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August 25 2005

Backstage interview with Nicholas Brendon and Bradley Cooper. The article mentions their new sitcom, their Emma Caulfield connection and also NB's thoughts on Xander post-Season 4.

While working on the TV movie I Want to Marry Ryan Banks Bradley Cooper was constantly regaled with stories about a certain actor. His co-star, Emma Caulfield, couldn't stop talking about Nicholas Brendon, who played her love interest on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. "She kept saying, 'Oh, my God, there was this guy that I worked with who you kind of remind me of, but he's really funny and he's such a great actor. You guys would get along,'" says Cooper. "Every day we'd do a scene, and she'd go, 'Oh, my God, he would be so great in that scene.' I'm, like, 'The scene I just did?' She's, like, 'Yeah, oh, my God, the choices he would have made.' This guy, Nicholas Brendon, I wanted to f***ing kill him."

What a funny story! I never noticed the comparison until now, but yes, Will Tippin was the Xander of Alias. I still miss him on that show.

"We actually have become so close we don't have to talk anymore," says Brendon. "What's going on in our heads is 10 times better than this."

Ha! Nick is a scream.

This is an excellent article. I love that Nick and Bradley are so down-to-earth, and they really have the right attitude about the industry. They sound like lovely people and I wish them and their new show the best.

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2005-08-25 02:45 ]
Thank you so much for finding this, Saturn Girl. This was such a fun read! They are both so honest and revealing in this interview, and quite adorable, really.
I wish I had an Emma Caulfield connection.
I never noticed the comparison until now, but yes, Will Tippin was the Xander of Alias. I still miss him on that show.


That was the first thing my kids and I thought of Will Tippin. It's irksome Bradley Cooper got so discouraged by silly couch potato critics on the internet. He was the most likeable character in "Alias" (because of his Xanderism), and we were sorry to see him go.

It was also nice to learn that Emma Caulfield was saying such great things about Nick Brendon post-Buffy.

"She kept saying, 'Oh, my God, there was this guy that I worked with who you kind of remind me of, but he's really funny and he's such a great actor.

LOL! A little too Anya-like! :-D

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2005-08-25 02:51 ]
Very fun interview -- thanks for posting, Saturn Girl. Breaks my heart that Bradley Cooper's take-away from his time on Alias is that "people didn't like (his) character." I'm watching Alias for the first time on DVD and am struggling through S3, partly because I'm missing his Will Tippin something fierce. He played that role with such vulnerability and soul -- it's surprising to hear how little acting experience he had before winning the part.

I know this is Whedonesque, so I'm happy that Nick Brendon has landed a new show. But I'll be watching Kitchen Confidential, mostly to see *ducks* Cooper get his naughty Bourdain on. After two seasons of the watching him the embody sensitive innocence of Will Tippin, I relish the thought of having a peek at his inner bad boy. *makes little girly claps*
I'm all teary eyed thinking of Nick feeling so good after all he's been through. I'm so glad for him!
It's irksome Bradley Cooper got so discouraged by silly couch potato critics on the internet. He was the most likeable character in "Alias" (because of his Xanderism), and we were sorry to see him go.

I can't believe there were Will Tippin haters. It now seems everyone wants him to return to Alias. At least, that's what I've been reading online during the past season. It sure is sad that that's what he took away from that show. What a shame. He's such a great actor. I saw him play a very creepy sadistic guy in the very disturbing movie "My Little Eye". While he was a great every-man on Alias, he can also play a great villian. Bourdain is an even completely different role and I can't wait.

I'm all teary eyed thinking of Nick feeling so good after all he's been through. I'm so glad for him!

Gingeriffic, I also got verklempt when I read about him feeling all appreciative of his success. I can understand that kind of joy after you've been through something difficult and life-changing, and been humbled by it. It's an amazing feeling.
This really is a nice interview. I can almost visualize the two as they interact with one another, and I'm glad that they get along so well. And, as said by others above, Cooper was one of my favorite characters on Alias. I was so sorry to see him go, and I'm even more sorry now that I know why. But clearly he's in a good place now, mental-health-wise, as Nick seems to be. I'm looking forward to this show -- perhaps even more than the shows with the other 'verse actors -- and I hope the show and these two guys all do well.
I also wish I had an Emma Caulfield connection.
I'm still vaguely shocked by the whole "Xander, done" thing.
Ocular - with you on that!

..Season Five on [Buffy], or the end of Season Four, ... Joss [Whedon] actually said Xander was done--that there was no more. I was just kind of relegated to the background.

I have to say that stunned me a little - I thought we saw a lot of change for Xander in S6, maybe not so much on S7 though, but S4 it stopped?
Maybe that was Nick's interpretation of something Joss said, and not verbatum. I did a double take when I read that too, but I don't know that Joss actually felt that way. Xander did a lot of changing in seasons 5 and 6.
It also could have been a decision that changed at some point over the following two seasons, maybe all at once, or gradually a new direction for Xander started taking shape.
I love that part about Emma XD
But I'm shocked by that about Xander too.
I can't agree with that, and I can't believe Joss said that.
It seems Xander had a lot to do in S6. I mean, after helping bring Buffy back to life, intimidating her into feeling she had to hide her relationship with Spike, devastating Anya by ditching her at the alter, and doing a whole bunch of other stuff, he saved the world with his words!
I wonder if we could ever get clarification on that. I find that hard to believe too.
I seem to remember an SFX interview with Nick where he talks about a couple of plot lines for Xander being nixed in season 7. I don't think Nick was too happy with that happening.

The plotlines were a Buffy and Xander romance and Xander being killed and coming back as a monster.
Why does bradley cooper say s*** at one point and its not bleeped out, yet at another point in the article they make it look exactly like I did bleeping it out "s***"? This is really weird to me... I think if you say it once, who cares how many more times you say it its the same word and I could read the one many times, or just read a couple each once makes no difference in writing. Is there some censorship rule about only one s-bomb per review/article? Anyone know?? By the way, other then that - awesome post!
I just can't believe and never will believe that Joss was done with Xander. He was the only normal character in the show. Do you need to be a vampire to have something in Joss' world? Do you need to be evil or former evil to get something?
I still think there's more Xander story to tell. I'd love to know what happens to him post-Chosen.

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2005-08-25 11:31 ]
The plotlines were a Buffy and Xander romance and Xander being killed and coming back as a monster.

Personally, I'm glad this didn't happen. I didn't want the Buffy relationships to become too ridiculous. With some shows, by the end, nearly ever main character has hooked up with another main character at some point, like Dawson's Creek or The OC. I didn't want Buffy to become like that, because it just reveals that they have nothing better to do with the characters. The Bronze scene in "Beneath You" successfully highlighted this issue, and I think it was a statement that they weren't going to do that.

As much as I like Nick as an actor and Xander as a character, and wish he had more to do in season seven, I am glad that they didn't do this. Xander already has a brief romance with Willow, a crush on Buffy, went out with Cordelia and Anya. What with Buffy's relationship with Spike, and Anya sleeping with Spike to get Xander back, I wouldn't want them to confuse things even more, because I think Buffy will never see Xander that way, and I think by then even he didn't see her the other way. He was still in love with Anya in season seven.

I also didn't want to see him killed and I felt that The First was already appearing as dead people, and they didn't need to add Xander to the list. But losing the eye was still a big sacrifice.

Very nice interview, by the way, and I also liked Will Tippin on Alias. It's a shame Bradley felt that way but hopefully in the future he will be able to see how appreciated he was by a lot of people. I didn't feel he was too much like Xander, not quite as funny or awkward (early Xander, that is) but he had other interesting qualities.
‘They'll never know how tough it is, Dawnie, to be the one who isn't chosen. To live so near to the spotlight and never step in it. But I know. I see more than anybody realizes because nobody's watching me. I saw you last night. I see you working here today. You're not special. You're extraordinary.’

(Potential; 7x12)


That's not someone talking who is 'done'.
That's someone who has grown A LOT. Who is mature, very wise and very tender.
Very different from the teenager Xander. If anything, I would say he only began to grow and develop after Season 4.
I don't think Nick meant to imply that Joss had actually said anything about Xander being done. I think he just means that with hindsight, he feels like his character just didn't have much to do in the final seasons. Regardless of whether he had big story arcs or whatever, he was still a crucial part of the show. He was needed, even if it was as more general support for the other characters. IMO anyway. Xander certainly grew a lot during the final couple of seasons, and I for one actually liked him a lot more in the later years.
I'll take NB at his word and that JW told him that. Why would he lie? I'm not happy about that at all and think it's a terrible thing to say to someone. Basically they had no idea what to do with Xander post S4. Therefore the fact that I came to hate the character that I had loved since the first episode I saw of the show (Halloween S2) during S6, and then loved him again in S7 I put down solely to the performance of a fine actor. I cannot put the credit with the storymaker.

[ edited by lynnie on 2005-08-25 14:32 ]
lynnie: Maybe you should stop putting words into people's mouths. Nobody here has said that Nick was lying. Some of us are simply discussing alternative interpretations of what he said at one point in the interview. If you choose to see accusations of lying where they do not exist, that's your issue. Some of us just happen to think there's a chance that his words weren't supposed to be taken completely literally.

[ edited by Impossible on 2005-08-25 14:52 ]
If one reads carefully, he's not quoted as saying Joss told him directly. Possibly someone told him Joss said something like that, who knows?. Nick may be bemoaning the loss of occasional Xander-centric episodes like The Replacement, The Zeppo, Inca Mummy Girl, The Pack, and Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, with Hell's Bells being the only exception I can think of post-Replacement (early S5). Clearly his character still developed in small snippets after that.
"lynnie: Maybe you should stop putting words into people's mouths. Nobody here has said that Nick was lying. Some of us are simply discussing alternative interpretations of what he said at one point in the interview. If you choose to see accusations of lying where they do not exist, that's your issue. Some of us just happen to think there's a chance that his words weren't supposed to be taken completely literally.

[ edited by Impossible on 2005-08-25 14:52 ]
Impossible | August 25, 14:46 CET "


I never said anyone here was lying. I said that I read what NB said and believe it as I don't see any reason for him to be dishonest in this matter. I then posed a question, that is all. Please do not be so defensive and attack me for merely asking a question.

I was not putting "words in people's mouths" and I'll think you'll find that it is you who has now done this. Not me.

For clarification when I wrote "I'm not happy about that at all and think it's a terrible thing to say to someone." I was referring to NB being told his character was done by JW. It was not a commentary on anyone's opinions here.
I'm thinking that maybe what Joss might have meant was that the Xander that we knew and loved was done and that his character would be changing a little bit into something more serious? Because by seasons 6 and 7, we had a lot less of goofy Xander and a more mature, adult Xander. So maybe Joss was talking about the qualities that made Xander Xander and how they would be changing a little after season 4.

Just a thought.

Yeah, they had some crazy ideas that never fell through that kinda made me happy. They originally were gonna make Xander Glory's other half instead of Ben (?) and Anya was meant to die at the end of season 5. And yeah, Xander and Buffy were supposed to end up together, but seriously? I see them more as (and sorry if I leave anyone out in the dark with this analogy) Nightwing and Donna Troy. They've been through eveything together, and they love each other deeply, but they aren't in love with each other - and they never should be.
Folks, please remember when reading the text on the screen that tone is hard to judge and please assume the best intent/tone from your fellow whedonesquers, as that is most often correct.
I don't think Xander had an arcline of his own in the last three seasons. The way I see it is that he was used to support the other arclines and as such his own arcline was developed. The problem with using a character in this way that the question: 'who's Xander?' remains a mystery. I think that this is the problem authors had with Xander in S7. Xander dying in S7 and coming back as the First could have shed some more light on this question. Instead, his character is even more of a mystery.
zeitgeist, well stated.
Well, now we know why Xander dropped off the radar near the end...because he was "done." How sad. And in contrast, Willow's druggie-magic and "gay now" stuff is seen as necessary character development. Again, sad.

Will Tippen was one of my favorite characters in Alias...the most human, the only one who wasn't a Mary Sue but also wasn't boring (like Francie). I can't believe that people hated him, but they must have been the sort of people who only like a character that can do backflips while shooting two guns simultaneously while wearing a long black leather coat and designer jeans. Whatever. It's our loss.
"The plotlines were a Buffy and Xander romance and Xander being killed and coming back as a monster."

I'm glad this didn't happen too.
Looks ridiculous.
I would have liked to have seen the Xander/Glory thing happen, only for a "how could they have pulled THAT off?" aspect. It'd be a tough one to do because you'd have to ret-con a lot of Ben's blackouts into Xander's life, and then somehow (hopefully) not kill him at the end of the season. I could have bought the Xander/Buffy thing, but only after some maturity on their part. Xander as a guy who is human but isn't subtly threatened by the Slayer factor, and is over his "crush" phase, and Buffy as someone who had grown past the dark and glamorous bit to see someone who would walk into hell for her.

Glad to see Nick has some work there for him and I'm looking forward, hopefully real soon, to see Unholy.
I don't see how the Glory/Xander thing could have worked out. I'm glad they didn't do it, because I think it was important that Xander survived, because he was the most human member of the group. And it would have been so stupid, more than likely Glory would break out from Xander in the presence of the Gang before too long, and even though there may have been the forgetfulness, if they looked back and Xander was never present during any of their fights with Glory, they could realise and still remember, because the forgetfulness only seems to work whenever they see the morphing happen.

Personally I wish there had have been more Xander stuff from season four onwards, I felt after that he was much further out of the spotlight. Don't get me wrong, he had a lot of fantastic moments but he lacked the clear arcs and storylines that were in abundence with Buffy or Willow. And don't get me wrong, I enjoyed them, but I could have done with slightly less of them and slightly more of Xander.

Also, it also meant there was slightly less of Anya, which was also a tragedy. Some of their stuff together, such as the end of "Selfless" was among the most beautiful and interesting work on the show, and I would have preferred seeing more of it than Potential whining and the endless story of Buffy and Spike. Don't get me wrong, I liked their relationship but I just felt like it receieved too much attention.

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