A new book about “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is marking the 25th anniversary of the beloved series’ premiere, and includes star Sarah Michelle Gellar confronting long-standing rumours that she used to feud with her co-stars.
In Evan Ross Katz’s Into Every Generation a Slayer Is Born: How Buffy Staked Our Hearts, Gellar and her former co-stars get candid about tension on the set, and how much series creator and showrunner Joss Whedon had to do with that.
“I think that unfortunately the set we were on and the world we were in was pitting us against each other,” Gellar admits, as reported by TooFab.
“I think it would have been different if it was today. It would have been a very different relationship. But we have a great relationship now.”
READ MORE: Sarah Michelle Gellar And More Celebrate 25th Anniversary Of ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’
“Look, we worked really hard hours. We were young, we had ups and downs. Everybody had arguments,” she added. “There were times where David [Boreanaz] could be a handful. He never really was to me, but I’m sure [he was]. And I’m sure I was the same way to people also, right? It wasn’t rosy. Nobody gets along all the time. And Alyson [Hannigan] and I had moments. There’s no question. But you’re young.”
Both Boreanaz and Hannigan, noted TooFab, declined to give interviews for the new book.
Gellar confirmed she was aware of the rumours but admitted she “had a lot on my shoulders” back then.
“And I’m not excusing myself either. There are times where I wish I could have done things differently, but I didn’t know how to handle the stress that I was under,” she divulged. “I was really young and I didn’t have any outside life. I was the one that was always working and sometimes I would be resentful of the fact that they didn’t have to work all the time. It ebbs and flows, and anyone that tells you that they get along with everyone all the time, it’s just not true.”
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While some reports from that time singled out Gellar as the show’s problem child, her former co-stars insist that wasn’t the case.
“She was the lead on the show,” said Emma Caulfield, who played Anya. “It was an ensemble cast absolutely, but the show lived and died with her. There’s a level of power there and a level of voice that needs to be accounted for. And if that isn’t received well by certain people who have very large egos and who have no interest in working in that fashion, then yeah, there’s going to be conflict.”
Without explicitly mentioning Whedon, who was similarly alleged to have created toxicity on the set of “Justice League”, Caulfield pointed to “so many examples of what happened from the top down of, ‘This will really make the girls hate each other. This will make the men angry. This is going to stir some toxic s**t.’ And… and it did.”
READ MORE: Charisma Carpenter Says ‘Buffy’ Creator Joss Whedon Was A ‘Tyrannical Narcissistic Boss’
Charisma Carpenter, who played Cordelia, issued a scorched-earth statement on Twitter last year accusing Whedon of being the source of any on-set friction.
“Joss Whedon abused his power on numerous occasions while working together on the sets of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ and ‘Angel’,” she wrote. “While he found his misconduct amusing, it only served to intensify my performance anxiety, disempower me, and alienate me from my peers.”
My truth. #IStandWithRayFisher pic.twitter.com/eNjYcJ6zwP
— charisma carpenter (@AllCharisma) February 10, 2021
“It starts at the top — and I’m not talking about Sarah, I’m talking about Joss. And it creates the tone of the set,” Amber Benson, who played Tara, said in the book.
“And I think because this was Joss’s first show, there were things that got dropped… you could just feel like people weren’t sure of their place. And I think it is the boss’s job to make everybody understand where they are in the hierarchy and how they fit in and that they are necessary, you know?”