Everything You Ever Needed to Ask of Danny: Dwarves, Dancing and Dreams
In October and November of 1999, Little Willow collected questions in email for Danny from his fans. They ranged from the serious to silly and everything inbetween - and Danny answered them all. Read on for this exclusive fan interview for a Strong education.
A Day in the Life
Nicki asks: What's a typical day in the life of Danny Strong?
I wake up, drink about a pint of whiskey and go back to bed. You'd think that would get old, but I mix it it up with different kinds of whiskeys.
On a more serious note, I usually have an audition to go to, but a lot of my day is spent trying to keep myself busy. I try to not watch television during the day
To be honest I don't have typical days, everyday is very different. I find myself with lots of free time for about a month - and then I'm so busy I can't breathe for about a month. Kind of a weird life actually.
I'll Take Things That Are Cool for $1000, Alex
Nicki asks: What was the last movie you saw?
Being John Malcovich - very cool flick!
Natasha asks: What's your favorite color?
Black - it looks best on me.
Nicki asks: What's your favorite type of music? Band(s)?
I like classic rock like the Doors, Beatles, Zepplin, etc. My taste in music is basically whatever is popular. I'm really not very hip when it comes to the music scene.
Natasha asks: What's your favorite animal and why?
I like cats because they are intelligent and can take care of themselves - my favorite qualities in a woman!
Nicki asks: Who is the coolest star you've ever met?
John Lithgow and Tim Curry were both incredibly nice to me. Lithgow had the staff set up a ping pong table for me on a slow day, and Tim Curry actually had me written in to the show that he was doing (unfortunately it was cancelled soon after).
Lovely Poet asks: What's your favorite kind of cookie? Hey, you can tell a lot about a person by what kind of cookies they like.
Without a doubt peanut butter. I'm not a big cookie eater (which is odd since I'm Jewish), but I LOVE peanut butter cookies. I'm sorry to say, but I don't know what kind of information is to be gained from an individual's particular cookie fetish. :)
As Inspired By
Nicki asks: Who's your biggest influence in life? / Brandi the Slayer asks: Who's your biggest inspiration(s)?
I don't really have one inspiration. David Mamet is one of the more important figures for me, not only his plays, but the school of acting that he created (with William Macy) was very influential on me. The works of the Coen Brothers, Stephen Sondheim, and John Irving are all extremely inspirational for me. They make me want to be creative, especially when I'm depressed.
Brandi the Slayer asks: If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Lots of pressure on this one. I'd say Noam Chomsky, Orson Wells, and the "Hey Vern" guy.
Nicki asks: Who's your hero?
I don't think I have any heroes. Are there any heroes left in the world? There are a lot of people I'd admire, but no one I truly worship - I take that back - the "Hey Vern" guy is f%*king genius!!!!!
He's Slaying Them
Melanie/Zoneerg asks: I noticed you were in the pilot for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and was curious why it took so long for the character Jonathan to make his appearance on the television show? (Chas asked a similar question.)
I'm not really sure. They just called me for "Inca Mummy Girl" out of the blue and offered me the part.
I kept running in to Buffy people (Nick Brendon and SMG) around town who kept telling me I was going to be back on the show, and it never happened. When I finally got the call to do the show, I couldn't believe it - it seemed so out of the blue.
Adina asks: How did you land the role of our beloved Jonathan?
I auditioned for the role of Xander, and then the casting director brought me back to read for a number of smaller roles for Joss. He liked what I did with one of the roles ("student") and that was how it all started. Jonathan sort of grew from that.
Mesuvius asks: What's your favorite part about playing Jonathan? Was it hard to take him from a character in the background to a more prominent character in Earshot?
I like the fact that there is an intensity to his shyness - it makes it more interesting. It wasn't difficut at all to take him in to a more prominent part in the show, I just had to learn more lines.
ProphecyGirl asks: Did you ever imagine your role as Jonathan on Buffy would become so popular?
No, it's extremely flattering. I really love being involved with something that people care so much about. It's exciting!
Mesuvius asks: How strong of a connection do you have with the show? Does Joss keep you informed, or is more like you get a phone call a week before an ep that you're in starts filming?
No one really keeps me informed about things, I ran in to Joss once and he told me about Earshot about a month before I officially heard about it, but that was kind of random. Usually I'll hear from them a couple of weeks before they need me.
Lovely Poet asks: How did you feel about your integral part of the best episode of season three (Earshot)?
I was really glad to have a larger role on the show - especially in an episode that was so well written.
AjO asks: What was it like to deal with such sensitive subjects in the the fabulous "Earshot" episode? (re: Teen Suicide, shootings, etc.) / Brandi the Slayer asks: "Earshot" was a very powerful episode that involved your character on Buffy, Jonathan, almost commiting suicide, but is stopped by Buffy before doing so. Do you have any advice for teens considering suicide?
I think everyone's mind can wonder to a suicidal place at some point in their life. I think the most important thing is to put yourself in to action, do something - a hobby, volunteer work - something you like so that you can get your mind off yourself. Whenever I get depressed I realize that I'm just thinking about myself too much and that if I just focus my energy on something or someone else, I feel better without even realizing it.
AjO asks: How much of Danny is Jonathan and Jonathan, Danny? / Brandi the Slayer asks: Can you relate to your Buffy character, Jonathan?
I certainly can feel awkward at times, but anybody that knows me would probably say that there is very little Jonathan in Danny.
Beverly asks: Who's your favorite character on "Buffy"?
This is going to be a boring answer, but I'd have to say Buffy - she kicks ass and is quite easy on the eyes!
MaNDi asks: What is it like working with the Buffy cast members, especially Sarah Michelle Gellar?
I love them. I know it sounds cliché but everyone treats me great - especially Sarah. She's really intelligent and professional, but she can be really goofy at times too - She's a lot of fun. They are all really great.
WeirdArchives asks: What do you see Jonathan doing in the future?
I have no idea. I would love it if he become evil in some way (at least for an episode). It would be cool to see another side to Jonathan besides the awkward/shy guy.
Chrissy asks: Will you be in season 4 (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) at all? / Brandi the Slayer asks: What direction would you like to see Joss take with Jonathan this season?
I don't know if I'm coming back or not, people have told me that I would, but I haven't heard anything official.
Posting Board Party Bucka Bucka Wow
Brief explanation: The Posting Board Party (PBP) is a chance for folks who post at the official BtVS board to meet in person and put faces to internet names. It has been held annually since 1998. Danny attended the 2nd PBP in February 1999.
Meteor asks: Danny, did you enjoy the Posting Board Party (PBP) earlier this year and will you be returning for Posting Board Party (PBP) 2000?
I had a blast at the Posting Board Party (PBP), and if I'm invited I will definitely be back!
Lovely Poet asks: Were you surprised by all the attention you received at the Posting Board Party?
I couldn't believe it. Before I walked in I told my date to not be surprised if nobody recognizes me - boy was I wrong! Everyone was so nice, it was a lot of fun.
Four Star Spoofs
Steve Carter of Four Star Mary asks: Which would you rather asks: to be in a spoof movie, or to be in a movie that gets spoofed?
I think I'd rather be in a movie that's being spoofed, although acting in a spoof is crazy, crazy fun.
Steve Carter of Four Star Mary asks: If you could MAKE a spoof movie, what movie would you want to spoof?
I think I would spoof Titanic, cast myself as Jack and cast Heather Graham as the girl. The entire film would be a three hour sex scene on board a dingie.
Steve Carter of Four Star Mary asks: If a movie spoofing your life was going to be made by a group of supermodels wearing mens clothing, which supermodel would you want to portray you?
Supermodels are boring, what's the big deal with supermodels. They just stand there and get their pictures taken - my god, what talent!!! See you've made me angry, now I can't answer your question properly - okay, relax, deep breathe, ahhhhhh.
Christy Turlington - she's hot.
Steve Carter of Four Star Mary asks: On the topic of spoofs, supermodels and bowling, inclusive asks: which would you rather make a spoof movie about asks: bowling supermodels, or supermodel bowling (a la dwarf bowling)?
Dwarf bowling is a very sensitive subject for me. I used to do it regularly, and then one time I feel in love with my particular dwarf. I was confused and conflicted about my feelings because I didn't know if I should buy her a drink or throw her down the lane. We started dating for awhile, and she eventually left me for the "Hey Vern" guy. It still hurts. I think I'm gonna cry - Okay, relax, deep breathe, ahhhh.
Christy Turlington - she's hot.
Steve Carter of Four Star Mary asks: Lastly, what would you say to the rumours of your fixation, or possibly even _obsession_ with filming cross-dressing supermodels in bowling alleys when you were a child?
I would say that they are unfounded and totally false. There is no proof and every investigation has been unable to produce one shred of concrete evidence. There are people out there who try and ruin my good name with rumor and inuendo. The same people that claimed President Clinton had an affair with his intern. Once we put a stop to these false accusation we can all come together as a society and face our fears together.
Christy Turlington - she's hot.
Adina asks: What was your first taste of acting (second grade play/Christmas play for church?)
I did a play in the first grade. I was up for the lead, but then I told the teacher I wanted a smaller part instead because I was worried that I wasn't going to get the part. If I had only stayed in the game, things could have been different for me.
Mesuvius asks: How do you prepare for your roles?
I breakdown the text and try and answer some simple questions that will help me play the scenes more fully. I try to not worry about the character. I feel that if I play the scenes correctly, then the character will just naturally happen. If I'm playing someone that has a specific profession or skill I research the subjects that I would need to know.
WeirdArchives asks: Have you ever shy or ambivalent about working with a particular actor like Reese Whitherspoon or Sarah Michelle Gellar or even Alyson Hannigan?
I've loved working with all of the actors that you've named. They are all really fun people (especially Alyson!). I've worked with actors that have gotten on my nerves, but it had less to do with their work and more to do with their personalties (although the most difficult actors are usually the least skilled). I can honestly say that no one on Buffy is in this category. The only actor I've been really nervous about working with was William H. Macy because I truly admire his work. He turned out to be one of the coolest guys I ever met.
artemis asks: Do you consider yourself a working actor, and if not, what do you do when money is tight? Would you rather be a working actor for the rest of your life, or be famous with instant fame/recognition for five years and then not be able to get work?
I am a working actor in that I solely support myself through my acting. I think that I would want something in between the two. Fame is not a goal of mine, but I think it is important to be recognized for your work (in any field), so the five years of fame is not what I'm looking for, but neither is a lifetime of obscurity.
AjO asks: Could you tell us about what encouraged you to become an actor and what steps you took to make this come to be? Also what advice do you have for aspiring thespians?
I wanted to be an actor since I was about 8 years old. I loved watching movies as a kid, and I just knew that's what I wanted to do. I started doing theatre in high school, and then I went to USC as a theatre major. I think theatre is a really great background - I can't tell how many times I've been on a movie or TV set and someone asked me if was a stage actor. People can just tell. My advice would be to make sure you really enjoy acting for the sake of acting. People that pursue this career seeking fame and fortune end of very unhappy, because it soooo hard to make money as an actor. It's a very frustrating business, so if it's not about the craft of acting, you're going to find yourself very unhappy. Of the 500 people I went to theatre school with, about 10 of them are still pursuing acting careers.
WeirdArchives asks: What are your personal limits about acting? As in, would you refuse a role that would require nudity or go against your personal beliefs or politics?
I've actually done partial nudity. That's not really that big deal for a guy because they only show so much. I would have a problem doing a project that promoted religious or political views in a way that was manipulative or that had an agenda. Especially when the political views are religiously motivated - I'm a big believer in the separation of church and state.
Fun Facts to Know and Tell
Adina asks: Did you take dancing lessons for the Dr Pepper commercial?
No, that was all me baby!
Adina asks: Have you continued your education on a college level to better help you in the future?
I went to college because I find that I'm a naturally inquisitive person. I really like being a student. The trick is to study something that really interests you.
Mesuvius asks: What's something interesting about you that none of us would know? The weirder the better.
You really put me on the spot on this one. I don't think that I have anything overly weird to share. I used to run a craps game in Los Angeles, that's something that most people don't know. I was sort of the Nathan Detroit of young actors.
X-Lander asks: Which of your roles on TV or in the movies has been your favorite?
I did a film called "Perpetrators of the Crime" in which I kidnapped Tori Spelling and then everything goes wrong. It was a lot of fun because they character slowly losses his mind throughout the film. It's been released internationally, and hopefully it will be on video soon.
Cheryl asks: Are you single?
Cheryl asks: How can a girl get a date with you?
She needs to be smart and fun. I don't like people that are uptight or that don't have a sense of humor.
MaNDI asks: Will you marry me? Just kidding.
I don't know if you would want to marry me! I seem sweet on the show, but you'd be sick of me before the honeymoon was over.
The Future is Ours
WeirdArchives asks: Do you have hopes of either writing or directing an episode of BUFFY or ANGEL? Or do you prefer doing an independent project of your own creation?
I've never really thought about it. When you write for a T.V. show you are writing for someone else's world, that doesn't really interest me.
WeirdArchives asks: Have you decided to appear on any other WB shows, such as FELICITY or ROSWELL? (I can imagine the line you'd say on FELICITY when she asks your character if he feels overwhelmed by the New York lifestyle. "Oh, not really. After Sunnydale, you get use to anything.")
That would be a good line. I've never auditioned for either show but that's because there really hasn't been anything I've been right for as opposed to me not wanting to do the show. Both shows are well written, and I would do either. Majandra Delfino is a friend of mine, so I better be on Roswell.
MaNDI asks: Any upcoming projects besides the horror movie spoof?
I've just been doing theatre since I wrapped the spoof. I'm in a play right now.
One Last Devotion
delf asks: What is your main passion aside from acting? Or, is there anything you have a slavish devotion to, be it books, movie, television or what have you?
I love to write, and I love reading - I usually have a couple books going. I've been trying to find some things in my life that have nothing to do with acting - if you can think of anything that might be fun, let me know.