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“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” may be very much of its time, but it still strikes a chord with those of us who grew up with it. Books have been written about it; you could even take college classes to analyze its themes. It was a part of the lives of viewers who waited each week to see Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) destroy evil, how she attempted to have a normal life while having an inborn compulsion to take down vampires, and how it affected those around her. We watched each week to see her fall in love and eventually move on from not one but two vampires with souls. First, of course, was Angel (David Boreanaz), who had that soul when he met her. The second was Spike (James Marsters), who got a soul in the seventh season after sexually assaulting Buffy in season 6. (There is still no way to excuse that particular storyline. I will not try.) What followed was Spike trying to come to terms with all the evil things he’d done in the past. 

Back in 2017, Marsters was interviewed by AV Club, who asked him about his “fondest memory of filming.” Marsters referenced the episode where he acquired a soul — season 7, episode 2, entitled “Beneath You” — and the reason why was creator Joss Whedon’s direction of a scene that hadn’t gone so well.  

‘You Kind Of Overacted’

Marsters told the site:

“There was a scene between Buffy and me in a church, and I think I ended up draping myself over a cross. I was very, very sad. [It was] a very dramatic scene. [Joss Whedon] didn’t direct it. He saw the footage and came up to me, and he said, ‘Okay, James, I’ve got good news and bad news, what do you want?’ I said, ‘Well, give me the bad news first.’ 

“He said, ‘Okay. That scene that was so important, your whole career-making scene? That sucks. It’s horrible. You kind of overacted. It’s not your fault. It was the direction. But it’s just so on the nose, and it’s just cringe-worthy.'”

That might not sound like something an actor wants to hear, but when what you’re doing is going to be seen by a giant chunk of TV viewers in the world, someone has to be the last line of defense. I don’t know about you, but I remember when this episode aired very well. It was really, really difficult to still like a character I used to love after he did what he did. This episode at least allowed us to see him suffer for it, and Marsters did a fantastic job selling it. 

So what was the good news? Well, it was the thing that made this Marsters’ fondest memory of filming.

‘I’m Going To Rewrite It, I’m Going To Direct It, I’m Going To Save This’

Marsters explained, “[Whedon] said, ‘Okay, I’m going to rewrite it, I’m going to direct it, I’m going to save this, it’s going to be right. Don’t worry.'” The actor said that the show was already filming more than other shows, which worked 12-hour days for eight days for an episode. He said that “Buffy” did that, and while the main unit director began the next episode, “we were doing pickups and extra shots on B and splinter units throughout the next week, which was not even entirely legal.” 

That’s an insane amount of work, and back then, seasons could often be 23 episodes long. Marsters was moved by Whedon’s willingness to make it work. He said, ” […] to go back and wholesale throw away an entire day’s work and begin from scratch in the midst of all that other filming was just a huge, huge thing to do. He was willing to do that.”

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and its spinoff series “Angel” are currently streaming on Hulu. 

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN’s National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Read this next: 12 Underrated Sci-Fi Shows That You Need To See

The post One Spike Scene In Buffy The Vampire Slayer Was So Cringey, Joss Whedon Rewrote It From Scratch appeared first on /Film.

/Film – One Spike Scene In Buffy The Vampire Slayer Was So Cringey, Joss Whedon Rewrote It From Scratch
Author: Jenna Busch
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March 11, 2023

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