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Feature: Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Exit, Pursued by Demon!
Why Emma Caulfield, aka Buffy’s vengeance demon Anya, won’t be back for an eighth season.
As Emma Caulfield embarks upon the seventh season of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, she has only one hope for her screen counterpart, the acerbic, insensitive, yet thoroughly adorable Anya.
“I’d like her not to die,” pleads the actress. “That’s about it: any other journey she goes through I am fine with. But I never like watching a show in re-runs knowing that someone dies in the end. Joss knows what I want but he’ll do what he wants to do.”
Whatever the future for Buffy at the end of the season – and there are already rumors of the show continuing with Michelle Trachtenberg’s Dawn as the main protagonist – Caulfield insists that Anya will be departing the twisted world of Sunnydale for good.
“This is my last year. It depends whether the show goes beyond a seventh season – Sarah has not signed on, the rest of the cast has signed for an eighth season but I have not. I’m done, it’s just time. I’ve spent five great years but I use the analogy of high school – it’s time to graduate.”
It’s four years since Caulfield first came to Buffy, hired in the one-shot role as Anya for a vastly entertaining instalment in which the vengeance demon hurls the jilted Cordelia into a darker parallel universe populated by dangerous variations of Buffy’s friends. The Wish proved so popular that both Anya and the vampire Willow were revisited in that season’s deliciously comic Doppelgangland. The timing was just right for Caulfield: Joss Whedon was preparing the Buffy spin-off Angel, relocating the caustic Cordelia to Los Angeles. A strong character rich in potential for biting one-liners was needed to fill her designer shoes, and Anya fitted the bill. Thus began the demon’s relationship with Xander (initially as just an “orgasm friend”), her acceptance as one of the Scooby Gang, and a growing love of making money that would overtake her obsession for revenge.
Even in stories that do not focus on Anya, her contribution to the show has been enormous – she can steal a scene simply in the audience’s anticipation of the character’s next, inevitably outrageous and thoughtless, remark. She’s the inner monologue let loose.
“I’m blessed with good writing,” beams Caulfield. “They give me amazing lines. Anya comes pretty easy to me, and you combine the joy of playing her with amazing writing... She’s sort of a flashy character, she gets to say the funny lines, she gets to look different and she gets to be all over the place.”
As her personal highlight from recent seasons, Caulfield names Once More, With Feeling, the acclaimed musical episode in which a demon inspires the residents of Sunnydale to reveal their most personal thoughts through song. Packed with wonderful characters insights and witty moments, the event episode, written and directed by Whedon, boasts a score the equal of many Broadway shows. It was so popular, in fact, that the soundtrack has been released on CD.
by David Richardson
Photo © UPN
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