Throughout his career, D.B. Woodside has always played a guy in a well-tailored, expensive suit. His roles on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 24, Single Ladies, and Suits come to mind. So the New York City native jumped at the chance to play the angel Amenadiel on Lucifer (currently streaming on Netflix) when his manager told him about this role.
“I had a history of playing guys in suits. We both felt we wanted to switch it up a bit, especially given the fact that I’ve had a very blessed career. Most of the roles I played – guys in suits – are the farthest away from my real personality. We wanted to find a role that was a bit more physical, a guy who was more into his body in terms of how he handles things.
Amenadiel is a very physical guy – a warrior, an angel, a fighter. There’s something that’s really different about that and appealing for me, being that I tend to be a physical guy. I’m very active in the gym. I run. I swim. I was really interested in playing someone closer to me in that regard,” explained D.B. Woodside, 49, an alumnus of the State University of New York at Albany and the Yale School of Drama.
Lucifer is based on the DC Comics characters created by best-selling author Neil Gaiman that debuted in The Sandman comic book series. Lucifer later became the protagonist of his own eponymous comic book series.
“I grew up a comic book kid, but this was not one of the comic books that I was familiar with. After I was cast (as Amenadiel), I read up on Lucifer. My character’s very different in the comic book,” Woodside said, laughing. “I’m glad (executive producers Len Wiseman, Joe Henderson, and Ildy Modrovich) decided to go a different way. I think that’s what makes the character more interesting.”
In the TV adaptation, Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis) – the Devil himself – gets tired of ruling Hell, so he abandons it and goes to Los Angeles. In L.A., he owns a nightclub called Lux and consults for the LAPD, helping the police solve supernatural crimes.
Very open about telling people he’s the Devil, many just blow him off. Lucifer has the power to make people tell him their most hidden desires. He works with Det. Chloe Decker (Lauren German) of the LAPD, who’s immune to his powers and charms.
“Working with Tom Ellis is a dream. It really is. He’s just such a nice guy. He’s talented, he’s intelligent, he’s professional – it’s a lot of fun. When scenes come up in episodes where the two brothers are getting into something, I always cheer. It’s just so much fun to act with that guy and it’s so nice that he’s such a lovely human being,” complimented Woodside.
In the case of Amenadiel – Lucifer’s older brother – he arrives in L.A. to convince Lucifer to return to Hell. Failing that, he attempts to force him to go back to Hell, but to no avail. In the second season, Amenadiel loses his powers and his wings. He regains both in the third season after their mother (Tricia Helfer) is killed and he takes her soul to Heaven.
In the fourth season, Amenadiel chooses to live on Earth. He has a son with Dr. Linda Martin (Rachael Harris), Lucifer’s psychiatrist. Since he decides to raise his son on Earth, he encounters many societal ills, including racism.
“That was something I wanted to do for a long time,” said Woodside. “When you set a story up where you cast two actors who belong to two different races and they’re brothers, there are a lot of creative places where you can take that. I just didn’t want to lie there. I felt that this is a show that doesn’t shy away from some tough topics. This season was spectacular – they came to me with this idea. I loved it, and I just let them do what they do. These writers are great. They know exactly what they’re doing.”
Originally, Lucifer aired on FOX for its first three seasons. However, it was cancelled on May 11, 2018. Fans rallied on social media with #SaveLucifer campaigns. On June 15, 2018, Netflix picked up Lucifer for a fourth season.
“It was glorious, man!” said Woodside, laughing. “We went from being lying on the table, heads down in our alcoholic beverages to being saved by this incredible fanbase and to being picked up by Netflix, which is a dream place to work. I absolutely love working with Netflix and, like I said, these fans have been incredible.”
It was recently announced that next year’s fifth season of Lucifer will also be its final season. Still, Woodside is grateful.
“Listen, five seasons is fantastic!” said Woodside. “The fact is we’re such a family. We love each other – we truly do – and love being around each other and love creating with each other. We thought we’d get six seasons. But I think that we’re all overjoyed by the fact that we were a show that got cancelled, then saved, then put on Netflix, and then we’ve just had the best season we’ve ever had. So we’re all very excited that we get a chance to go back one more time and tell the story that we want to tell, end the story the way we want to end it, and go out on a high. I don’t think there’s any better way to go out.”
Woodside spoke about the difference between being on a network like FOX and a streaming service like Netflix.
“I feel like we’ve all experienced something working on Netflix that we never got a chance to experience working on FOX. I personally think networks antiquated these days in the way they deal with creative people. Networks tend to deal with creativity like it’s a corporation. I think people at the corporate level feel the need to justify their job. What I think what happens is you have (them) leaning into the creative side when they probably should not be leaning in; they should trust the people that they’ve hired and allow them to do what they do. A lot of networks nowadays don’t do that. I think that’s why you have an exodus from network TV and a lot of artists want to be on a streaming service now. Yes, it’s less money; yes, it’s less episodes, but you have so much more creative freedom – that’s more fulfilling. I think that’s something that’s attractive for all of us,” he explained.
When asked why he wasn’t in the opening dance sequence at the beginning of the fourth season finale, Woodside laughed.
“That’s a question you have to ask Joe and Ildy. I don’t know. I would’ve loved to have been,” he said. “Next year, there’s talk of a real big musical episode and I have no doubt that I’ll get a little something in that.”
Ever since the Emmy-nominated musical episode of Buffy in its sixth season called “Once More With Feeling” aired in 2001 to widespread critical acclaim, the musical episode has experienced a resurgence. Scrubs and Grey’s Anatomy have followed suit, airing musical episodes of their own.
“Very true, very true,” said Woodside. “It’s very interesting how Lucifer and Buffy have a lot in common.”
Even though both are the creations of completely different writers and aired in completely different generations (Buffy aired from 1997-2003, whereas Lucifer debuted in 2016), both series have crossed into several different genres, according to Woodside.
“At times, (Buffy) could feel like a YA novel, then it could be a horror show, then it might feel like a thriller, then it might feel like a comedy. I feel that Lucifer does that very well also. It can feel like a procedural, then it can feel like a comedy, then it can feel like a show about mythology and religion – God vs. the Devil – then it can feel like an action show with some of the fight scenes that Lesley-Ann (Brandt, who plays Mazikeen) and I have, even Tom and I have at times. It crosses so many genres and I think that might be exhilarating to see as a fan. For us as actors, it’s non-stop fun,” he explained.
On Buffy, Woodside played Robin Wood, the principal of Sunnydale High School, in the seventh and final season. Unlike his predecessor Principal Snyder (Armin Shimerman), Wood was actually one of the good guys who helped Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar). It was later revealed that season Wood was the son of Nikki Wood (K.D. Aubert), a Slayer from the late 1970s who was killed by Spike (James Marsters). The same Spike who Wood attempted to kill to avenge his mother, despite the fact Spike reformed.
“Originally, I was only supposed to do 9-10 episodes,” recalled Woodside. “I was young, I had always liked the show, and it was just an opportunity to be on a show that I loved. Then what happened was – I believe it was (executive producer) Marti Noxon who came to (creator Joss Whedon) with the idea to make him the son of (Nikki Wood). Then everything changed. After that, I never wanted to leave. That guy became unbelievably interesting. He had so many secrets and it was something we’d never seen before (the son of a Slayer), which was thrilling.”
Woodside enjoyed working with Gellar.
“I loved working with Sarah!” he said, laughing. “Sarah’s one of the funniest human beings alive. I’ve said this a few times, but the best career advice I’ve ever gotten in my life was all given to me by Sarah.”
As to what it was exactly, Woodside wouldn’t say.
“I will never tell anybody! I will never tell anybody! I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” he said, laughing. “She was more accurate more than anyone I’ve ever met in my life. I’ll just leave it at that. But it’s helped me, it’s guided me, and it’s kept me from making some very bad decisions.”
He spoke about what gives Buffy such staying power all these years later.
“I think it’s Joss. I think it’s these universal themes that he managed to tap into and they resonate with every generation that discovers the show – feeling like an outsider, feeling different, feeling misunderstood, feeling awkward, feeling unsure, and trying to find your power,” said Woodside.
Arguably, Woodside is best known as Wayne Palmer, who serves as the White House Chief of Staff under his older brother David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert), the President of the United States, on 24. After David is assassinated in the fifth season, Wayne himself becomes POTUS in the sixth season. However, after an assassination attempt, Wayne collapses at the podium during a press conference. His fate was never revealed. Not even Woodside knows.
“That was one of those (things) as an actor where (the creators) took a storyline that didn’t necessarily make me happy, but that’s the way it is, right?” he said. “I love Wayne Palmer. I thought he was great.”
Woodside felt his best scenes on 24 were with Haysbert.
“I think for me, 24 came along at the perfect time in my life. In fact, it was another show I was also a fan of and really wanted to be on,” said Woodside. “I loved Wayne the most when he was a foil to his big brother, David. I think once they (killed David off), Wayne Palmer lost a lot of his power. I think his power was at its height when he was going against his brother.”
On the legal drama Suits, Woodside played attorney Jeff Malone, the lover of attorney Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres). This summer, Torres will resume her role as Jessica on the spin-off Pearson. Woodside will appear as Jeff.
“When we last saw Jessica and Jeff, Jessica was moving to Chicago to be with him and they were gonna start a life there,” he said. “We find them now in Chicago and Jessica has now taken a job with the mayor’s office. Unfortunately, some bad things happen, which is gonna put Jessica and Jeff at odds once again. They can’t catch a break. They really can’t.”
Woodside sang Torres’ praises.
“Oh my God, Gina is one of my oldest, dearest friends. Gina and I have been in Hollywood together for easily (more than) 20 years. This must be our fourth project that we’ve worked on together. We always wind up playing a husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, ex-boyfriend and ex-girlfriend,” he said. “When I walk on a set and see her, I instantly relax. A smile comes across my face because I’m getting ready to work and I’m working with my friend. I couldn’t be more excited for her to get this opportunity to headline her own show. It’s come at a perfect time in her career. She’ll knock it outta the park and blow everybody away. It’s a phenomenal show and it’s being driven by her. She is remarkable. She really is remarkable.”
Woodside is also working on his own script. He’s hoping to have it completed within the next several months. However, he couldn’t give any details about it.
“It’s close to the vest right now. I hope to shop it around and hope to have it on a dream service, whether that’s Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon,” said Woodside. “It’s that type of show and I’m really excited about it. It’s a show that I believe is gonna show middle-aged Black Americans in a way we’ve never seen them before.”
Woodside would also like to branch out into directing. He wrote and directed the 2007 short First.
“I would like to take it to the next level,” he said. “There are times when we need people in this business to just open the door for us, not do our work for us. I don’t think any of us want nor need someone to do our work for us, but every once in a while we all need some assistance. I am looking for someone to allow me into the door to be able to direct, where I’d do all the work. I hope to get that part of my career started as soon as possible. Fingers crossed.”
For now, he’s looking forward to filming the final season of Lucifer.
“I’m sure there’s gonna be lots of tears all year long, but that’s part of this crazy life, y’know?” said Woodside. “I think we’re gonna be positive and focus on the fact that we’re ending after five terrific seasons, especially in today’s (TV) landscape, I think that’s rare. We feel really blessed to go out on top.”
- Lucifer’s Picked Up by Netflix Following the Fan-Drive #SaveLucifer Campaign
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