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March 31 2011

Back where it all began - great on set movie report from 1992 about Buffy The Vampire Slayer. A producer says they "flipped over this weirdly funny script by a 25-year-old with red hair flowing down to his ass."

Nice find. Totally reinforces the idea that the Kazuis had absolutely no idea what they were doing. I've also always gotten the feeling that Sutherland was mostly a pain because he had no respect for the director, and this article pretty much flat out states that.

Lastly, Rutger Hauer is awesome.
Next came Perry, who had been slipped the script just about the time Kuzui had finished rewriting it.

Says it all, really. You can actually feel Joss's pain through all the gung-ho hype of the article. And the cluelessness of Fran Kuzui in particular. And the description of Sutherland's attitude and sense of entitlement is another clue to the cluelessness of the approach.

Still, we'd never have had our Buffy without this film, so there has to be some credit for that, somewhere.

I would, BTW, be ecstatic to see a photo of 25-year-olod Joss with "red hair down to his ass". Wouldn't anyone?
Hate this movie so much. What a waste! It was a good read though. Wish it had more quotes from Joss. I can never get enough retro goodness.

Here you go Gill, Young Joss. Found that through google, theres another pic of Joss with long hair somewhere online too of him sitting down. It used to be on a buffy fan site but I don't remember the url.

[ edited by eddy on 2011-03-31 12:24 ]
My fave detail is Downey Jr turning up. 19 years later, he shall be on joss' set.
I also find it ironic how there are so many Alien references in the article a few years before he would be hired to write the sequel.
Eddy, thank you. That is adorable! So very, very red; I hadn't realised that.
He's like a viking princess. 3.
Heh, those Alien and Downey Jr. bits made me smile as well. Great find, this, gossi. I also agree on how you can see everything going wrong here.

It's so clear most people here don't care about the movie they're making; they're here for career exposure, something to do, or making a quick buck over the summer. All of which is fine, by the way. It's just that this is Buffy. I wonder how these all people would have reacted if they'd known upfront what this little movie they never seemed to believe in artistically, would lead to.
Just saw that picture of Joss in his younger days. He looks like a member of Yes.
Nice find about Buffy's humble beginnings. Now if only we can find an article about the 1997 TV premiere with a WB boss saying, "yeah, we knew all along it would be a hit."
Yemaya on Twitter found it and sent me it over. It's pretty neat.
At one time I had a major crush on Hauer, so reading this: because he said, ‘You don’t understand. Whatever Lothos is to Buffy, that’s what I want to be, so you decide who I am.’ ... What? I'm not touching the robe with black underwear on only, with a ten-foot pole (no pun intended). Seriously though, it sounds like some fun was had but when you think about what we know now, you really feel, maybe even more for what Joss went through.

eddy, thank you very much for the photo - I tried googling it and did not come up with that (and, yum).
Would the series have happened at all if the movie hadn't been so *not* what Joss imagined?
I really enjoyed this article. I'm an unashamed fan of the movie. Nothing like I'm a fan of the show, it's like apples and oranges, but I still love it.
Love every bit of Paul Rubens' performance, love Kristy Swanson as Buffy, love the concept of Buffy protecting her fellow students and "damsel in distress" boyfriend.
Also I got a kick out of the pic of Joss with hair. Hee. Cute.
"One of my favorite actors is Wings Hauser."

Pretty much says it all, doesn't it?
http://www.isensmith.com/fgm/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/young_whedon.jpg
It sounds like Rutger Hauer was the only one who took his character seriously as an actor. Check this Kristy Swanson quote:

He’d ask me a million questions, like, ‘Tell me, Kristy, how does Buffy see Lothos? What does Lothos mean to you?’ Finally, I said, ‘Look, what does that matter? You take care of your character, I’ll take care of mine and we’ll just leave it at that.’


She later says she felt bad about that, but still, it shows the attitude on set.

I knew Donald Sutherland wanted to change his lines, but I didn't know he insisted on such a major change as having his character not die. That's a big deal. I'm amazed that an actor could walk onto any set and say, "Yeah, I decided my character isn't going to die in this movie." And then have the entire production actually cater to him. Mind blowing. Does that stuff really happen in Hollywood?
Man. This is so weird. I think it really shows where the movie went wrong:

director Kuzui is trying for hilarity in a scene involving Perry and Swanson.


Fox executives, who are “ecstatic” about the dailies, according to co-producer Howard Rosenman (Father of the Bride), are supposedly tearing pages out of the script.


and

It’s a kid’s movie that Fox wanted made quickly.


Still, if this movie hadn't been made, we would have never gotten the show.

I love the appearance by Downey, telling Luke Perry to "Get over it."

Also this:

Fran Kuzui resonated to the script and asked Whedon to create a woman sidekick character for the vampire king.
She also made Buffy “more lovable” and encouraged the screenwriter’s resolve to write the character as a “strong, seminal, idiosyncratic female heroine—something you don’t see much of in horror movies outside of Ripley in Alien.


Interesting. I wonder how much truth there is to that.
A fascinating read and I'm amazed at how open they all are about the differences on set. I couldn't imagine today many directors/producers admitting one of their actors was a pain before the film is even released, particular someone of Southerlands status. We all know Joss has said things since (am I right in thinking he has called him a "prick"?) but kind astonishing it would be in the publicity.

Also interested to hear that Joss was always on set during the filming. I would have thought he had very little input, from what I've heard, but the image created here is that he was on hand, even if he was never listened to. Would be interesting to hear from him how much of a disaster it appeared to him at the time or whether he was just over come by actually getting a film made.
Cary Elwes nearly made a cameo? Damn.
Kristy Swanson, the straight-talker who plays heroine Buffy, shrugs: “For all I know, it could be really hilarious, or it could really suck.”

Looks like she nailed it on the head.
Well, in the end, she's still remembered for proving a gal clobbering vampires is a good thing...and even better when done right. Actually interviewed her in Sacramento, but only had a little time for questions. Would have loved to get more in-depth about filming of movie
She later says she felt bad about that, but still, it shows the attitude on set.

But to be fair to Swanson, Joss has previously praised her work in the film, saying that she would frequently consult with him about lines and stuff like that. So she wasn't just cashing a paycheck on this film, I don't think.
I think she did very well, however, it came to mute with the direction of the film. This has been argured repeatedly.
I agree that Swanson did very well. Honestly, the casting wasn't really the problem -- Swanson, Sutherland, Hauer, Ruebens, even Perry and Arquette do the best they can, and all of them would have been fine in a better movie.

What kills the Buffy movie, to me, is that the direction is TERRIBLE. Kazui completely botches the tone of the script while demonstrating zero sense of style, zero understanding of horror, suspense, or comedy, and zero ability to direct actors.
I think Luke Perry comes across really well in this piece. Hauer cracks me up with his swipes about how "young" the actors are, his exchange with Kristy Swanson about character motivation and building a relationship between Lothos and Buffy was telling.


Believe me, he was not the problem on this movie.


Ha! Oh, we know who was the problem on this movie.

[Fran] also made Buffy “more lovable” and encouraged the screenwriter’s resolve to write the character as a “strong, seminal, idiosyncratic female heroine—something you don’t see much of in horror movies outside of Ripley in Alien.


Hee! Joss clearly needed help making Buffy more lovable.

It was Kristy’s idea that, while other girls wear sandals, Buffy wears dark Doc Martens—as a way of saying somehow she always knew that she was born to be a slayer.


Eh. I think the contrast between Buffy's typical Valley Girl femininity and her potential for kickass violence was more important. The Doc Martens mess with the image contrast.
Christ, that sounds like a disaster. I still haven't seen Buffy the movie, I keep being tempted because hilariously we just got the dvd of it at the academic library I work in for a course on gothic literature.

It sounds like pretty much everyone they spoke to didn't really get the project.

Also, classic Joss quote:
Now that it had Luke Perry, the script was brilliant. I’d like to think they actually read the script before they got so excited about it.

What an absolutely perfect storm of hack Hollywood ego bullshit that production was.
Yeah, if anything it's surprising it wasn't much, much worse.

Good article though, i'm also amazed at the candour.
I feel like we don't read articles like this nowadays. Maybe the writer was talented at bringing it out, getting people to talk. Or maybe people were just more inclined to talk.

I think there was a high level of skill in the writing here. This guy knew how to find the dirt.

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