From Bleeding Cool reporter Jimmy Leszczynski:
I packed into Room 7A with a gaggle of Buffy fans here to learn about the new book Slayers & Vampires: The Complete Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Buffy and Angel, from Tor Books. The book is being released in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the show.
The authors of the upcoming release, Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman (co-authors of The Fifty-Year Mission), reopen the Hellmouth and look back at the secret history of the slayer who saved the world. This room full of slayer fans start clapping as the lights go down…but sorry, folks: technical difficulties keep the clip from playing. So instead of acting out the clips, the authors begin by talking about starting this book hot off the heels of another, to squeeze it in time for the 20-year anniversary. Once they realized it was in fact 20 years, they reached out to their publisher Tor Books, who quickly green-lit the project
Altman starts off:
“We are here on a Sunday afternoon at Comic-Con to celebrate Buffy, but more importantly, also Angel, which we call the Deep Space Nine of the Universe. A show that is as good, if not better than the show that inspired it, and doesn’t get the love.”
“Ed Gross, you have has been a journalist for years, writing for Empire magazine,” Altman says. “Tell us your relationship with and about the time you met Joss Whedon.”
Gross replied, “Well, it was way back in 1995; I was a young lady of, well I was a little younger, I was working as an editor for Empire magazine. And I heard that Joss had been hired to do some directing, so I said to myself, ‘How many Joss Whedons can there be in the one phone book?'”
“A phone book was this big book that you had to look through pages with listings in alphabetical order to find the numbers,” Mark chimes in to some laughs.
Gross continued: “Yes, there’s one. So I called it. I picked up the phone, I introduced myself. I think his exact words were ‘Hello?’ You know, pre-secretary, pre-Buffy, I got him on the phone. So I introduced myself and probably spent an hour, hour and a half on the phone. And we talked about this script he had, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and how much he hated it. He made no secrets about it.”
“We initially would speak about four times a year, by the time Angel was over, we were speaking maybe twice a year. And I can say one of the last things I said to him was, ‘Thank you so much for always making yourself available to me.’ And Joss said to me, ‘Ed, you think my stuff is important when nobody else did, and I will never forget that.’ And he never did — until Avengers.” The crowd reacts to the joke with claps and laughs.
Tell me about Charisma Carpenter, Altman prompts.
“She had a lot of anxiety about learning her lines, and I guess confidence waned, so she had these coaches on set to help her. And I felt kind of bad for her.”
When Mark asked about being prepared on the set, Gross told us Sarah Michelle Gellar was always prepared and knew her lines, and wasn’t very patient with others that were not. The cast was well aware that if you kept screwing up, you were going to get killed. Not really, but if you didn’t straighten up, they’d “kill you [off]”.
Then, HUZZAH! The lights dim as the video package is finally ready to be shown. It was put together by Dave Rodgers, who has an Emmy for The Office. Thanks, Dave.
It starts with the show’s opening montage, then all the title cards from every major actor that starred on the show. Hi, Seth Green. Then quick cuts of the intro scenes for Buffy, Cordelia, Willow, and Angel, but the most cheers goes to Giles, Anthony Stewart Head. Now the crowd goes silent as The Gentlemen take the screen. A few shots of those creepy baster-dash floating down the hall and we are into a melody of songs from fan favorite, Once More With Feeling, the sixth season all-musical episode, and everyone is singing along.
The lights come up as my hands start ringing from clapping so hard.
We are asked to thank Rodgers again for putting together the clips. Great job, dude. Maybe another Emmy?
We then go to Q&A, and a fan wants to say thanks for 20 years of Buffy. She had been picked on for years as a child, and the strength that she saw in Buffy gave her the courage to finally stand up and fight for herself.
The best and last question comes from a little girl who asks how Whedon came up with the idea of Buffy and Angel. Gross answered, “He got tired of going to a lot of movies with women going into alleys and getting beat up or attacked. And instead, he wanted to turn the tables … and the blond girl kicks the bad guy’s butt.”
Altman and Gross applauded the question and rewarded her with a signed copy of the book.
Slayers & Vampires is available September 26th on Amazon, or wherever you get books from these days. You can also check out @slayersandvamps on Twitter.