32 Fascinating Behind-The-Scenes Facts About Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
This article is based on "20 Mind-Blowing Facts You Didnt Know About Buffy The Vampire Slayer", "33 Fun Facts About Buffy the Vampire Slayer", and "48 Things You Probably Didnt Know About Buffy The Vampire Slayer". If you're interested in reading more, check out the links at the bottom of the article.
Despite the fact that it was barely nominated for awards when it originally aired Buffy the Vampire Slayer has gone on to be one of the most celebrated fantasy and action televisions series of all time.
2/32 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.
3/32 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.
4/32 When the pilot was picked up showrunners knew they needed to start looking for a new Willow. Riff Regan who appeared in the pilot just wasn't working for them. In casting they specifically looked for someone who had a more natural look and were impressed by Alyson Hannigan who brought an unbelievable tenderness and vulnerability to the role.
5/32 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.
6/32 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.
7/32 Mid-series Nicholas Brendon was told to stop working out as he was getting too fit to be a believable nerd.
8/32 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.
9/32 The first season was shot on a budget and they couldn't afford a soundstage so they used a warehouse in Santa Monica, California. They had to use the same hallway over and over again for school scenes because they could only afford to build one and hoped viewers wouldn't notice. The outside of the warehouse was designed to look like the exterior of the Bronze in the hope that they could film seamless outside-to-inside shots of characters entering the Bronze. It ended up being too complicated for lighting reasons and the fact that they always had to shoot the scenes at night.
10/32 The show is famous for Buffyspeak, inspired by California Valley-girl and Whedon's own unique vernacular. Sarah Michelle Gellar constantly stumbled over the phrase and their meanings because she grew up in New York City and wasn't familiar with the slang. In her audition she asked what "sitch" meant for the phrase "What's the sitch?" because she genuinely had no idea it meant "situation". Slayer Slang: A Buffy The Vampire Slayer Lexiconwas published in 2012.
11/32 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.
12/32 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.
13/32 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 Buffy than any other movie or TV show.
14/32 The actress originally slated to play Anya dropped out a few days before filming and Emma Caulfield was brought in. She was only supposed to be a guest star for two episodes but the writers liked the character and she grew to be a series regular. Joss Whedon wanted to kill her off in the season 5 finale but Emma kept moving in the final shot, proving that Anya couldn't possibly be dead, so they just kept her on.
15/32 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.
16/32 Buffy turned into a rat in season 2 because Sarah Michelle Gellar had an engagement on Saturday Night Live.
17/32 The show continues as a comic book with many of the same writers as on the show. James Marsters even teamed up with the writers to create a comic about Spike.
18/32 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.
19/32 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.
20/32 The decision to bring Dawn on the show came out of wanting an important, intense emotional relationship for Buffy that wasn't romantic. For several seasons Buffy had been defined by her boyfriends and Whedon wanted a reminder about the importance of family.
21/32 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.
22/32 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.
23/32 Darla, the vampire who sired Angel, was supposed to die at the end of her first episode but Whedon kept her alive because he thought the romance would be an interesting love triangle. She was killed a few episodes later but continued to make appearances on Angel.
24/32 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.
25/32 The fifth season episode "The Replacement" involved two Xanders which would have been hard to film with the technology available at the time. Instead they used Nicholas Brendon's real life twin Kelly. Kelly was used again in the episode "Intervention" when Nicholas had pneumonia but was only needed for some background scenes.
26/32 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.
27/32 Tara was supposed to come back in the seventh season but for two reasons this didn't pan out. Whedon asked her to appear as The First in "Conversations With Dead People" but all characters who appeared as The First were evil and Amber Benson didn't want Tara remembered like that. Another idea was for Buffy to be granted one wish during the finale and she would wish for Tara to be brought back but Benson was busy and unable to film.
28/32 Joss Whedon always knew he wanted one core character could be gay but couldn't decide between Xander and Willow. He liked the idea of Xander having a boyfriend because it would bring another male into an otherwise predominately female cast. In the end Willow and Tara was one of the first representations of a lesbian relationship on a major television series and set the standard for future shows.
29/32 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.
30/32 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.
31/32 Faith was originally written to commit suicide after being so racked with guilt over murdering Deputy Mayor Finch but Joss Whedon was so impressed with her performance in the episodes leading up to her suicide that he rewrote it.
32/32 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.
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We are told that, if you're not confident, you should just "fake it til you make it."
This is great--in theory. In practice, sometimes "faking it" can have extremely real and terrible consequences, which these people found out the hardest of hard ways.