What's the secret of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's power? Magic? Make-up? No, it's the genius of her creator (and sometime writer / actor / director), Joss Whedon. We took him out for a few drinks. And then a few more...

Buffy and Dawn on the move again

Read Alan Jones's review of Jeepers Creepers here

Text by Kevin Nickson

Selected from Starburst #277

Is Joss Whedon a vampire? If not, then why, on this brisk LA summer night, are both of his hands swaddled in gauze bandages? And why does he give the excuse of "sunlight" by way of explaining his injuries?

"Well, there were limes involved too," Whedon continues cryptically. It turns out that he has fallen victim to a common American summer tragedy: the photo-reaction of lime juice and sunlight. While mixing tuna, Whedon found himself resembling Spike on a sunny day. "It was like the set from Logan's Run was on my hands. The dome city. I had enormous boils!" Cupping a drink between tender palms, Whedon motions to a quiet corner of this LA poolside where conversation, and alcohol, can flow freely.

So Joss, when's the Buffy movie coming? "It would be great to do a movie. I would love to do a movie." Whedon pauses dramatically, then yells, "I'm NEVER gonna do a movie while the show's on the air." Why? "Because I don't want to do a glorified episode and put it on the screen. And the show is so hard to make anyway. You know the movie is just next week's episode. We literally think of it like that. And they're two different entities and they don't co-exist. I think it would be really cool if, after the show's over, it segued into great big movies starring my kids. But at the same time, as I do every year, I will finish the year as though I'm never gonna make another one. Just in case."

Another issue for fans is that UPN - the network that now holds the rights to broadcast Buffy - and the WB, who still air Angel, have forbidden any crossovers by characters from one series to the other.

Angel gets to grips with Darla"Well let me tell you something," Whedon says. "They may be harsh about crossovers right now. And I get it, because Buffy had an acrimonious parting from the WB. Maybe they're ruled out for now. I assumed that they were, and I'm not working towards them. I'm sorta glad because I want the shows to stand on their own. Crossovers are not that important to me, we do them when they're fun, or convenient, but they can become old."

Which spells trouble for Willow, right? When we last saw her, she was waiting to tell Angel about Buffy's death. "That scene was in there for a long time, long before this whole thing happened. The show picks up three months later, as always."

"It doesn't pick up at the end of that conversation. It was never an issue for me. Willow just stopped by one day three months ago. You get it. You move on. We are picking up three months later and finding out how Angel reacted to the news - how everybody reacted. And how Fred is back in the real world and all that stuff, so we're just picking everybody up..."

QUICKFIRE with JossThe notorious Joss Whedon

How can you bring back Buffy? Dallas had a backlash after trying the same trick with Bobby...

"No. Dallas was lame. That was not a good show and that was a really silly solution - to make it a dream.

"You have to, as always, make the characters feel the way the audience does. You have to make it difficult. You have to earn it. You have to just get in there and make it very visceral and make everybody go through the experience of 'But that person was dead. How do I deal with this?' so that the audience can really relate to what's happening, to the way the characters are. And I believe that we do, in fact, earn it.

"It's not going to be simple. It's not going to be a dream sequence. It's not going to be a cheat. We did this knowing that we were going to have to bring Buffy back and that we were going to have to do it legitimately and with integrity. It will not be a simple process."

One of six quick questions by Ian Spelling

Starburst #277Get the full eight-page feature, including our Buffy Season Five episode guide, in this issue. Read on as Joss lets rip about the background to the departures of Oz and Riley, and the film he calls Alien: We Buried the Franchise, in Starburst #277.

Images © The WB/UPN
Feature © Visual Imagination 2001. Not for reproduction