Alyson Hannigan and Amber Benson open up about ‘beautiful’ romance on Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy actresses Amber Benson and Alyson Hannigan have opened up about their groundbreaking Buffy the Vampire Slayer role.
The pair played fan-favourite lesbian witches Willow Rosenburg and Tara Maclay on the cult series – one of the first same-sex couples to appear in a TV show aimed at teenagers.
The two actresses reunited with the rest of the Buffy cast this week for an Entertainment Weekly shoot.
In an interview in EW, out today, Hannigan explained that she did not initially twig when she was told by show creator Joss Whedon that her character, who initially dated men, would get a girlfriend. (A video of the interview appears below)
She said: “We were walking in the parking lot, and [Joss] just said, ‘Willow’s going to get a friend, and she’s going to be a special friend.’ I was like, ‘Okay, great!’ I didn’t really know what that meant.”
Of the years-long plot, she said: “You got to see the journey, so that, I think, was very groundbreaking, and … I’ve never had anything but just such a positive reaction.
“It’s just been such a profound thing for people who were going through the same thing or just terrified of what they were going to have to go through and just to see somebody that they had been watching for so many years to get to not feel so alone, it’s like it’s such a gift to be able to be part of that.”
She added: “There definitely hadn’t been a gay character that had been on a show from the beginning [before Buffy]. This was a character that you got to see the journey, that was very groundbreaking.
“The fact that it was such a non-issue was so great, and that’s how it should be.”
Benson said: “It was a beautiful relationship, and it wasn’t gratuitous, it wasn’t about two girls making out, it was about two people who both happen to identify as female who fall in love.
“They were good to eachother, they treated eachother way. It was a normal relationship. You normalise it, and make it okay, because it is okay.
“We got a lot of young letters… there were a lot of young people who felt very isolated, and to see two characters on a television show be accepted by a group of peers changed the game.
“They already loved Willow but then to see that Willow became even more somebody that they could identify with it made it okay for them to be who they were.”
“It’s saying, if you find somebody to love, you’re just lucky – it doesn’t matter the gender, the sex or whatever – if you find somebody who gets you and you get them, you’re so lucky.”
Showrunner Joss Whedon added: “Tara came into the narrative because I was like, how do you follow Seth Green?
Alyson Hannigan and Amber Benson pose with Seth Green, who played Willow’s ex-boyfriend Oz (Credit: EW)
“Well, Willow’s in college, so maybe she finds a girlfriend. That was an important thing for people to see, but really I wasn’t thinking about that! As much as I wanted to make a feminist show, I really missed a lot of what was going to be important abut the show. I thought that was just what you’d do.”
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