When it's not summer, Cal Expo in Sacramento plays host to many events from concerts to small fairs. This past Sunday, it hosted Witchapalooza, a Halloween-themed outdoor market and carnival. Kids had bungee rides and games, while their parents either dressed up in costume, or got some ideas for costumes. One of the more interesting ones was a Steampunk shop with goggles that Dr. Horrible's great-grandfather may have worn.
However, it did have something outdoor fairs don't usually have...special guest stars. A friend of mine from work dressed like Alex DeLarge from A Clockwork Orange, and met the guy who played him, Malcom McDowell. He also met many who remember him from Heroes three years ago.
The other guest, though, made me glad I skipped what would have been a depressing NFL weekend.
Kristy Swanson, who first brought Buffy the Vampire Slayer to life on the movie screen, was there all day Sunday, signing pictures and even stakes. I was also lucky to ask her a few questions about the role and what she's doing now.
As you can see, she hasn't changed much since the movie was first shown in 1992, and could probably take down a few Hellspawn today, or teach a Potential how. I showed her my "Hemery High School yearbook" from the movie press packet, and she was surprised when she saw it.
Swanson said she was asked to come to Witchapalooza, and she agreed to do that. "They thought that Buffy would be a really good fit for Witchapalooza," she says. "Some of the fans would enjoy me being there, so I said 'sure, I'll come up.'" She said she has been in Sacramento a few times because she's friends with the Maloofs, who own the Sacramento Kings.
She also says she's "a big Halloween freak. I love Halloween. We would decorate the house, and we really get into it. If they had a Witchapalooza in L.A., near me, then I would go for sure and bring my son."
She was first seen as Buffy in August of 1992, and she said she got the part with the help of her co-star. "I auditioned for it, but I also had Luke Perry, who was in my corner, rooting for me," she recalled, "and letting them know that he really wanted me to play the part. They seemed to like me, just thought I was perfect for it, and I got the part."
She's recognized for her many roles in movies like Flowers in the Attic, Dude, Where's My Car?, The Phantom, and Deadly Friend, and in several TV roles, but she's often recognized as the Slayer. "It happens a lot. A lot of people say, "you're my favorite Buffy'," she says. "It's kind of funny. It's very sweet and flattering, and it makes me feel good."
What interested Swanson about the role was Buffy's sense of humor. "I just thought it was something that I could do and do well and be funny and have a good time," she says, "I like how she was such a teenager, but yet had all this responsibility, and had to be sort of a kick-ass kind of grown-up."
While many recognize Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy, Swanson says the show and the movie are different in many ways. "Buffy the movie is very lightweight and bubbly, and bubble-gummy and kind of fluffy" she says. "The TV series is much darker and different. So, it's like two different worlds."
She also wanted the right accent to reall bring her character to life. "It was written on the page," she says, "but I also sort of, I based it off my sister-in-law Jill and my friend Julie, ans the way they talk is very Valley."
Swanson recently visited DragonCon in Atlanta, where she was part of two panels that included Charisma Carpenter, Felicia Day, Julie Benz and James Marsters. She says she attends a couple of cons a year. "It's nice to come out, and there's really a lot of Buffy fans", she said...as she also noticed a few fans waiting to get her autograph.
At Dragoncon, Swanson was asked about the rumors of a possible remake of the original movie. If it does come to pass, she says she'd like to be part of it. "I think that would be a lot of fun," she says. "I think a lot of the Buffy fans out there would be upset if I didn't participate. Whatever they're doing, they probably should ask me to do something, even if it's a cameo, just for fun."
Note: I have said on another blog that a Buffy remake can work if you include Swanson and Perry as parents of a 17 year old girl who's suddenly staying out late at night....and finding out why. Then Swanson's character says, "I told you she had the Mark of the Coven (the birthmark that identified the next Slayer)". I also mentioned the Slayer-in-training should not be called Buffy, which would allow SMG to get involved in future sequels. It's an idea would unite the movie with the TV show.
Swanson has another title these days: Warrior Ambassador for Iraq Star, Inc., an organization that helps provide reconstructive surgery for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. She says one of the surgeries was filmed for American Chopper, and will be shown next month.
Swanson will soon be seen in the movie What if... which will feature two other familiar faces, Kevin Sorbo of Hercules and John Ratzenberger of Cheers.
Finally, here's another photo....