“Backstory: Buffy The Vampire Slayer” Sinks Its Teeth

JERICHO, NEW YORK, May 3, 2002 – BACKSTORY: BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, premiering Monday, May 20 at 9:40 PM (ET), reveals how a low-budget production on an impossibly tight schedule led to friction among its collaborators, but paved the way for a pop culture television franchise. Interviews with director Fran Rubel Kuzui, producer Howard Rosenman, and actors Donald Sutherland and Luke Perry explore the struggles involved in making this film.

The movie tells the story of a high school cheerleader (Kristy Swanson) whose secret calling is to hunt down and slay vampires. The film included early screen appearances from two future Academy Award®-winners: Ben Affleck and Hilary Swank – plus an early role for David Arquette. BACKSTORY: BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER examines Fran Kuzui's efforts to find the right tone for a film that balanced comedy, social satire, and scares.

Production consisted of a tight 29-day shoot, and before filming, the cast had only one read-through of Joss Whedon's original script. Kuzui took a free-wheeling, improvisational approach with the actors, leaving many creative decisions up to them. For Paul Reubens' death scene, Kuzui's only advice to Reubens was, "figure it out and die." Actor Donald Sutherland publicly expressed his doubts about the production, while actor Paul Reubens (Pee Wee Herman) recently arrested in Florida on charges of public exposure, brought humor to the tension filled set by making fun of his off-set actions. He dazzled the cast and crew with his perpetual improvisations.

After BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (1992) resulted in a box office disappointment, writer Joss Whedon took his original idea and adapted it into a successful television series, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar.

BACKSTORY is AMC's award-winning weekly series that shines a spotlight on the defining moments in a film's creation. Cast members, directors, producers and other Hollywood players provide revealing inside "backstories" about the events that affected each film, its success and its stars. This episode of BACKSTORY was produced by Prometheus Entertainment and Foxstar Productions in association with Fox Television Studios and AMC. Executive Producer for AMC is Jessica Falcon.

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Since its launch in 1984, AMC has been dedicated to deepening the movie experience for its viewers, featuring film-loving celebrity hosts and an increasingly visible, critically acclaimed slate of original programming. AMC has more than doubled its original programming over the past 3 years and garnered many of the industry's highest honors, including five Emmy awards.

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