Few beings can stand face to face with the Lord of Hell and survive to tell the tale.
D.B. Woodside, however, does just that as “Lucifer’s” Amenadiel, the older brother to “God’s favorite son.” A veteran of genre television, most famously playing “Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s” Robin Wood, Woodside told CBR News he relished the opportunity to dig into the role, which presents him with the chance to leave his “suited-up” characters behind him in favor of one more action-oriented.
Loosely based on Neil Gaiman‘s Vertigo creation, and Mike Carey & Peter Gross‘ acclaimed series, Fox’s supernatural drama finds Lucifer bailing on his devilish duties to open a nightclub in Los Angeles and walk among the mortals. That doesn’t sit well with the Powers That Be, and Woodside’s warrior angel Amenadiel is sent to return his little brother to Hell. However, when Lucifer refuses, Amenadiel must trick, manipulate, lie — and perhaps use force — to complete his mission.
CBR News: When the script came your way, what was it about playing a role opposite Lucifer, the lord of Hell, that appealed to you?
D.B. Woodside: I’ve been a very fortunate and blessed actor to be able to work in a lot of different areas of television. One of the things I was really looking forward to was getting back to who I am, who D.B. truly is, which is a very physical person. There was something about being fortunate enough to be given this role, where I got a chance to get physical again, as opposed to being a suited-up guy. I was looking forward to doing something a lot more action-oriented, and this is that guy.
How was Amenadiel described to you and what did you want to bring to the character?
The way it was described to by Len Wiseman, who is one of our executive producers and also directed that killer pilot, is that he is a cross between the Amenadiel in Neil Gaiman’s comic book, but he’s also mixed with a lot of the archangel Michael. In our “Lucifer,” Amenadiel and Lucifer are actually brothers. Amenadiel is the good, unfortunately constantly-overlooked brother. What I really wanted to do was give this character, who is known as this force of nature — he’s known as “God’s favorite soldier” — some humanity and really try to make him likable, so that viewers would be able to understand Amenadiel’s motivations.
Amenadiel is God’s favorite soldier, but Lucifer is God’s favorite son. How much jealousy is brewing between the two of them? Do you sense any sibling rivalry?
Absolutely. There’s always that sibling rivalry, especially between brothers. I have an older brother, so I know what that is like. There is something about the older brother always paving the way. Amenadiel is the older brother that always does the right thing. He always does what their father tells him to do. And yet, Lucifer is the one that has always been the favorite son. Lucifer is always the one who seems to get away with everything. Lucifer is also the one who seems to get the most attention. As the season progresses, we will start to see Amenadiel’s jealousy overtake him and force him to do things he wouldn’t normally do.
With Lucifer distracted on Earth, why hasn’t Amenadiel seized the opportunity to take over Hell? Why is it so important for him to restore Lucifer as the realm’s rightful ruler?
If Lucifer doesn’t go back to the Underworld, Amenadiel’s fear is that he’ll be sent there to overlook Hell, and that’s the last thing he wants to do. Amenadiel is used to being the warrior or the soldier. He’s used to battle. The idea of having to go down to Hell, when he is a creation and creature of Heaven, is something that is just terrible for him. He cannot even conceive of that. We will find out Amenadiel has indeed been the one who has taken Lucifer’s place in Hell and it’s tearing him apart. He wants order to be restored so he can basically go back home.
One of Amenadiel’s allies in all of this is Lucifer’s consort, Maze, but she’s a demon. What’s his thought process behind aligning himself with the likes of her?
I don’t think Amenadiel can trust Maze at all. Maze is Lucifer’s right-hand. What I think that he’s counting on is Maze wanting to go back to Hell. They both have the same common goal. Maze wants Lucifer to go back to Hell. Amenadiel wants Lucifer to go back to Hell. They both have the same goal, so it’s only a matter of time before they really start to team up in order to send Lucifer back.
To achieve that goal, Amenadiel weasels his way into the life of Lucifer’s psychiatrist, Dr. Linda Martin. How does that play out? What does he want from her?
Amenadiel realizes that Lucifer is really becoming mortal. Amenadiel senses a danger in this, because Lucifer is really starting to embrace his mortality. That means Lucifer might change and Amenadiel might have to remain in Hell. That’s the last thing that he wants. In his mind, if he can get inside the mind of Dr. Linda, then maybe he can plant some seeds so that she can manipulate Lucifer and force him to go back to Hell.
Amenadiel always comes across as grim and broody. How much did you enjoy him finally breaking out a smile in “Sweet Kicks?”
I loved it. There’s something about him having no sense of humor that I love. We all have friends like that. They are very serious and intense. We will definitely start to see Amenadiel lighten up. Right now, he’s not realizing it, but even he is starting to slowly change while being on Earth. It’s one of those things where the more time these angels spend on Earth, the more they start to embrace their own humanity. As you’ve been watching Lucifer deal with that, it also starts to happen to his older brother. We’re going to start to see some changes in him and realizing he is becoming jealous. Maybe Amenadiel realizes he does have feelings for Maze that he’s not used to. All sorts of things are going to start to pop up the longer Amenadiel remains on Earth.
What else can you tease about what’s in store for Amenadiel this season?
What I can say is tonight’s episode is everyone’s favorite. That’s the one that sets the season off. After that, Lucifer is going to come to his older brother because he needs his help. Amenadiel and Lucifer team up to retrieve this very important item that has been stolen from Lucifer. We’re going to get a chance to see the two brothers being brothers and see how different they are. The resolve of that sends them both in very different directions for the rest of the season.
At Comic-Con International, you sported a Green Lantern t-shirt. Whether it’s Hal Jordan, John Stewart or Guy Gardner, what appeals to you about the Green Lantern Corps?
The whole series and the characters have always been one of my favorites. I grew up as a comic-book guy, so I love these characters. We’re living in a superhero bubble right now that I am hoping will never burst. And, maybe I was wearing a Green Lantern t-shirt because I’m trying to get into the minds over at DC as they are looking for their Green Lantern. “Open up and take a look at some others out here in Los Angeles.” That was my cheeky way of trying to influence them.
Have you auditioned for any DC or Marvel movie projects?
Unfortunately, I haven’t had the opportunity to audition for any of those movies. That’s why I was going with the Green Lantern t-shirt and trying to let people know I am very interested in that world. I would love to play Green Lantern. There are so many other fascinating characters out there in the DC Universe, as well as Marvel. I would relish the opportunity to play one of those guys.
Lastly, audiences will forever remember you as Professor Robin Wood on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” What does it mean to you to have been part of such a beloved cult hit and the Whedonverse?
I love it. That was one of my favorite roles I’ve ever done. I still love the cast. I love the “Buffy” fans. I wish we could do a reunion, so we could figure out where these characters are today. I would love to know where Robin Wood is and what he’s doing. I have a feeling he’s still slaying demons and out there doing his thing. It was an honor to work for Joss Whedon and to work with that cast.
“Lucifer” airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on Fox.