2017 heralds the 20th anniversary of the premiere of ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’, one of television’s most iconic and groundbreaking series, and with it a new slew of interviews and introspectives with the cast and crew on how the cultural monolith continues to affect their lives.
Also, omg I’m so old, only 90s kids will remember etc. etc.
One such new interview, courtesy of the A.V. Club, sees James Marsters, the actor responsible for the equally terrifying and sexy vampire villain-turned-anti-hero Spike, open up about his time on the show including his take on that confronting bathroom scene from the end of the controversial sixth season.
For those who didn’t spend their teens staying up till 2am discussing the minutiae of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ on insanely dorky internet forums (yes boys, I’m single), Season 6 of the show divided fans with its notably darker tone and often heavy handed thematic depictions of drug-use, abandonment & sexual assault.
The season came to a disconcerting head in one of the penultimate episodes where a damaged, borderline-unhinged Spike forces himself on an injured Buffy, leading to a tense and distressing-to-watch attempted rape scene:
Ultimately acting as a catalyst for his character to seek redemption and regain his actual soul (yeah, it’s a whole thing), Marsters describes the shooting of the scene as one of the most difficult processes of his career:
“It was the hardest day of my professional life. I was curled up in a foetal position in between takes. I can’t watch scenes like that. I choose not to. I won’t go to a movie that has something like that. It’s a specific hot button for me. It just really makes me crazy. It was really hard. It was just unbelievably hard.”
Despite the impact filming such a confronting scene had on him, Marsters admits that he doesn’t regret a moment of working on ‘BtVS’, especially the more downbeat moments of S6:
“I’m glad we did it. Spike was evil, and I think a lot of people forgot about that. Joss [Whedon, the showrunner] was constantly trying to remind the audience, ‘Look, guys, I know he’s charming, but he’s evil.’ He’s a bad boyfriend. It would be bad to date a guy like this. And I think he wanted to reinforce that in the most dramatic way imaginable…
“And I was truly terrified. In hindsight, I recognize that that’s exactly where you want to be. Artistically, if you feel safe and comfortable, you’re boring and you might as well just stop it. You really want to be out of your comfort zone, and I was certainly out of my comfort zone during that time. I don’t take any of what happened in six back.”
Elsewhere in the lengthy chat, Marsters gushes over co-star Anthony Stewart Head who played the fatherly character of Giles (“He was the best actor on the show by a mile”) and incorrectly states the introduction of Buffy’s sister Dawn was a good idea, when it definitely was not, as she sucks a million.
Check out the full interview and other dope stuff from A.V. Club’s ‘Buffy’ Week here, and hit me up on Twitter if you want to argue with me on whether Angel or Spike were better boyfriends for Buffy. (Spoiler: you will lose).
If you or someone you know is experiencing physical or sexual abuse, calls can be made 24 hours a day on 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) to the National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line, or visit www.whiteribbon.org.au.
Source: The A.V. Club.
Picture: Buffy the Vampire Slayer.