Horror Fest: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

With a Q&A with Kristy Swanson

Continuing my coverage of Horror Fest at Wizard World Philly, today we have the 25th Anniversary showing of the film Buffy the Vampire Slayer with a Q&A with the original Buffy herself, Kristy Swanson.

Now if you’re thinking “wait, a Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie” or “Kristy Swanson didn’t play Buffy”, allow me to give you a little background. 5 years before Sarah Michelle Geller was kick ass and taking names on The WB, Kristy Swanson played a much different version of Buffy in the film Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If you didn’t know that, it’s okay. I overheard someone attending the screening mention they didn’t even know the movie existed, so you’re not alone.

The film was still a Joss Whedon creation. He is the writer of the film. However, Joss Whedon wasn’t Joss Whedon back then, so much of his screen play was changed to fit what the director or studio wanted the film to be. Part of this is why the television series even exists. Not happy with the Buffy that was presented, Joss Whedon set out on a mission to make his true vision come to life and the rest was television history.

Besides Kristy Swanson playing the titular character, Luke Perry plays Oliver Pike, Buffy’s love interest and Donald Sutherland plays Merrick Jamison-Smythe, Buffy’s first Watcher. Rounding out the cast is Paul Reubens, Rutger Hauer, Hilary Swank, and David Arquette.

The film is completely non-canon to the television series. While the television does make a few, small references to the events of the film (one example would be Merrick appearing in a short Buffy flashback sequence, however this version of Merrick is not played by Donald Sutherland), there are too many differences between the film and series to make the film canon.

Now that you’re caught up on the background of Buffy the Vampire Slayer the movie, let’s get to the Q&A with Kristy Swanson. At this point in the festival, it was running a few minutes behind, so the Q&A was shortened to the allotted time. She was able to answer about 10 questions. She gave a decent length answer to each question however, so it wasn’t just yes and no answers. Here are some of the highlights from the Q&A. Remember for the sake of length, I am paraphrasing.

The first question, asked by the moderator, asked “While making the movie, did you ever think the character would become what she did?”. “No, how could you?” While they were filming, Kristy said she had heard that Joss Whedon was planning a whole series of Buffy films, but with the film not doing good at the box office and Joss not liking the way the film deterred from his original vision, those plans were scrapped. Well obviously they weren’t scrapped, Joss just put those ideas away for a rainy day.

A follow up question to that was asked, asking if Kristy was considered for the role of Buffy on the television show. “No, I was not ever approached about the television show. But I understand, it was 6 years later, I was about 25. I understand why they wouldn’t want me playing a high school girl.” This is completely understandable, even if not all shows go by the same theory.

Someone then asked what Kristy’s favorite episode is of the television show. This question is always my favorite kind of question that I always hear at Q&As or Panels. Celebrities seem to be 50/50 one whether they watch something they used to be involved with or not. Kristy was in the no category. In fact, Kristy said “I have never watched an episode of the t.v. show. I watched a little bit of the pilot episode, but that’s it. I just never had any interest.” Was it resentment that she wasn’t asked to be on the show, so she didn’t watch? Or was it she didn’t really have time to really give it a shot? Remember, there weren’t DVR and Video On Demand back then. The question wasn’t really pressed, so it’s open to interpretation.

Then we got a little insight into what happened behind the camera. Kristy was asked about the long storied rumors about Joss and Donald Sutherland fighting on the set. “I never saw them fight, and I was there for every minute of filming. Sure they might have disagreed on something, but there was no shouting or fighting or anything like that.” She continued, “the only thing I do remember about Joss was him not liking that Donald (who was good) had a goatee and so did Paul (who played Amilyn, who was evil). So there was a little going back and forth on that, but that was it really.”

A little more about the film, Kristy was asked if she did all over her own stunts. “Absolutely, I did the fighting and training. Not the flips though. Some of the sword fighting. The part where I’m fighting someone that’s not me. For safety reasons, they wouldn’t let me sword fight.”

Then a ‘you knew this was coming’ question was asked, “What was it like making out with Luke Perry?” Her response was “It was awesome”. That was all she said. When asked by the moderator if she wanted to elaborate more on it she laughed and said “No.”

The final question of the night was a good one, especially considering that she never watched the television show. “If they were to make a direct sequel to the movie, would you be interested in coming back to play Buffy?” “I would be interested in being a part of it if they will have me be in it.” I have heard rumblings about the possibility of a sequel for a long, long time now. Now more than ever, where nostalgia is in vogue, could we see a return to the original Buffyverse?

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