...

banner ad