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Buffy The Vampire Slayer

"Buffy" Season 6’s Sex Scenes shooting troubles confirmed by James Marsters ?


Thursday 13 July 2006, by Webmaster

Have to post on this after seeing the bickering that went on with this subject so far.

At a convention last year in Detroit I got the chance to talk to James Marsters and asked him about his feelings during this time on Buffy. This was a candid conversation and not in front of a room full of fans, but a room with 7-8 people present. He said Season 6 Sex Scenes was not only a difficult time for him personally but as an actor. There were several things that he did not want to do (Seeing Red bathroom scene in particular) and he went to the higher ups about it. They said if he didn’t do it then he would be sued for breach of contract. Which told him that he had no say in the matter of Spike, he was just to get out there and do the scenes no matter his feelings.

Chances are even though Sarah was Buffy something like this happened. Yep she could have raised a huge stink about it and been fired or sued for breach of contract. Even big names have to play in the field with the Big Boys who are paying their checks.

If you ever watch the dailies from Wrecked and Dead Things you can see the friction working against James and Sarah. They honestly don’t want to be there. Yes they were professional and got the job done but at what expense to their minds and their feelings. No amount of money paid to you can take away the feeling of being used and abused.

So I feel that yes they were professionally and personally degraded. Their feelings (James and Sarah) about the scenes in Season 6 were completely justified. I would have felt degraded also. They said no and still had to do it, that is a virtual rape of a person’s standards and self respect. I can see why none of the actors are really behind a huge push for the movies, who would want to work on a set like that.

This fan report comes in reaction to this article :

"Buffy" Season 6 : Sarah Michelle Gellar felt "degraded" after violent sex scenes

18 Forum messages

  • With all do respect but this old news that been rehashed forever.
  • I hate to tell you this, James, but you’re an actor. You do what the script says. If a sewer treatment janitor doesn’t want to go down to the hole and is fired for not doing so, it’s not abuse.
  • it’s called ACTING. it’s not real. get over yourself.
  • I’m curious as to what arguments/objections James’ raised to the higher ups against doing those scenes. Over the the last few years he’s spoken more and more candidly about his discomfort and unhappiness (and from what I’ve inferred, resentment) being the only cast member required to be naked. And he’s certainly always been very clear about how hard the SR bathroom scene was for him - how he can’t even stand to watch it. But, at the same time he’s always made a point of supporting the writers’ decision to go there and their justification of it as the catalyst necessary to trigger Spike’s soul quest. I suspect that whatever objections he voiced to the higher ups , they likely would have amounted amounted to more than just his own personal discomfort though. So I wonder, did characterization feature in his objections? Did James, in his best judgement (at least at the time) feel that the bathroom scene was out of character for Spike? Just speculating out loud here, of course, but the news he actually took his objections to the ME PTB makes me very curious about exactly what they were. Come on James, tell us what you really think (I wish), rather than just what you’ve pasturized and deemed suitable for public consumption.
  • Oh, I usually don’t do this, but I had to say something, because this just sounds so... Nonsense.

    I mean, this story’s not very well told, ’cause if James or Sarah felt unconfortble with those scenes, they’d probably go talk to Joss first. I can imagine that if they did it, Joss could’ve said yes or no. Yes, because maybe the scene could be made some other way, to make the stars ok with it. Or he could’ve said no, because things must have been that way, which is totally justified.

    As a writer, I can judge that art is worth far more than those insignificant things. Buffy and Spike were like that for a reason, a genius one, as pushing the limits in creative, intellectual and emotional ways rarely seen out there, specially in TV. Buffy is high-art, is literary-level, and couldn’t get outta it’s track because of actors who are not willing to do THEIR JOB.

    I mean, they’re not having real sex!! They’re acting. is It awkward? Yes. But it’s how it gotta be. I know people’s hatred for Season 6, and I understand, but even if season 6 sucked, it’s up to the creative team to fix things up. Not the actors. They’re not there to do the writer’s job. They must trust the writers’ view. That’s what actors are there for.

    If this post is totally true, which I think it isn’t, it shows a lack of profissionalism from James, or Sarah, or whatever.

    If they’re actors, then be actors. Not just stars.

    BTW: Isn’t this subject a little out of date??

  • There is a difference. The sewer treatment janitor wont get sued for breach of contract either. I mean honestly BTVS was on for 7 seasons and the entire tone of it did change in season 6. They cant really say the actors knew the type of show it would be by then. I have seen some dailies and they did cut out alot of the sex stuff filmed. We get a much lighter toned finished product. Kudos for them for doing a great enough job to create all those spuffies.
  • Lack of professionalism? They did their jobs even if they felt odd. END OF STORY. If I hate my job tomorrow I can quit and not be sued its a different world. The writers who can write and perform their own material can talk all the crap they want. The *others* need the actors to help bring *their* vision to life. When you NEED someone for anything, you cant be all high an mighty.
  • James Marsters signed on to play a homicidal sociopath. What did he really think they’d have him be doing, petting puppies and planting trees? So yes, when the writers ask him to play a character that he agreed to play, then he has to do it. And if he would’ve quit, then I wouldn’t have blamed the execs one bit if they sued. If a garbage worker was required to sign a contract, they might very well be sued also. That’s what happens when you sign a legal agreement.

    And for all his bitching about being nude in S6, I’ve never heard him voice a complaint about S5 of AtS when he was nude for no presumeable reason whatsoever.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. If James and/or Sarah had problems with it, that’s fine. They’re the ones who had to do it. But to try to say you’d quit if you didn’t get your way? Yeah, that’s lacking professionalism, no two ways about it.

  • This is much ado about nothing. James had as much intention of quiting as Mutant Enemy had of firing him in season4 when he complained about Spike then. Which mean NONE. He had some issues with the work and spoke to his supervisors that happens all the time. This was on network TV it could get but so graphic. Please remember this is an american show. Remember we are the ones that had a fit for months for a half second glimpse of a boob on the superbowl. lol James was very safe. I LOVED BTVS as much as the next person but some folks take every single word or thing said so seriously. It was a JOB. Somethings they liked some they didnt.
  • None of you have commented on the cat calls from the crew durring filming and the xx scenes that were shot knowing that they were going to be edited out. And the fact that three shows were so racy that they were pulled from prime time in the UK. All stated by James or Sarah at different times in different articles. It sounds to me like they had a good reason to feel degraded . They were filming an episode of Buffy not a sex video.Also it was no longer at the WB. A new network,more sex. After all sex sells.Now let’s comment.

    See online : a

  • KAT, I got the cat call quote from James Marsters in an artical from spikespotting.
  • I agree with Kat as hot as that scene was the opinion of the actors are very important.
  • I just have to say that I was sad to read about the cast’s complaints. After watching all the special features on the dvds and reading all the interviews,it sounds like it was an amazing thing to be a part of. It’s the most amazingly written show I’ve ever watched, and Joss Whedon has my complete admiration. As far as Season 6 goes, I was beyond impressed with the turn Joss took. It was daring and dark and utterly amazing. I can’t believe the amount of fans who were appauled by it!?? Have you people never been in a lustful, wrong relationship? Something that kept you sane from the rest of your life, even though you knew it was wrong? Buffy needed to grow into her sexual self, and she did so after coming back from the dead for god’s sake! And, as far as the almost rape scene....again, bravo to Joss. With all the teens that were watching that show, it’s good that he went down that road. Yes, Spike did that because he needed to find his soul, but, it also showed women that even men you know can hurt you like that. You give someone chances out of pity or fear, and suddenly you’re being raped. (I wish I could’ve seen something like that before it happened to me.) I guess I always looked into the deepest meanings of the episodes....some of them moved me to the point of tears beyond tears(aka Passion)...and some just made me look at things in life differently. Basically, i just hate to think that it was an unpleasant show to be a part of. The show has moved me and so many others and it may end up being the most beautiful and influential thing they’ll ever be a part of I just hope that the cast will remember that.
  • To Kelly: You’re a very mature and strong person. Thanks for your insight, it’s extremely valuable and goes against the all-too-simple outlook most people have on SR and on the whole of S6. I totally agree with your post. I think the show was meant for a very mature audience. We are meant to actually work to interpret the different layers of meaning, the criticism of society, and the metaphors in the show, which are pretty rich.

    S6 was the most complex of all seasons and IMHO the best. It was a total exploration of the dark side of the slayer. She is a killer, even if she worked for the good side, she was also a person and we all have had our bad moments. Those we don’t want anyone to see. This is what we saw here, and it was an act of courage for Joss to come up with such sincere representation.

    So, I wouldn’t agree with Sarah and James, from my very theorical POV. Don’t see how the scenes could be degrading to act. Because it’s only acting. Not real. Shouldn’t be so difficult to separate your character from yourself. In their favor I would say that it shows a big commitment from them both to have merged somehow with their characters on a psychological level, it showed in their excellent acting too. I am both their fan.

  • That’s a redeeming quality of SMG to know she was uncomfortable with the writing since it was filth. I don’t know how you can say the scenes in Buffy season 6 were silly or that the abuse of those scenes is nonsensical to bring up. You should really get some introspection. 6 was humilating to watch and I can only imagine how SMG felt having to do those things to Spike. It’s no wonder. Depression does not cause people to have sex with serial killers. That was made up to create sex scenes for perverted minds like Marti Noxon, but they had nothing to do with the themes of the season. Can you imagine if that episode had been in season 3 of Buffy? The show did not grow up, the show became bad quality. We should show the most respect to Sarah for speaking out against the terrors that happened in the writers’ room and that she was forced to do for our "entertainment", and for walking when she got the chance.
  • I could do what I usually do and pull your arguement apart piece by piece but honestly what’s the point - you’re either a troll or a bigot and nothing anyone ever says will make any difference. The only reason I feel compelled to put this up is my refusal to let someone like you have the last word.

    I can understand that you didn’t approve of the content of season six (if you are not in fact a troll) but I think that you are unbelievable offensive and arrogant to label anyone who actually understands why the sex scenes were in season six as sick and preverted. You have no right to abuse people and in particular Marti Noxon who seems like a nice lady. I actually think her real faults as a writer is she doesn’t understand some male characters, especially Spike. Most episodes she writes actually push a feminist agenda sometimes arguably to the detriment of the portrayal of men.

    I have introspection coming out of my bottom and have taken on board a lot of viewpoints in forming my own. I have been praised by another poster for my views on Season six Spuffy in the SMG thread on this. Nor I am not the only person who thinks about what they watch who felt that the stuff in season six was not gratitious - Kelly being another one, how DARE YOU insult her who can still see the wood for the trees in spite of her horrible experiences mirroring Buffy’s. Sex scenes not relevant to overall arc my arse - what were YOU watching dude? Since you’ve missed the point I spell it out - season six was about the crucilble of growing up about making horrible mistakes because life is hard - a big part of that was Buffy becoming involved an unhealthy relationship because her life had literally made her depressed. Yes depressed people do not have sex with serial killers but BtvS is about metaphor and the large numbers of depressed people that end up in emergency rooms having cut themselves who like Buffy were desperate to feel something testify to the fact that you can be driven to extremes. If you want to take the program literally Buffy has already shagged a serial killer by sleeping with Angel and what she got put through after that was also a metaphor.

    Of course there are themes which would have been unacceptable in season three - Buffy was 17 at the start of season three, when she was started shagging Spike she was 20. As we get older we get exposed to more adult temptations and it can also be seen as the reaction of a girl who was kicking against having too much respondsibiltiy to bear for one so young. Most 20 year olds do not have to take care of their younger sister and be the main wage earner in a household.

    Actually mate, most of the arguements stating why they think SMG was wrong are more intelligent that the bile you spill. I respect her rights to her opinion and her integrity in doing what she felt to be right but I don’t think you should see her as a hero just because she seems to endorse your preduices. YOU are the one who needs to acquire some introspection - Go away and do it.

  • Oh for Pete’s sake! They are actors, and actors sign contracts to do what is written. Do construction workers get to decide that they don’t feel like building a door just in that spot? Of course not. And if an actor can’t get over doing a scene they don’t like, then they should learn a different profession. I find it difficult to believe that either one of them was bothered by the relitively mild rape scene in question. Actually, I think they’re complaint should have been how uncharacteristic the scene was in the first place. I mean the slayer just took it without even a hint of fighting back. At least not until the end of the scene. When she was laying there on the floor begging Spike to stop, did she suddenly forget that she had super strength? What a crock.
  • Actors have the right to feel uncomfortable too. Hell I felt uncomfortable watching this utter crap. And SMG wanted to stop even before season 7 which was the last season she agreed to. I know many don’t like to work with JW because he is insensitive and he doesn’t listen. DB said on more than one ocassion that he would never play Angel again and so did SMG concerning Buffy. I know she made a comment once saying that she would do an older version of the slayer, but this never transpired, but for years she said NO. Anyhow...actors can be uncomfy too.