Nicholas Brendon is best known for his role as Xander Harris in the hugely successful cult TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer which ran from 1997 to 2003. To this day fans of the show come out in their thousands to meet the star at conventions all over the world. Nicholas first got into acting to overcome a stutter which led to him being named The Stuttering Foundation of America’s honorary chairperson from 2001 to 2003 following his dedicated work with the foundation. In more recent times he is known for his role as Kevin Lynch in Criminal Minds where he plays an FBI technical analyst and love interest to Penelope Garcia. Nicholas has been busy this year with convention appearances and filming both Criminal Minds and his new movies but he was kind enough to take some time to talk to us here at Following the Nerd. Here’s what he had to say.
FTN: Hi Nicholas, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us here at FTN. Firstly, you decided to become an actor to overcome a stutter. It was very brave of you to tackle this problem head on. How long did it take you to overcome and what advice would you give others with the same problem?
NB: I went to speech therapy and did tongue twisters like ‘A big black bug bit a big black bear’. Then I started acting – I thought it would be a really big challenge… and it was. It was nerve-wracking, but it also helped me focus more and I learned discipline.
I’d just tell others to keep working at it, maybe find a good speech therapist you can trust and who’ll work with you. Believe in yourself and you’ll get there.
FTN: You’re obviously best known for your part as Xander Harris in Buffy the Vampire Slayer… what was your favourite episode?
NB: Well, you have to put the musical aside, because that was just such a special, magical experience. I really enjoyed playing Renfield in Buffy vs Dracula. He was just a different character and I loved tapping into that. And he had some great lines: “Like any of that’s enough to fight the dark Master. Bater.” or “I’m finished being everybody’s butt-monkey.”
I also really loved The Zeppo. I remember when I first got the script, I closed it and it made me tear up a little – Xander was growing up.
I didn’t read comics when I was a kid. I tried one Archie comic, and I was like, “Nope”.
FTN: Buffy has such a massive cult following and you are in constant demand for convention appearances, did you ever think that people would still want to come out and meet the cast of Buffy so many years after the show ended?
NB: We knew the show was something special, but I had no idea it would have this kind of an impact. It’s been a really beautiful gift to still be able to meet so many wonderful fans, thanks to the show.
FTN: You have a recurring role as Kevin Lynch in Criminal Minds… can you give us any clues as to who is stalking the BAU team or what’s in store for Kevin and Garcia?
NB: I can’t – well, I could, but I don’t want to get these writers mad at me; have you seen what they do to characters on Criminal Minds?!
I don’t want to get these writers mad at me; have you seen what they do to characters on Criminal Minds?!
FTN: You just finished filming two movies, Morningside Monster and Big Gay Love. What can you tell us a bit about them?
NB: They were both a lot of fun – and completely different experiences, going from a horror movie to a gay romance. Which is why I love acting – you get to slip in and out of different characters, go from monsters and terror to being the love interest. I have a great job.
FTN: Nicholas, thanks once again for your time, before you go, Marc, the Following the Nerd chief has always thought you would make a great Peter Parker in Spider-man. Are you a fan and is this a part you would have liked to play yourself?
NB: I didn’t read comics when I was a kid. I tried one Archie comic, and I was like, “Nope”. I was more into baseball. But I’ve heard that a lot – some fans even had an online campaign when they were casting the role the first time. Being told you’d make a great version of an iconic superhero, though? I’ll take it!”