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Iyari Limon - Zap2it

Tuesday 13 May 2003, by Webmaster

On UPN’s Tuesday-night drama "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," which ends its seven-season run on May 20, Iyari Limon plays Kennedy, a potential vampire slayer who joined Buffy’s (Sarah Michelle Gellar) evil-fighting army earlier this season.

The 19-year-old Kennedy and the other potentials — all teenage girls who could be "called" to duty upon the current slayer’s death — are locked in a battle with the noncorporeal First Evil and its latest human cohort, misogynistic fallen preacher Caleb (Nathan Fillion).

At the same time, Kennedy is the latest person to capture the heart of Willow (Alyson Hannigan), Buffy’s powerful best pal, in the wake of last season’s tragic death of Willow’s lover, the witch Tara (Amber Benson).

Talking on the set of the "Buffy" spin-off, The WB’s "Angel," where she was shooting a guest appearance this past January, Hannigan was sanguine about fan reaction to Willow’s new love — especially since Tara came after Willow’s doomed first romance with the werewolf Oz (Seth Green), which followed her longtime crush on childhood pal Xander (Nicholas Brendon).

"When Willow first starting dating Oz," Hannigan says, "there was a huge uproar of, ’She can’t date that guy. I’ll never watch the show again, because she should be with Xander. This is horrible.’ Of course, they fell in love with Oz. Then it was all ’Oz and Willow,’ ’Oz and Willow.’"

"Then Oz left the show. ’That’s horrible.’ Then Tara came along. ’What? I’m never going to watch the show. She can’t date Tara. I don’t like her. Where’s Oz? We love Oz.’ Then they fell in love with Tara."

"If we have enough time, it’s going to be, ’No, she can’t date Kennedy. It’s awful. No, no, no. We want Tara.’ Then they’ll fall in love with Kennedy."

Limon also was a little worried about the reaction. "If there is any hate mail," she says, "I don’t know that they’d give it to me."

"Actually, Alyson was really great about that. She prepped me for the whole thing, so I was expecting it. It was OK. I chose to do this role."

"But the outcome has not been what I expected. People have actually taken on Kennedy very well. They never forget Tara, but they’ve been great about it."

"Kennedy’s very different from Tara. Kennedy’s not here to replace anybody or anything like that. She’s just different. Hopefully, it will bring out a different side of Willow, so she won’t be so sad anymore."

Born in Mexico and raised in Los Angeles, Limon has appeared on TV shows such as NBC’s "ER," HBO’s "Mind of the Married Man," Nickelodeon’s "The Brothers Garcia" and MTV’s "Undressed."

She also was in the feature films "King Cobra" and "The Egg Plant Lady," and the Disney Channel TV movie "Double Teamed."

But Limon still was apprehensive walking onto the "Buffy" stages in Santa Monica, Calif. "I was really nervous," she recalls, "because I had read for Joss [series creator Joss Whedon] on a few other roles on ’Firefly’ previously, and finally, I booked something with him."

"I just felt like I wanted to do a good job. I was trying to be casual and go with the flow of things, since everybody else was very loose."

"It was all of the cast and me, and the other two potentials, but I had the most dialogue. When it came to me, I forgot my lines. But I had my script pages there and read it — but it never happened again."

"I just make sure that I know my lines forwards and backwards and inside out."

Limon had expected the role to last one episode, but Kennedy has been in the show since December. It didn’t take long, though, for the very forward Kennedy to set her sights on Willow.

"Good for her," Limon says. "She knows what she wants, and she goes after it. She doesn’t beat around the bush. I like that about her. She saw Willow, went for it. Why not? Why waste time?"

As for the occasional kissing scenes with Hannigan, Limon laughs. "They’re great. I love ’em. Kennedy really likes Willow, so anytime she gets to have a little kissing action going on, she’s more than happy to."

Things haven’t been going well for the potential slayers as the season has worn on, with the first evil and its minions injuring and even killing some. One potential, Chloe (Lalaine), was driven to suicide.

"That was a shocker, most definitely," Limon says. "It was eerie doing the scene with her hanging there. It was really intense. It was very real. So it was sad. Kennedy, she liked Chloe. Chloe was like her little sidekick, when she was training her at the beginning."

"Unfortunately, there wasn’t much interaction between them that the audience saw, but I think Kennedy was just trying to toughen her up. Kennedy felt really bad."

Limon has nothing but praise for "Buffy" producers, cast and crew, but asked whom she has bonded with the most, she says, "Well, I talk to James [Marsters, who plays Spike] the most. He is so sweet. He is by far one of the nicest men I’ve ever met. I hang out with Indigo [who plays Rona]."

"Alyson is very sweet. And Sarah, she’s cool. But I probably hang out with Indigo a lot, and James. Sometimes, he’ll get out his guitar, and he’ll share a couple songs with us, which is great. It’s been such an honor to work with everyone. It’s just been so great. I’ve been really happy."

"I don’t think I’m ever going to forget this. It will always be one of the best things that ever happened to me. I don’t have any complaints. How many people can say that?"

CYBERSPATIAL ANOMALIES: Although Limon’s tenure on "Buffy" has been brief, there already are fan sites devoted to her, including www.iyarilimon.com/. The authorized site features biographical and career info, along with listings of Limon’s public appearances.