Nick Brendon Visits With Buffy Fans In Sacramento

He had to get used to sitting in the Masonic Center, and its fancy background.  Once he settled down, he said “I’m Nicholas Brendon and you’re not”, the session started. 

He listed his favorite Buffy episodes, including “The Zeppo”, and “The Pack”. He really enjoyed “Buffy vs. Dracula”, where he wound up being Renfield. As for the classic episode “Hush”, he said that the Gentlemen weren’t so scary at first, but they were once filming got underway. He also talked about the props he got to take home, including his eye patch from the last season. He also talked about how he lost a really nice leather coat from “Buffy vs. Dracula”, but soon found a replacement. He still has his slippers from “Once More With Feeling.”

He admitted he doesn’t have any input on his character in the Dark Horse comic books, but was very surprised season eight lasted 40 issues…and that Xander was kind of friends with Dracula again.

As for Buffy, he thinks it’s more popular now than it was back when it was first shown. “I just think that we were all really, really happy to be there,” he said. “It’s special for an actor to get that opportunity to play in one of the top ten shows of all time, in my opinion…and I think also in Time magazine’s opinion, too.”

Some interesting trivia was revealed, such as Xander was almost killed off in the final episode until Marti Noxon changed Joss‘ mind..because the fans would be very upset. Melanie Lynskey, who co-starred with Kate Winslet in Heavenly Creatures, was Joss Whedon’s choice to be Willow. The studio wanted Alyson Hannigan, and Nick said Joss later admitted the studio was right that time

Brendon revealed he’ll be back soon as Kevin Lynch on Criminal Minds. He was supposed to be in the premiere, but plans changed. He noted that some Buffy fans do tune in, hoping to see him. “They’re getting the benefits of me being on the show without having to pay me to be on the show,” he said. He gets recognized for being Kevin, and the rapist who was part of Private Practice’s biggest story arc last season.

Speaking of that role, Brendon said when he was approached for it, he should play it as someone who wouldn’t be suspecting of being a rapist. He called it being a bad guy with a smile. “You kind of, like, smirk a little bit, “ he said, “look too intentively at the eyes, like don’t break eye contact.” He noted that Julia Roberts’s acting style is like that, when she is talking to someone in Eat, Pray, Love. Still, he prefers being the friend/guy next door/nerd because it can be more interesting than being the “cool guy”.

Even though the show’s been off the show for nine years, he still gets together with some of the other actors, mainly at conventions, including James Marsters, Mercedes McNabb, Claire Kramer, Julie Benz and Anthony Stewart Head. In fact, Nick is practically Head’s neighbor.

Fans wondered why Xander didn’t marry Anya in “Hell’s Bells” or whether Buffy and Xander would have been lovers. Nick said it was Joss’ idea to keep the Core Four (Buffy, Xander, Willow, Giles) together, and the fact that sometimes there’s sadness, and weddings between a human and former vengeance demon don’t work out. Nick did say that Joss did consider the suggesting of Buffy and Xander dating, but decided that wouldn’t be true to the spirit of the show. She would be destined for someone else.

Xander’s turning point as a character, according to Brendon, was in “The Zeppo” where he faced down zombies, and the end of season six. He said that he was willing to have Joss do anything to his character, except say that he has halitosis. Still, Nick has a lot of respect for Joss as a writer and director, and that Buffy would always be “his baby”. He also said Joss hasn’t gotten the credit for opening up the vampire genre, leading to True Blood and Twilight.

While Brendon said he‘d “don the Xander clothes again” if there is another Buffy movie, making a Buffy movie without Joss would be a bad idea. “It’s like building a house on sand, “ he said. “Joss did the movie. He hated it, so he did the TV show, and that was him writing it. Just because it’s called Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it’s not going to f—-ing write itself.” He says Buffy is a brand name, and it’s Joss’ brand. 

He was asked if he has seen Sarah Michelle Gellar’s new show Ringer, where she plays twins. He said he hadn’t, but he hoped it will be successful for her. He noted it can be tough for an actor to be his or her own twin, but he’s not exactly an expert on twins. (Even though he IS a twin. His twin brother, Kelly Donovan appeared as Xanders’ "evil twin" in the Buffy episode "The Replacement".)

Before Buffy, Brendon was in a horror spoof called Psycho Beach Party. He had a lot of great things to say abou
t Charles Busch, who wrote the film. He said he was like Joss because he was someone who knew what he wanted, and was also fun to be around.

Brendon talked about how acting got him to overcome a stutter when he was young, admitted he wasn’t a fan of Star Wars (but liked baseball, Three’s Company and ChiPs), and that in between roles he surfs, writes, spends time with his dog, and worries sometimes. He also recounts how he got a convertible for his birthday because his dad worked for a Ford dealership, even though his mom would have preferred he got different car. He was also asked about Buffy fan fiction. He says he hasn’t read it, but is aware some of it is slash fiction. He also surprised people by admitting he’s never seen Dr. Horrible, but is considering writing a zombie musical.

Then he recalled how he auditioned for Xander, and that it was close right up to the end. He admitted that auditioning in a familiar office may have helped, but it could have been anything. “That’s how fickle it is,” he said. “I didn’t know that I was second choice. I really nailed it, and they gave him an opportunity to do it, and he couldn’t do it.” The other actor, according to Brendon, went on to do that lead in Children of the Corn III. If that is the case, the other actor (according to IMDb.com) was Daniel Cerny. Nick, by the way, had a small role in that movie.

Finally, he said the first season of Buffy was the best from an emotional standpoint because everything was new and exciting, and that the cast knew then that they had something special. 

Fans can learn more about Nicholas Brendon, including where he’ll be next at nickbrendon.com.

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