Pat Whalen (aka the P@): If you could be on any TV show other than Buffy the Vampire Slayer, what would it be?
I don't even know all the shows that are on television right now! That said, I can't think of any show I would rather be doing than Buffy. There is a lot of good writing on television these days, but there are few shows that offer the range that Buffy does. Buffy is about the balance of good and evil, the struggle to grow up and find your place in the world and navigate complex relationships. It taps into mythology as well as the fun of the horror genre. Sometimes it's an action episode, where you're being chased by demons. Other times it's quiet and serious, and then other times it's wonderfully wry. What more could one ask for?
Boo: Your show has incredible writers. But can you or the other actors say, "Oh, I think my character wouldn't do that or say that"? In other words, how much can you interact with the writers or Joss Whedon about your character? Thank you. Really looking forward to seeing you more on the show this year.
Thanks for your nice comments. Yes, Joss makes all those final decisions when we want to change a line, and he's always been very open to our suggestions about our characters.
Annie: Does Joss have a lot of interaction on the set on a regular basis, for episodes he doesn't write or direct? Does he make himself available to the actors and crew?
Joss always makes himself available. He often comes on set for the rehearsal of scenes that are key or difficult. If a scene gets done when he's not around and doesn't turn out well, he will occasionally re-shoot it.
Anonymous: As the actress who plays Buffy's mom, do you have any thoughts on the near total absence of Buffy's dad? Does he love her? Why is he so out of touch with his daughter?
I'm sure the situation is terribly painful for Buffy. I know it's painful for Joyce to see Buffy suffer neglect on the part of her father. Thankfully, this hole in her life is filled in great part by Giles. In spite of the complications in Joyce and Giles' relationship due to some "magical candy," think Joyce is enormously grateful that Buffy has a father figure in her life.
Spruce: I have read many web-based fanfics in which Joyce has had a 'past' with the Slayer (i.e. her cousin or best friend was a slayer but died). I think this is a cool idea and wondered if Joss has ever discussed Joyce's past history with you?
No, Joss and I have never talked about a past relationship to a slayer. Interesting idea though...
Mike: Are you related to the guy who played Buffy's first watcher, Donald Sutherland, in the movie?
No, but I did have a cat once named Donald who looked rather like him.
Buffybuff (Lauren): Who is your idol or biggest inspiration?
I don't really have an idol, but I would have to say my biggest inspiration has always been going to the theatre.
Miss Kitty: In what ways do you think your character changed after learning the truth about her daughter?
I think it was a confusing time for Joyce. First, she had to figure out exactly what Buffy's job entailed. Then Joyce had to come to terms with the fact that her daughter had to grapple with issues of power, responsibility, and danger beyond anything Joyce could imagine. Finally, Joyce had to figure out how to do her job as Buffy's mother under these unusual circumstances. Through all this, Joyce and Buffy came to know and understand one another on a level they'd never experienced before.
Kim: What attracted you to the part of Joyce Summers?
I only had two pages of dialogue when I auditioned for Joyce, so I didn't know much about the show or the part at the time. I do remember having a feeling, however, as to who the character was. Joss gave me some direction after my first read, and I liked his ideas a great deal. I walked away from the audition thinking, "I want to work with this guy."
Liz: What was it like to kiss Tony in "Band Candy"?
Tony was a good kisser and a consummate professional.
Carla: Ms. Sutherland, I know you have a young daughter. Do you ever find yourself feeling parental toward the other BtVS cast members?
Don't tell anybody...
Jyqm: Joyce has always been one of my favorite characters on BtVS; she just tries so darn hard to be a good mom. Will we be seeing more of Joyce this season than we did in season 4? Also, do you ever worry about your job security on the set (i.e., do you live in constant fear of Joss deciding to kill Joyce off so Buffy has something more to be angsty about)?
Glad you enjoy Joyce and yes, you will be seeing more of her this season, which I'm quite happy about. No, I don't worry about job security. I just sort of take things as they come, in life as well as work.
Matt: How's the filming going [of season 5]? How many episodes have you filmed?
At the moment we just finished episode five. Shooting is going well and there's a good feeling on the set. There are some surprises this season, and I don't think you'll be disappointed.
iceeblue: When Buffy is on TV, do you watch it?
I try to, but I'm forever forgetting to turn the television on. We can get episodes on tape of both Buffy and Angel from the production office, and I'm afraid I'm spoiled by that fact.
Tammy: Were you hoping that they'd continue a possible romantic involvement with your character and Giles after "Band Candy"? Do you think they ever will?
I've always wished to see that relationship explored more fully. However, I don't think it serves the show, so I doubt that it'll happen. It's also what people expected to happen and Joss is often interested in the unexpected.
Mary M: I just love your character on Buffy and I really appreciate the realism that you bring to Joyce. I just wanted to know if your role is going to be expanded a bit more. We've definitely seen the mothering and protective side of Joyce, but can you influence the writers so that we can see more of the business-woman and femme fatale part of her as well?
Thank you. I love playing this part, and yes, I would like to see more of the independent, professional Joyce myself. However, I think that the audience ultimately sees Joyce through Buffy's eyes, which is ultimately somewhat limiting in terms of developing Joyce's character beyond the essential function of "Mom."
Anne S: In your first scenes with vampires on BtVS, what was your reaction? To really scream or laugh?
Oh, I'm always involved in the circumstances of the story, so I would have to say "scream!"
Carla: I've admired you in many scenes, but the ones that truly stand out to me are those you've had with Spike (James Marsters). Were those scenes as much fun to film as they looked? Thank you, and I look forward to seeing more of you this year on BtVS!
What is it about Spike and Joyce that works? I'm not even sure, but there's always a nice chemistry when Joyce and Spike are together. Yes, we have fun, and I hope we can work together more often.
Anonymous: When reading the script for the season four finale, did you understand what it all meant?
Not at first, but once I realized that it was a dream, I gladly signed up for the ride.
Suze: How long does it take to film an episode? Do you get the scripts straight after they're written, or, like, a week before shooting starts?
It takes eight days to film an episode. Sometimes we get the scripts a week before we shoot, and sometimes we get them on a daily basis as we shoot.
Tammy: What episode was the most fun for you to do? Which one was the most difficult?
I would have to say that "Band Candy" was the most difficult. Although it was incredibly fun, it was also painful to go back to being a teenager. I must say, that part of it totally took me by surprise.
Little Willow: If you could act with one person, living or dead, who would it be and why? All the more... What production would it be?
I would love to do a great play in a small theatre with any number of great stage actors.
Little Willow: What advice do you have for aspiring actors?
Study with someone who is good, have a passion for acting with one side of your brain, and learn the business with the other side. You'll need both.
Jules: Do you have any upcoming projects or appearances that we can look forward to seeing you in?
Not yet, but stay tuned.
Again, thanks to Kristine, and to everyone who submitted questions!