INTERVIEW: Charisma Carpenter

Published on, Apr 2015



Having made a name for herself in genre TV, former Buffy/Angel star Charisma Carpenter tells Daniel Cribb her debut into the erotic romance genre was a “horrifying” and regrettable experience.

You’ll often hear of actors having similar personalities to their on-screen characters, and for Charisma Carpenter, her easy-going, fun attitude bears a striking resemblance to her defining role as Cordelia Chase on Joss Whedon’s Buffy and Angel. “I’m staring at my son right now, staring at me with my dog on my lap. He’s doing homework on a skateboard, staring at me, wondering what I’m doing on the phone in his room, ” Carpenter begins.

She’ll be returning to Australia for Supanova, but is quick to point out she’s no stranger to Australia. “Heck yeah! I love Australia. I love Melbourne, I’m so excited to go to the Gold Coast – I’ve never been. My partner used to be Australian so he and I took my son down there a few times. He had family on the Great Dividing Range. We did all the good stuff, all that touristy stuff.”

Supanova will see another reunion with former Buffy and Angel co-star James Marsters. “We hadn’t really spent much time together on Buffy or Angel because on Angel, when he came on I was gone. I didn’t really have scenes with him that much, so I didn’t know him that well, even though we had basically done like ten years of television together. We never really spent much time together until we worked as scene partners and husband and wife on Supernatural.”

Since the shows wrapped up, Carpenter has also worked on Veronica Mars, Charmed, Burn Notice and the film, The Expendables, among others and this year the erotic romance film, Bound. But as she explains, it isn’t something she’s likely to revisit. “It’s very difficult to be that vulnerable… I had a great conversation with the director, and I thought we were on the same page, but time dictated a lot that took away from exploring aspects of the character that I would’ve liked. And I had a difficult time communicating with producers over at Asylum, which I didn’t appreciate, and it was not my joy. So that was not a great experience or an experience I wish to recreate in the future in any way.”

Hosting Surviving Evil is keeping her busy enough as it is. “It talks about people that have been through these terrible, tragic experiences where they were kidnapped, or picked up, kidnapped and held hostage by a serial killer, or domestic violence – these terrible, terrible things that have happened and then they’ve survived.

“And it just tells these stories about these horrible events and then how amazing and well-off that experience… It’s just really honest storytelling, not sensationalised in any way or exploited. It’s something I’m very proud to be associated with.”

Last year, she featured in a special detailing her own sexual assault in her early 20s. “There’s been a lot of distance between doing the show and the events that transpired that night. So, a lot of healing, and a lot of therapy, and everything. So there was no trauma around retelling the story – it was actually very healing.”