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March 27 2003

"It hurts so much." The shooting script for "Conversations with Dead People" with the Willow/First-as-Tara scene, before Tara was switched to Cassie.

[ edited by Vamp_Insurance on 2003-03-27 22:57 ]

"It's not okay! It's so much worse
now. Like, you filled my life up.
You made it bigger. And when you...
The hole you left is so deep. I'm
never going to fill it up. I'm never
going to..."

I still prefer that for some reason The First couldn't be Tara. Reading the dialogue between them, I think it worked better the way Cassie said it, that Tara 'couldn't' appear with Willow because of what she did. It made the opening scenes of that encounter a bit more believable for me. And it added to the idea of The First trying to pain Willow, by keeping the carrot just out of reach, and hoping to convince Willow to kill herself so she could see Tara again.

However I wish they hadn't cut out the Indy reference between Jonathan and Andrew:

The boys are busy digging. They're tired, sweaty, but in relatively good spirits.
JONATHAN: "You said the headpiece only had markings on one side. Are you absolutely sure?"
Andrew thinks about this very hard. He nods.
JONATHAN (cont'd): "Belloq's staff is too long..."
JONATHAN & ANDREW: "They're digging in the wrong place!"
They laugh. Cool.

That woulda been a laugh riot.
I agree with Zachsmind that the scene works beautifully in the episode now but the effect of seeing Willow & Tara together again would have been amazing. It would have lifted this wonderful episode (my favorite of the season) into the class of titles like 'The Wish' or 'Fool For Love' (non-Whedon classics, in other words)
I'm actually kind of glad that Amber Benson's appearance didn't work out, because for me, I think it would have been too upsetting to see her be evil like that. It was still creepy through Cassie, and the moments where Willow believed it was Tara were filled with the tension of Willow's guilt over what she had done, since that was the reason given for Tara not being able to come herself.

I love reading the shooting scripts. The notes are often just as funny as the dialogue.
so it's a fact that tara was originally supposed to be in that episode? does someone have something to verify that (besides this script)?
Well JoJo, if you do some searches on the 'Net you can find a lot of reviews and stuff where people just accept this as a given, that Benson was approached to play "The First" posing as Tara, but turned it down due to both scheduling conflicts and the desire not to taint the relationship of Tara & Willow by making an appearance as an evil Tara.

We had a thread here in Whedonesque about it back in December. Though the thread's a little dated, I managed to find a more direct link to the Benson BBCi interview to which the thread alludes. So you don't have to hunt for the quote, I'll post the reference to CwDP here..

Question: Do you plan to return for any guest spots on season seven Buffy? The fans miss you!
Amber Benson: I don't know. We'll see what happens. There's been some talk and Joss really wants me to come back but I've been doing a lot of other work in the meantime and trying to work out my schedule is hectic. They also wanted Tara to go bad and I'm not comfortable with that. I think Tara's death was so painful for fans and I wouldn't want to make it even worse.

I think the above and some other statements Benson made in the past six months or so which I can't presently find links to are the impetus for the urban legend that she was asked to play the part but turned it down, which is why Cassie was brought in at the last minute. It's mostly interpretation of quotes and speculation, but we can probably safely assume we're close to the truth about it.

Oh, another interesting tidbit that I like pointing out: we know for certain both from Benson interviews and public statements made by Whedon, that Amber Benson KNEW Tara was going to die as far back as halfway through filming season four. In other words, when Whedon hired Benson to play Tara, he told her he was eventually going to kill off the character, so it was no surprise to Benson when it happened. She knew when she was filming HUSH that she was playing a character destined to die. How and when were kept a secret.

[ edited by ZachsMind on 2003-03-28 07:15 ]
Yeah. I've heard in several instances that the initial plan was to pull the trigger on Tara's death to send Willow over the edge much earlier than it happened, but that the relationship was so good that Joss & co. kept it going as long as they did. It's possibly a partial reason as to why she never became part of the credited cast until Seeing Red.
To be honest, I don't really buy the scheduling aspect for her non-appearance on the show. The scenes in questions would take no more than a day to film so I have a hard time believing she didn't have time to fit that in her schedule. She may have just been uncomfortable with Tara tormenting Willow or there may have been other reasons.
I think if she'd played the scenes she would have been villified by a large number of fans. Unfortunately.

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