Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of the most celebrated old-school vampire shows. Some might consider it cheesy, while others are cult followers. Either way you will find these facts interesting.
Sarah Michelle Gellar purposefully kept out of the public spotlight during filming so that younger viewers wouldn’t see photos of Buffy drinking or smoking cigarettes.
Eliza Dushku, who plays Faith, refused to do nude scenes on the show because she grew up Mormon. She was also a minor and had to receive emancipation to work the show’s long hours. She says that the judge was a fan of the show and signed the order if she could get a signed photo of Dushku.
In the first few seasons the cast came to dread the library scenes because of all the expository dialogue and long passionate speeches from Giles. The last scene in the library before it was blown up was one of the most relieving scenes to film in the series.
Sarah Michelle Gellar originally auditioned for Cordelia and the casting directors loved her stuck-up interpretation of the character. They never considered her for Buffy because she was too smart and grounded, and not enough of a misfit. The network convinced them that she was a star and was better leading the show than any of the other actors.
For the first season the show used a real graveyard in Hollywood but it proved tiresome to only shoot those scenes at night. For the subsequent seasons they made their own graveyard in the warehouse parking lot by planting trees in dirt and bringing in headstones. It was much smaller than a normal graveyard but with the help of an excellent design team viewers never noticed a difference.
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Joss Whedon wanted to increase paranoia by making the vampires look like normal humans until it’s time to feed and they transform into monsters. He wanted them to very clearly look like monsters though to ensure a certain level of fantasy on the show. It took 1 hour and 20 minutes to apply the facial prosthetic and just as long to remove it after filming.
David Boreanaz was terrible on set. He would pull down his pants between takes to make his fellow actors break character and frequently ad-libbed or changed lines to throw them off. Sarah Michelle Gellar would sometimes fight back. The two would eat tuna fish or pickles before kissing to make the scenes as unsexy as possible. She would even pin or sew her costume together to make it hard for him to unbutton or remove.
The writers picked and chose what they liked of vampire lore. Flying vampires or vampires that turned into bats seemed too difficult to manage so they opted for vampire basics instead: no reflections, have to be invited into homes, must be staked or beheaded, etc.
Many universities include Portland State and The University of Toronto offer courses on Buffy, commonly known as Buffy Studies. Numerous dissertations and books have been written and presented at conferences about aspects of the series from slang to religion. Twice as many papers have been published about Buffythan any other movie or TV show.
Buffy turned into a rat in season 2 because Sarah Michelle Gellar had an engagement on Saturday Night Live.
On March 7, 2003 Sarah Michelle Gellar announced in an exclusive interview with Entertainment Weekly that the show would be ending that spring. She said that it was a personal decision and that she needed a break from acting. The rest of the cast found out when the story hit the news.
Season six was the toughest for Sarah Michelle Gellar due to the season’s darker and more controversial subject matter. She found it hard to separate herself from the character and frequently argued that Buffy wouldn’t act the way the writers were describing. She struggled the same way Buffy was struggling to find out who she truly was. The entire crew found it hard to watch the character suffer and everyone was happy when she resurfaced and found her voice again.
Since she’s a perfectionist Sarah Michelle Gellar struggled with the musical episode “Once More With Feeling”. She described the experience as “daunting” and joked that if she had her way she would have received two years notice, been in lessons for a year and a half, and had six weeks of rehearsal. In the end she only had four days to prepare and constantly begged to be let out it.
The fourth season episode “Hush” in which monsters steal people’s voices so no one can scream when attacked was written as a challenge for Whedon. He felt that he was directing on autopilot and having to create a story visually challenged him to be specific with his choices. In the end the episode only has 17 minutes of spoken dialogue.
It was decided that vampires would turn into dust rather than simply lying staked or dead on the ground because otherwise bodies would be left in scenes. This would prove difficult in battle scenes with bodies strewn everywhere. From a logistical standpoint Buffy would also have to clean up the bodies which would be boring and laborious for both Buffy and viewers.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer was originally a movie in 1992 created by Joss Whedon who was tired of seeing blondes dying in alleys in horror movies. He had an idea of a monster following a young blonde into an alley but instead the blonde girl ends up kicking ass. He was later approached about turning the movie into a television series and was excited at the opportunity to tackle the concept with fresh eyes, as the original script had been rewritten and improvised too much for his taste.
Seven episodes in the entire series have no vampires, friendly or not. These also happen to be some of the lowest rated episodes of the show.
In the writers room Joss Whedon would commonly refer to Sarah Michelle Gellar as Jimmy Stewart because he was the greatest American in pain in the history of film and Gellar had to cope with so much pain on the show.
James Masters was routinely complimented for his Cockney accent and was so convincing that many viewers thought he was British. In fact he was from California and learned his accent for Anthony Stewart Head who in fact has a Cockney accent himself. Head had to posh-up his own accent to play Giles.
Charisma Carpenter originally read for Buffy but is glad she was cast as Cordelia instead because she wasn’t ready for the fame. In the first season she was 27, making her one of the oldest actors to ever play a teenager on television as the series continued. Mercedes McNab (Harmony), Julie Benz (Darla), and Elizabeth Anne Allen (Amy) all auditioned for the role of Buffy and left such a good impression that they were asked back for other characters.