After breaking through the bondage of Buffy and other cult-classic space-channel sitcoms, David Boreanaz is ready to take on the world.
At least, the world of feature film.
"I'm going in the right direction, I'm aiming for global domination now," he said. "It's an amazing experience of transition that I'm going through."
But long-time fans who remember him as the lead of the gothic sitcom Angel and romantic lead opposite Sarah Michelle Gellar in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, will delight in knowing that the actor has lost none of his bad-boy brooding intensity in his most recent movie, the Canadian film These Girls.
Based on the play by Vivienne Laxdal, These Girls follows the misadventures of three girls in a small New Brunswick town as they blackmail local knife-toting tough guy Keith Clark into having sex with them.
Boreanaz plays Clark, a husband and new father who sets himself up for a physical and emotional beating by having a dalliance with the girls, who are -- in true to sex-farce-form -- his babysitters.
"Where we were shooting brought out the best in this character," Boreanaz said while soaking in the sun recently on the roof of the InterContinental Hotel in Toronto.
The shoot was in a small rural town, and Boreanaz said he felt depressed being away from his wife and child at the time.
"When you're away from the goodness in your life, it puts you in a place where you're lonely."
He channelled that emotion into giving Clark a sense of vulnerability. "Making him likeable after all he did is difficult."
Raised Catholic and versed in Buddhism, Boreanaz is an eclectic mix of spiritual philosophies. He wears a rosary blessed by the Pope around his neck and sports Chinese tattoos that translate into "soul" and "fate" on his wrists. He said he met his wife, Jaime Bergman, by noticing that she had the same tattoos in the same place.
Sleeping with three teenaged babysitters, even sexually voracious and manipulative teenaged babysitters, follows in Boreanaz's typical bad-boy characters. But in real life, the girls of These Girls said that he was every bit the gentleman.
He even took them out for dinner and talked about how much he loved his wife before shooting the sex scenes.
Holly Lewis, who plays Lisa MacDougall, a Seventh Day Adventist who wants to lose her virginity before being shipped off to a religious college, portrays one of the most awkward first-time sex experiences on film.
She said the comedy of the film eased any discomfort. "That made it so much easier to do, because the sex was not sensual," Lewis said.
Amanda Walsh, who plays Glory Lorraine, a character so naive as to inspire anger, said the comedy-of-errors style of the film would allow them to poke at traditional female stereotypes and sexual norms without drawing too much ire. "The plot is controversial, but the plot was executed in a lighter way that cuts through that controversy," she said.
Walsh's character falls in love with Clark and deludes herself into believing that the two would have a future together.
"He's an older man, and it's hard to believe that what's going on in your head isn't going on in his as well," she said.
"It's messing with grown-up territory in a childish and naive way."
Caroline Dhavernas's Keira St-George narrates the film, unapologetically reflecting on the characters' behaviour.
Meanwhile, Boreanaz hasn't given up the small screen completely. He's working on the drama series Bones for Fox, although he adds that the workload can be overwhelming.
"An hour-long drama to deal with is a death sentence in a way," he said. But he's also starred in two films, Mr. Fix-it and The Hard Easy, which are currently in post-production.
So why doesn't he want to talk about Buffy? "I don't like reunions. . . . I don't like to go back to the things that I've already done," he said. "It's like after a meal is over, you don't go picking up used napkins."