Archive for the ‘Buffy’ Category

AN OPEN LETTER TO JOSS WHEDON

March 4, 2010

Note: If you have not yet read the latest issue of the “Buffy” comic and/or do not want the identity of Twilight revealed, stop reading now!

Dear Joss,

Tonight I read “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” # 33 and was stunned. Oh, not by the revelation of Twilight’s identity. Unfortunately, that was a foregone conclusion after the website Comic Book Resources let the cat out of the bag a few months ago. But without the big surprise of the unmasking, I’ve been able to concentrate on just what happened in the issue. I’m forced to conclude that in the case of the character of Angel, you really don’t know what you’re talking about!

Ah, I know this is heresy to the many fans who worship every word you put to paper. And while I’m not a Whedon superfan, I do think you’re a great writer and director and have enjoyed much of your work. But the Angel I know isn’t much of a planner. He’s a man of action who would laugh at the idea of putting on a mask and pretending to be a villain, no matter the end game. Oh, sure, he might go along with the idea in the short run maybe, but not as his main strategy.

But more than that, Angel is a hero. His words about keeping the body count low just don’t wash. The Angel I know would have laid down his life for every one of those 213 Slayers. Yes, as Angel says, he didn’t kill them. But the real Angel would have certainly tried to save them…

Now maybe in upcoming issues, we’ll find out about a prophecy that Angel is working towards to wipe out demons and vampires. There are obviously secrets yet to be revealed. But I do know that Angel is all about sacrifice, even sacrificing true love for the greater good. I hope you know that too.

All the best,

Brian

GETTING PERSONAL

February 15, 2008

I’m not one to ask questions that I personally want to know the answers to during interviews. When I’m talking to musicians, I’m trying to find out the secrets behind the songs for “The Billboard Book of Number One Hits,” and when I’m interviewing movie stars, I’m focusing on getting interesting stories that my employers will be able to play on the air for years to come.

But every so often, there will be something I’ve always wanted to know about a star’s work, so I end up asking a question to fulfill my own personal curiosity. For instance, I’ve always wondered about the lyrics to the matchbox twenty song, “If You’re Gone.” The song goes, “If you’re gone, maybe it’s time to come home.” I always thought the lyrics would have made more sense if it said, “Now that you’re gone, maybe it’s time to come home.” That “If” always bothered me, and when I got a chance to talk to Rob Thomas about his hits “Bent” and “Smooth,” I asked him about it. He explained that the person the narrator is singing about hasn’t left yet, but that the singer is so worried and scared that his girl will leave him, he’s thinking about what life would be like if she was gone.

My questions have been as foolish as asking Peter Cetera if it strained his voice at all to sing so high (no, that’s his natural tone) to asking the late Dan Fogelberg why he didn’t sing “Same Old Lang Syne” the night I saw him perform in Philadelphia just a few weeks before New Year’s (it turned out Dan sang the song every night no matter the season, but it was a hard song to sing and he would skip it if his voice wasn’t up to the task). I’ve also asked famous antique collector Meat Loaf if he ever visited the antique mall in Pennsylvania my mother has a stand at (he hadn’t) and Bret Michaels of Harrisburg, PA’s Poison about his band’s early rivalry with a band from my hometown of Lancaster, PA, the Sharks. Bret admitted that after the Sharks won an MTV contest for undiscovered talent, he and his fellow members of Poison decided to move to L. A. because they knew the Sharks would always overshadow them in Pennsylvania. A good decision as it turned out!

I once even gave a star advice, not that they needed it. One of my friends was a fan of country singer Clint Black. When he started out, Clint was always photographed wearing a cowboy hat, but recently was mostly seen without one. My friend wanted to make sure I told him he looked better in a hat and I did. Clint laughed and told me that his wife often was blamed for him dropping the hat, but it wasn’t her fault. He said his record company did a contest where if you found one of Clint’s hats which were hidden at the local mall when he came to town for a concert, you got free tickets to the show and a chance to meet Clint. He explained that’s what started the rumor that he would be going hatless, but that he was already back to wearing hats.

Sometimes I’ve said things I’ve just always wanted to say to stars. I once did a phone interview with Billy Joel to talk about his number one hit, “We Didn’t Start The Fire” (and I’m still amazed that he didn’t do any research before writing that song. As a student of history, he knew all those facts off the top of his head!) At the end of the interview, I just had to tell him about the night I saw him perform in Allentown in 1974. He went over so well that he ran out of songs to play by the final encore and ended up playing the instrumental “Root Beer Rag” a second time!

After that, Billy asked me a question. He wondered if I was related to his favorite author, Jonathan Carroll. I’m not, but because of Billy’s recommendation, I read one of Jonathan’s books and it was pretty good!

There was also the time I participated in a roundtable interview with Sarah Michelle Gellar. I had recently discovered “Buffy” on DVD and had pretty much watched every episode in just a few months. So I couldn’t help but make a personal observation. I said, “I’ve recently become a big fan of your work on “Buffy.” The show proved to me that you can play anything. Do you think there are any acting challenges left for you?” Sarah replied, “Well, thanks. You’re my new best friend!” She went on to say that her goal is just to do different roles.

So if there’s something you’ve always wondered about a star, put it in the comments section and I’ll ask them about it the first chance I get! At least it will stop me from asking a personal question for myself…

JUNKET ROUNDUP

January 17, 2008

Last week, for the first time ever in L.A., I brought a guest to a junket. My friend Eddie is a big fan of Sylvester Stallone and always wanted to see him in person, possibly because he wanted to judge for himself how tall Stallone is (I’ve never been a reliable witness when it comes to celeb height because I’m always sitting when a star comes into the room).

So last Wednesday Ed and I headed down to the Four Seasons for the “Rambo” junket. We got to interview Sly first. Ed’s close-up investigation reveals that he’s not really that short despite what you might have heard. Ed was also impressed by how good Stallone looks and hopes he looks half that good at Sly’s age (sadly, its already too late for me…).

In addition to talking about the movie (which I had a great time at and you will too if you like to see platoons of bad guys mowed down by machine gun fire…),  Stallone spoke about his love as a boy for the Steve Reeves’ film “Hercules,” which inspired him to want to make movies.

Saturday brought a trip down to sunny Santa Monica for the interviews for “Over Her Dead Body” starring Eva Longoria Parker. The hotel was surrounded by paparazzi, but they weren’t there to photograph Eva. No, it turned out Katie Holmes was also in the hotel, promoting her movie, “Mad Money.”

After being charmed by the lovely Lake Bell and laughing at the very funny Jason Biggs, the main attraction walked in. Eva was feeling a little under the weather but still looking good, even if she had wrapped a pink baby blanket around her shoulders (which she insisted didn’t mean she was pregnant, just cold).

Of course, all the guys wanted to know all about her life with the San Antonio Spurs’ Tony Parker, with one journalist asking how she feels when she sees her hubby hit with a hard foul on the court. Although she knows that sometime he stays on the ground just to try and draw some sympathy and a foul from the refs, Eva still wishes that he would quit the faking and get right up.

She also told us about her goals while growing up, and they’re just the opposite of dream big. She started out wanting to be in a soap opera, which she finally did after working as a background extra. Then while on the soap, she hoped that someday she would land on a primetime TV show, which happened when she got a part on “L.A. Dragnet.” After that, she dreamed about a leading role on TV and you know how that turned out. Now she’s just happy to be in “Desperate Housewives” and getting to do a movie now and then (in fact, Eva was very disappointed when the Golden Globes were cancelled because she missed out on a chance to hang with her “Desperate Housewives” co-stars, who she misses terribly).

On Tuesday, I got to visit with a trio of big stars for a small but excellent movie called “The Air I Breathe.” Imagine this cast: Kevin Bacon, Brendan Fraser, Andy Garcia, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Emile Hirsch and Forrest Whitaker! I especially liked Brendan’s portrayal. For a guy who usually plays happy-go-lucky adventurers, he does a great emotionless underworld legbreaker.

Andy, Brendan and Sarah (as well as director Jieho Lee) all showed up for the interviews. I haven’t interviewed Sarah since the first “Scooby Doo” movie, and of course, thanks to her work on “Buffy,” I’m a big fan. She was quite happy to acknowledge her pride in the show, and said she had only recently heard that they were showing “Once More With Feeling,” the show’s musical episode, in theaters and at conventions. Unfortunately Fox recently pulled the permission to show the episode on the big screen and Sarah never got to attend one of the performances.

It turns out the reason you see Sarah appearing in a lot of small indie movies these days is because it’s something she could never do while on “Buffy.” While she could slot in a small part in a major movie during her hiatus, indie movies often have to change shooting dates while waiting until the money comes through. Now that she’s not tied down to a series, Sarah has the freedom to be in anything she wants to.

Sarah does miss TV though… that is, watching it. She’s heartbroken that she won’t be able to watch one of her favorites this season, “24,” due to the writer’s strike. And although she doesn’t have to stay in shape to beat up all those vampires on “Buffy,” she still works out hard at the gym, feeling especially sore during our interviews. That’s because she had taken advantage of the sunny California weather by adding some outdoor athletic activities to her indoor workouts while she’s here in L.A. from her home base in New York.

That’s it for the junkets for this week. Next time I’ll be writing about another TV icon, one who I owe my career to…