Leather on Willow!
selected from Cult Times #43
Quiet. Shy. She kept herself to herself. And then Buffy came along and brought her out of her shell. Alyson Hannigan, Buffy The Vampire Slayer's lovely Willow says, "She's got the '90s brain"

Taken from our five-page interview with Alyson Hannigan. Read the full interview in Cult Times #43.

Alyson Hannigan as Evil Vampire Willow!

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THEY ALWAYS say be careful of the quiet, wallflower types. And that's certainly true of Buffy The Vampire Slayer's Willow Rosenberg. As played endearingly by actress Alyson Hannigan, Willow started out as the epitome of the girl-next-door.

Somewhere along the line during Buffy's three seasons, however, all of that has changed. While Willow is still the brains behind Buffy's Scooby gang of high school vampire fighters, she's since taken on a new-found self-confidence and assertiveness, thanks to her forays into exploring spells and wicca.

Though nowhere near complete - as evidenced by a third season episode in which Willow summons her dominatrix demon double from a parallel universe - the transformation is actually rather stunning.

The demure and bubbly Hannigan takes a moment to reflect on her character's evolution in the second season, which is where the changes slowly began to surface. When she first auditioned for Buffy, Hannigan didn't fully realize what she was getting into. "I had no clue," she says with a little laugh. "A friend told me about the project when it was a pilot."

At first, she adds, "I was like, 'come on, get an original idea.' I was very sarcastic about it. I hadn't seen the movie, but I heard that it was not the greatest thing in the world. Then I went to the audition and read two or three scenes. And I realized it was pretty funny. So I auditioned and had a great time with it.

Hannigan immediately found herself drawn to the character that Buffy creator Joss Whedon had crafted - even though she was so opposite to Whedon's original conception of Willow that she initially couldn't get an audition for the pilot (it was only once the series had been picked up and the producers decided to recast the role of Willow that Hannigan had her chance).

"I had fun with her," explains Hannigan of her approach to Willow. "I sort of took it as: OK, so she's talking about how guys won't talk to her and all this stuff, but I'm going to put like happiness in her. She's not going to sulk about it. It's like if she's talking about something that's not the greatest love story, she's still happy in the end. I just had so much fun doing that."

Although it's common for actors to inject something of their own personality into a role, usually it takes time - as in a season or two - for the melding between actor and character to become complete. Not so the case of Hannigan, who attributes the wacky nature of Willow to her own personality. "The wackiness of it," she emphasizes. "Obviously the lines are written by Joss and the writers. But they've brought all of our personalities into the characters. Now that they know what we're really like, they can give us material that we'll have a lot of fun with."

Hannigan is proud of Willow's role in the aptly-dubbed "Scooby gang", who join Buffy in battling vampires and demons. "I like to feel that she's a big part of it. With technology today everybody needs to know computers and, you know, break into a morgue security system and all of that stuff that Willow does," says Hannigan. "That stuff comes in handy. Nobody else in the group would be able to do that. She's got the '90s brain, the computer brain."

Melissa J Perenson

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