WILL POWER

Go to Cult Times main page Excerpts from
Cult Times #58

Willow is in love. So, obviously, we’re all jealous. But rather than sulk in a corner, we decided to get Alyson Hannigan to tell us all about it

The Buffy the Vampire Slayer star was talking to Thomasina Gibson and John Binns

Alyson Hannigan ŠJ Cummings

Warning! Spoilers for BBC viewers ahead

Despite being up before the crack of dawn to charm the UK’s Big Breakfast crew on Channel 4, the bewitching Alyson Hannigan is as cool and relaxed as the character she portrays in TV’s phenomenal Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

Lounging back on the sofa in her London hotel suite, she's eager to spill the beans on anything we care to ask about her portrayal of Buffy’s best bud, Willow, and their recent year at UC Sunnydale.

“Lots and lots of exciting things happened last season. Willow had an incredible story arc. First off she’s now a college girl and that’s really her stomping ground. That’s where Willow thrives because she’s totally interested in books and learning and isn’t regarded as strange for being that way. In high school she was sort of frowned upon for being a ‘nut’, but now that she’s in an environment where everyone has made the choice to go there to expand their knowledge. She’s really coming into her own.”

Usually, when meeting an actor, the individual is so different to the character they portray as to be almost unrecognizable. Not so the lovely Ms Hannigan. Soft-voiced like Willow and with her alter ego’s deceptively laid back approach to life, love and the universe, Hannigan agrees with us that the latest episodes featuring the demon-ditching team show how much Willow has come on since the slaying began.

“I think so,” she smiles. “Especially in the way Willow deals with her relationship with Oz coming to an end and a new one beginning. In Season Four Willow really had the room to grow.”

Hannigan goes on to say "At the beginning of the last season when everybody realized that Seth wasn’t coming back (after his planned departure in Wild at Heart) and was going to concentrate on his movie career, it was kind of ‘OK. Now what are we going to do with Willow?’ I think it’s amazing that it all became a little bit provocative, but I’m not convinced Joss (Whedon, Buffy's creator) actually thought about it. He just comes through with this stuff.”

The ‘provocative’ stuff refers, of course, to the romance between Willow and fellow student Tara (Amber Benson), which culminates with Willow making an arguably controversial decision late in Season Four. But Willow’s course of action is surprising only to those who watched last season with their eyes closed.

“I knew that I was going to have a friend and that we’d do witchcraft together and cast spells and I’d always asked if there was ‘something more’ to the relationship. Joss would always say, ‘Well, maybe there’s some subtext there’ and then Amber and I would see some of the spells and we’d be like, ‘Joss – this is going way beyond “subtext”’.”

Eventually, after weeks of tiptoeing round the issue, everyone concerned admitted that all roads led to the fact that the girls were in love which resulted in huge sighs of relief all round. “Amber and I were sort of in the same position as Willow and Tara in that for the longest time we weren’t sure what was going on ... Then finally it was, ‘Great! It’s official. We’re in luurrvvve.’”

Thoughtfully nodding her head, Hannigan sighs, “I think the way Joss developed the relationship was so sweet and wonderful. When some reporters ask about us they go, ‘Oooh! Lesbian affair!’ but I say ‘No! It’s just two girls who are in love. It’s no different than when Willow fell for Oz really. It’s just a relationship, a very sweet friendship.”

Thomasina Gibson (with John Binns)

Have you seen our Buffy the Vampire Slayer coverage in these recent issues of Cult Times?
Nicholas Brendon on the future for Xander Harris • online, cover story
#56, May 2000
Joss Whedon, James Marsters (Spike) interviewed, plus Buffy on the Net all in
Special #13, Spring
Buffy and Angel - we preview the Slayer's Season Four and its spin-off series
#52, Jan 2000
Sarah Michelle Gellar and Mayor Harry Groener on Season 3
#50, Nov 99
Emma Caulfield on ex-demon Anya
#49, Oct 99
David Boreanaz on his final year with Buffy
#48, Sept 99
Season Three preview
#47, Aug 99
Robia La Morte (Jenny Calendar) interview
#46, July 99
Alyson Hannigan
Season Three interview online • cover story
#43, April 99
Please note: links are to details of each issue. Features are not necessarily on-line
Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Season Three on BBC2: Weds 6.45
(sport permitting)
Season One re-runs on Sky 1, Sundays 20.00
Also available on 20th Century Fox video

• Buy Cult Times #58 for the full four-page feature

Alyson Hannigan portrait ©J Cummings
Feature © Visual Imagination 2000. Not for reproduction.