It seemed like just your ordinary, sweet, little, satirical, high school vampire horror comedy. Certainly when it was released 25 years ago this week, on July 31, 1992, no one could have imagined that the movie “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” would launch an empire.
The cult film resulted not only in one of the most fiercely cherished TV series that ever aired, but it also helped launch the career of Joss Whedon, the pop culture auteur whose two “Avengers” films are among the biggest blockbusters ever made. Oh, and it jump-started the careers of several A-list actors, too.
A quarter-century later, we may all live in Whedon’s world, yet we scarcely have a clue how it all started, an origin story that involves country music icon Dolly Parton, a ridiculously rushed production schedule, and some massive ego clashes among the filmmakers and stars. Here’s how it happened.
1. “Buffy” was born when Whedon, then a 25-year-old second-generation TV writer with some “Roseanne” credits to his name, wrote his first screenplay. He sold it to Sandollar, Parton’s film production company.
2.Fran Rubel Kuzui won the directing gig on the strength of her first film, “Tokyo Pop,” a fizzy sensation at the Cannes Film Festival.
3. At the time the “Buffy” film was cast, its most famous name chose to play Buffy’s male love interest, Pike. That was Luke Perry, at the height of “Beverly Hills, 90210“-mania. Trying to break into movies, the sideburned heartthrob wisely chose not to take a traditional leading-man role, but rather, to fill a supporting part, so that he wouldn’t be responsible for carrying the movie and its box office prospects on his shoulders.
4. With Perry cast, the movie had to be rushed into production, as he had only a brief hiatus between “90210” seasons. And the studio wanted the film in theaters before the end of the summer. So the cameras had to start rolling in five weeks and wrap just six weeks after that. “It’s a kids’ movie that Fox wanted made quickly,” Kuzui told