At an interview in Pasadena Alyson Hannigan, who took Willow off the page and gave her blood and form, was very quiet. The entire cast -- Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Anthony Stewart Head, Charisma Carpenter -- and creator -- Joss Whedon, surrounded the petite auburn haired actress. When singled out and asked what scared her, Hannigan gestured towards the room full of reporters, hovering around like fly hovercrafts over a can of opened tuna, and said "this."
I caught up with Hannigan in early April, when she came to UltimateTV to answer some questions from fans during a live chat. Patient with the production staff and technical acts of god, she told me during down-time that she's really not that shy, and much better in one-on-one interviews. I expected the quiet and scared Alyson from the press conference, but actually met somebody rather fearless and very adept at dealing with pesky reporters.
"Buffy" is really Hannigan's second TV series. From September, 1989 to January, 1990, Hannigan played Jessie Harper in ABC's "Free Spirit," a sitcom about Winnie the witch/maid, Thomas the single dad, and Robb, Jessie and Gene, the cute kids. She also guest-starred several times on "The Torkelsons," (1991-1993, NBC).
So Hannigan is a seasoned vet -- slightly seasoned, but "Buffy" will pepper her up. Dropping the spice metaphor for a moment, I'll let you in on a secret: although Hannigan plays a highschooler, she is actually old enough to vote, to drink, to join the army, go to the big-house, check out a triple xxx feature, get into nightclubs, start a retirement fund. Now before I get sued, or you start thinking Alyson's the next Rod Stewart, I'll get to the point: the petite actress is actually 23.
"I still get carded for everything" she says. "I've gotten carded for rated R movies..."
How has "Buffy" changed her life? Rather modest and with a sense of humor that has a hint of self-effacement to it, Alyson didn't state the obvious: that she's a major player in what looks to be a major new show; or that she's employed on a series playing a student by day, slayer assistant by night in a town where thousands play audition hounds by day, food slingers by night. Has her life changed? She hesitates, I ask if she's been recognized yet. The answer is yes -- once. "In the grocery store I scared a person. I didn't mean to...but she just jumped when she saw me."
The actress has this word of advice for audition hounds and drink slingers, and just plain old hopefuls: "Just don't let it (audition & rejection) affect you negatively."
As for the rigor of her role, after all fighting vampires can take it out of a girl, Alyson, who is quite athletic, says "after the action scenes you definitely get bruised up, I had many bruises to go with my action scenes."
And if I wrote for a teen mag, I would just have to include the following information: Alyson is 23, doesn't have a boyfriend, and loves dogs. And while I didn't find out her favorite color or her idea of a dream date, I got the impression that she is charming and chatty with a Midwestern sensibility (I'm from Missouri so I can make this sweeping Midwestern generalization), ambitious, modest, quirky and fun.
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" airs Mondays at 9 p.m.(ET/PT) on the WB.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer,
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer,