Night and day.
That's how Glenn Quinn describes the last six months of his life as he makes the transition into the limelight of Angel, the highly anticipated drama from Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon.
The metaphor is also appropriate considering the rigorous shooting schedule and the fifteen hour days required each day of the week while filming an episode.
On a recent visit to the Angel set in Hollywood, the cast and crew appeared to be in good spirits. The martini shot (the final shot of the day) was tracking ahead of schedule. Everyone was looking forward to wrapping -- at midnight.
During the lunch break which usually occurs around 5pm, the production team gathers to celebrate a staff member's birthday.
A shrieking whistle bellows through the soundstage. An Irish voice echoes.
It is the voice of Glenn Quinn. "Hey y'bullocks!", he shouts.
Quinn, who plays the mysterious Doyle on Angel, shares in the camaraderie of this close knit
crew as they break into song.
"Everyone has been great," Quinn notes. "The chemistry is very good. David (Boreanaz) and I bounce off each other really well. I've done a lot of stuff with Charisma lately and she's terrific."
Usually, it takes months, sometimes years for a cast to gel. Angel, after shooting only four episodes appears to have found that groove.
Quinn first read for creator Joss Whedon earlier this year in February. After Roseanne ended, he took some well deserved time off in his native Ireland. Quinn appeared in a few independent films, then began looking for something steady.
Along came Angel.
"The Doyle character reminded me of the Ed Norton character in Rounders -- the personality, same kind of interests and other quirks and similarities."
"When I read for Joss, I read it as an American. I suggested if I could try it Irish. As soon as I did, everything -- the whole room -- just clicked."
Quinn's interpretation proved to be the clincher.
"The producers asked if I would test for the pilot, and we smoked through that. It was a great day. Shooting started six weeks ago -- we had a two-week break in there where I went home to Ireland -- ever since then, it's been kinda nutty."
Quinn describes Doyle as a gambler-hustler on the run with a past.
"Doyle's an intense character. He's a mentor to Angel but doesn't want to be necessarily involved. He's trying to atone for his own past and he has to help Angel. So, on one hand, here he is preaching to Angel to get involved with humans and really care about them but meanwhile Doyle would rather be at the track betting the ponies and drinking."
When asked if Doyle is the most challenging character he's encountered as an actor, Quinn joked, "Doyle's definitely not the idiot boy you saw on Roseanne."
Because Doyle is Irish, Quinn has the opportunity to provide input on the character, more so than what other actors are usually afforded. The role also has given Quinn time to reflect on his own past.
Quinn was born in Ireland, moving to California from Dublin twelve years ago with his family.
"The last thing I wanted to do was act. I fell into it by chance. I started reading for things and got the roles. The person that was most surprised was me."
His acting didn't surprise others.
After a guest appearance on the number one comedy series Roseanne, the producers of the show immediately signed Quinn to become a regular on the series. The days of painting houses, waiting tables, and other odd jobs were definitely behind him.
However, Quinn is not one who forgets where he comes from -- a trait shared by many actors who have their roots in Ireland.
"I try and make it back to Dublin twice every year. I've bumped into Gabriel (Byrne) who is great. I haven't met Liam (Neeson) or Aidan (Quinn) but they're all tremendously talented and phenomenal."
Quinn also proudly lists Steve McQueen and Ed Norton as his influences and favorites. "These days, I think Ed Norton is the man. He has it going on. My hat's off to him."
A Production Assistant comes over to our lunch table. It's time to return to the set. Quinn thanks him, then takes a moment to reflect. "It's tough staying in touch with people these days. I mean the best thing is, you get to do the work."
"There's so much to it. Usually we get the scripts a few days in advance before we have to be on the ball. When we shoot, there are 35 setups in a day... it's hard staying on top of it all. You lose a lot of your personal time. It can be draining. You basically say goodbye to your life as you know it."
"The big challenge is to work these fifteen hour days on camera and keep your energy level. In the end, you realize it's really worth it."
Weekends for Quinn are usually reserved for sleep. Personal and relaxation time is at a premium as Quinn prefers to concentrate on his craft, preparing for feature films.
"As soon as I get time off, I'm diving in head first into features, straight into the deep end of the pool."
His dedication has been well-rewarded as Quinn next appears on the big screen in the independent feature "Some Girls" as Marissa Ribisi's love interest. But the focus for now, Quinn insists, is on Angel.
"There's a lot of Doyle in me," Quinn says, "It's great to go back and look how I grew up. Usually, actors don't get a feel for a character, the rhythms, even the speed at which thecharacter should speak. Not with Doyle. I don't know where I begin and Doyle ends or where Doyle begins and I end."
When asked to reveal any Angel storylines, Quinn surreptitiously revealed with a wink, "Hmm... I've seen Seth (Green) around."
At that moment, it's not difficult imagining speaking with "Doyle". When suggested that it wouldn't be inconceivable to see an episode where Doyle returns to Ireland, Quinn again plays it cool, "That's the dream -- to go home and work."
With the anticipation of Angel reaching feverish levels, and the attention focused intensely on the show's stars, the dream may come sooner than Glenn Quinn could ever imagine.
Written by Linda Lishings