BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
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Goodbye Buffy!

JAMES MARSTERS AND MICHELLE TRACHTENBERG

Q:
How are you doing today? Six seasons on one series, and you two are an integral part of it now.

TRACHTENBERG:
Ready? On three, Yay. Yay!

MARSTERS:
They were going to kill us off, but they didn’t, ‘cause we rock.

TRACHTENBERG:
Yay!

Goodbye Buffy!
Goodbye Buffy!

Q:
What are your thoughts on the Buffy phenomenon altogether? It must be overwhelming at times.

MARSTERS:
Yeah. It’s cool that right when it seems that the world—right when people were ready to accept a fantasy concept show as a more serious entertainment, when they were able to understand that that is possible. I think ever since “STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND” won the Pulitzer Prize, we’ve been heading towards something like this, where a serious artist uses this genre to speak his mind, to speak her mind, actually, with Marti Noxon here. Right when that happens, along comes Joss Whedon with “BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER.” It’s pretty incredible to be here now.

TRACHTENBERG
I think it’s really great. I think why “BUFFY” caught on was because there was really no other show at the time of its debut. I think it was in ’97, give or take?

MARSTERS:
Yep.

TRACHTENBERG
There was really no other show that glorified a female as a main character as, or rather, no show that had a female main character that was tough since “CHARLIE’S ANGELS.” Even the “CHARLIE’S ANGELS” girls were a little bit more about showing off and then the fighting.

MARSTERS
They were always sneaking around and getting kidnapped, weren’t they? Yeah.


TRACHTENBERG
Yeah. Buffy’s more of a take-charge kind of deal. I think you know, so fans kind of—

MARSTERS
You’re so right about that. Actually, I was watching “TOMB RAIDER” on DVD thinking “How would this be possible without ‘BUFFY’”?

TRACHTENBERG
Right. It wouldn’t.

MARSTERS
This movie from the video game never would have been tried or been financed before “BUFFY.”

TRACHTENBERG
It’s almost as if no one really wanted to go out there and make a female a positive, strong lead before someone else did it. The second Joss Whedon put out the fact that there is this great show that has quality writing. A lot of the writing, it’s a collaborative effort, basically, when it comes down to “BUFFY.” Not only is it the idea of just females can take charge (no offense, honey), the writing is great, we have a really great ensemble cast. I know I’m using the word, “Great.” like 30 times, but I mean it is what it is.

MARSTERS
I mean, everybody. The sound department is the best in the business. I’m serious. Right now, everyone’s fighting for them. Now the pressure’s on the rest of Hollywood wanting these departments are starting to take hold. But frankly, when everyone was hired around here, all across the board, they hired people who were just about to become known as really great in their profession, but were still cheap. They did that over and over again in every department.

TRACHTENBERG
It’s great. It’s true. Every single detail.

MARSTERS
Both weird and exciting.

TRACHTENBERG
Yes, please tell me.
MARSTERS
I know.

TRACHTENBERG
He feels really great talking about that with me sitting right here.

MARSTERS
I don’t know what to say because Sarah’s a friend, and she is engaged to an honorable man. If I was him and there was some loose-lipped costar saying that she’s turned on by my stage kisses, I’d go kick his ass. I’d take a crowbar to that idiot. So I show them both more respect in that. I will say this, that we’re being asked to go places that are a bit dangerous with this storyline, and that I’m very glad that Sarah and I have the relationship that we do, so that there’s trust. Because otherwise, it would be much more painful than it has to be.

Q:
How has being on the series affected you, Michelle? Now you’re recognized on the street.

TRACHTENBERG
To be honest, I understand obviously because I am here in America, how our show has influenced lives, and how American fans can relate to us through different situations that they’re going through in their lives. I’ve only recently begun to understand our popularly outside of the States. I have friends who are in Germany right now, and he literally E-mailed me the other day saying, “Okay, I can’t get away from you. I flip open a teen magazine, and there’s like 18 pictures of you and the rest of the ‘BUFFY’ cast. Why are you stalking me?” I’m like, “I don’t know! I didn’t mean to!”

MARSTERS:
(inaudible) I give her boy advice. I think you’ve got a good one.

TRACHTENBERG
It’s all about boys. You know, basically I’ve just been really honored and flattered, and almost really shocked how our popularity has spread everywhere. My Grandparents live in Israel, and they are just being introduced to the world of “BUFFY”, and when I went to visit them, my niece was like, “Oh my God, I loved that episode when you were, you know.” I was like, “How do you know?” Okay, like 18 things stopped right there. Obviously not that important what I was saying.

MARSTERS
That’s true. That’s the thing. . . In America, there’s more of a prejudice against this kind of show. If you have Vampires, you can’t be serious entertainment. I went overseas last year, and really realized what you’re waking up to now. That overseas, you guys don’t have this prejudice. You’re able to see it for what it is very clearly.


Q:
Good answer.

MARSTERS:
18 hours a day, 5 days a week, baby.

TRACHTENBERG
Yeah!

TRACHTENBERG
Fire!

MARSTERS
I’ll be playing in Paris this summer. I’m trying to talk Joss into coming with me and filling the void.

TRACHTENBERG
Filling the “BUFFY” void. (laughs)

MARSTERS
No, the void of 400 people staring at me for an hour and a half. Then what do you do with that airtime? It was both terrifying and exhilarating, because none of us knew that we could do a musical.

TRACHTENBERG
Yeah.

MARSTERS
Joss didn’t know if he could write a musical. We didn’t know, except you knew you could dance like a mother, of course.

TRACHTENBERG
Here’s where my agreement with Joss was, I said that I would dance, I would not sing. Apparently that didn’t go very well. I ended up singing.

MARSTERS
Yeah, he really cares about that.

TRACHTENBERG
It was funny because I was more nervous about singing that absolutely anything. I think in singing, you’re much more vulnerable. I was hard on my acting abilities, that’s all that I’m saying. It was funny because right as I was going into the recording booth and having my “Oh my god I’m going in and singing in front of millions of people”, James was there, and he just finished up. I knew that he left everyone in the room dumbfounded by how amazing he was. I was like, “Oh great, I have to go in after James. Couldn’t you put me after—“ I don’t know, actually, everyone was great.

MARSTERS
That’s the beauty of this place. Usually, if we were on “SEX AND THE CITY” or if we were on—no, shut the fuck up James. Can I please take that back? If we were on some other more realistic television shows—Oh my God.

Q:
It’s too late.

MARSTERS
“ SEX AND THE CITY” is a brilliant show by the way. It’s ashow that sometimes offends me, but I think is so well written, I don’tcare.

TRACHTENBERG
It’s female-centered, you see?

MARSTERS
But it’s anti-male sometimes, which I find offensive. We are allowed more cover, by the fact that we can say, “Look guys, it’s just vampires.” We’re able to address issues more directly, more honestly than a show that is realistic, has maneuvering room to do. Right after we had an incident in this country in a town called Columbine, where a student opened fire on his fellow classmates, two weeks after that we had an episode slated with a student in a bell tower with a rifle and Buffy talks him down. At the end of the day, we can say, “Hey, he’s just a demon.”

Q:
That’s the legacy of the series; it’s a responsibility.

MARSTERS
Yeah, yeah, which I think it is holding up very well as. It is cutting closer to the bone, getting more honest as the years go by. As Buffy becomes an adult, the issues become more adult. With the move to the UPN, I think we’re able to get closer to the bone.

TRACHTENBERG
I think we’re regenerated. Buffy’s in it’s fifth year, and I’m sorry to interrupt you—

MARSTERS
Go ahead.

TRACHTENBERG
We’re just as excited. I mean I really can’t say I’m just as excited as the first year, not having physically been on the show. I have been following the show since its debut. So we’re really excited, and the fact that we get to be thrown the stuff like the musical, and different things for our characters to do is really great. I know each and every character has gotten some flack about a certain episode. I think that basically, it’s just very important for us to show to the audience that this is what people go through. Like it or not, this is a mirror, and they can choose to look into it or not. We hope they look into it.

MARSTERS
If you guys are mad, it’s because Joss wants you to be mad.


TRACHTENBERG
Be mad but watch.

MARSTERS
He’s trying to piss you off, guys, but sometimes he really does want you to be aggravated.

TRACHTENBERG
Be mad but tune in.