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The cast of 'Buffy': Hell Is For Heroes

Nothing is as it seems in Sunnydale, where even the good guys can have a dark side. Meet the Slayer and her accomplices.

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BUFFY SUMMERS

NAME Buffy Anne Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) A.K.A. Little Miss Likes-to-Fight, Rebecca of Sunnyhell Farm, The Duchess of Buffonia ADDRESS 1630 Revello Drive
BIO Prior to becoming The Chosen One, our redoubtable and resourceful heroine was a blissfully oblivious Valley Girl (Prom Queen, Fiesta Queen, cheerleader at L.A.’s Hemery High). Literally born Oct. 24, 1980, Buffy’s secret slayer life began in ’96, and her resulting behavior (including burning down Hemery’s gym) got her kicked out of school. Her parents soon divorced, and Joyce Summers (clueless as anyone to Buffy’s darkness-battling duties) moved her ”troubled” daughter to the bucolic promise of Sunnydale in hopes of starting fresh. Ha! ”The obvious connection between Buffy and me is the little girl torn between two worlds,” says Gellar. ”I was on All My Children while trying to graduate from high school. Do you go to sleep-overs or to auditions?” Or, in Buffy’s case, ”Do you save the world or go to the prom?”
SPECIAL POWERS As long as there have been vampires, there have been slayers, though details on the selection process are sketchy. We do know every generation has a Chosen One — though, this being a high-risk occupation, there are always slayers-in-waiting. With the job comes increased strength (can bend a rifle; can’t bust through heavy steel), heightened agility (leaping tall buildings), and the occasional psychic dreams (providing vital clues, warnings, or visions of Angel naked). Not to be underestimated: Buffy’s facility with a killer pun.
TURN-ONS Boinking the undead (specifically, Angel); ice skating (her childhood bedroom was a shrine to Dorothy Hamill, ”thereby securing a place for [herself] in the geek hall of fame”); Mr. Gordo (her stuffed pig).
TURNOFFS Studying (see her 2.8 GPA); movies with dogs or Chevy Chase; bad Angel — for Buffy and Gellar: ”When Angel first went evil, I had to separate myself from David [Boreanaz] because our scenes together hurt that much more. David was my most trusted person on set. When I would cry on camera, he was the only one who could calm me down — when Angel broke up with Buffy [”The Prom”], I couldn’t stop crying for 25 minutes!” FEARS Ventriloquist dummies, hospitals. FANTASY DATE Spike — though, ”When I mentioned the possibility of Spike and Buffy to Joss,” says Gellar, ”he was like, ‘No more vampires!”’GELLAR’S FAVORITE EPISODES ”’Earshot’ had a universal theme of how everybody feels lost — the popular kids and the nerds. It’s hard for people to imagine beautiful people having problems.”
LEAST FAVORITE ”There was a point in season 3 when Buffy lost her spunk, and it was depressing. Faith was duping her too much. Buffy’s supposed to have amazing intuition and I was disappointed in her. I mentioned it to Joss, and as soon as he could arc it, Buffy stood up to Faith” (in ”Enemies”).THE GOOD NEWS With Angel gone next season, Buffy’s ”getting to be the funny one. Angel tended to bring Buffy down; now she has vibrancy and life. She’s starting clean, in college, without a boyfriend. And Buffy’s gonna get some!”
THE BAD NEWS Vampires attend college, too.

CORDELIA CHASE

NAME Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter) A.K.A. Soliloquy Girl ADDRESS No. 4 Parkview
BIO You’d think the plight of her parents—Mom suffers from Epstein-Barr virus; Dad recently lost the family fortune to the IRS—would make Sunnydale’s Most Shallow more sensitive to others. “Not in this lifetime,” says Carpenter, who will follow David Boreanaz to his new WB drama, Angel. “And probably not even the next.”
SPECIAL POWERS As Cordy points out to Buffy, when it comes to dating, she’s the slayer.
TURN-ONS Popularity (“not just my right but my responsibility”); cheerleading (she was the apex—naturally—of the squad’s pyramid); her red Chrysler Cirrus (license plate, “Queen C”).
TURNOFFS Buffy; Xander (when he’s not turning her on); being mistaken for a member of the chess club; off-the-rack clothing (gives her hives); tact.
THE GOOD NEWS “She’s the girl you’d go shopping with who’d actually say, ‘Oh honey, you look really fat in that dress,'” says Carpenter.
THE BAD NEWS “People would rather not go shopping with someone like that.”

ANGEL

NAME Angelus (David Boreanaz) A.K.A. Stealth Guy, Cryptic Guy, and Buffy’s “cradle-robbing, creature-of-the-night boyfriend”
BIO A drunken, whoring layabout mortal-turned-particularly vicious vampire 200-plus years ago. (As Angel tells Buffy, “For 100 years I offered a violent death to everyone I met, and I did it with a song in my heart.”) His comeuppance came in 1898, after he killed the favorite of a Gypsy clan; they cursed him with the return of his soul and conscience (a drawback for those who suck blood for a living). Except for a brief relapse thanks to horizontal romping with Buffy (sexual healing is not an option for the cursed undead), he’s been moping the world ever since, shunning other vampires and atoning for his multitudinous sins, even lending a hand to the slayer brigade. Lives off hospital plasma or (note to PETA) animal blood. Chills out with tai chi and poetry.
DISTINGUISHING MARKS A tattoo of a bird on his right shoulder blade.
FEARS Sex, given its tendency to suck the soul right back out of him; the sun.
TURN-ONS Demon Angel: Darla (the vamp who sired him); Drusilla (whom he sired on the day she took her holy vows); snapping spines. Benevolent Angel: Buffy—the only woman he’s ever loved. He’s also partial, says Boreanaz, to “anything Celtic-y, since he’s from Ireland. Like Irish dancing after sex—though he’s not getting much Irish dancing, is he?” TURNOFFS “Rude people and hairy women.” THE GOOD NEWS “He’s got great clothes,” says Boreanaz, which he’ll continue to sport on Angel.
THE BAD NEWS Eternal celibacy.

XANDER HARRIS

NAME Alexander LaVelle Harris (Nicholas Brendon) A.K.A. Big Bucket of Funny ADDRESS 17619 Whiteoak Drive
BIO Snarky, sex-obsessed underachiever who, despite the dorky facade, has a way with the ladies—including Willow, his best bud since kindergarten (and cofounder of the I Hate Cordelia Club). But his family life—beyond references to his parents fighting, his mother’s cooking (“Wanna come over tonight? Mom’s making her famous Phone Call to the Chinese Place”), and his dad’s unemployment—remains a mystery. “He was abused as a child,” deadpans Brendon. “I’ve got two people in mind for his dad—George Hamilton or Steven Seagal.”
SPECIAL POWERS None, unless you count mocking.
TURN-ONS “Leos, Aramis, Jell-O, anyone who answers the question, ‘What can I do you for?'” And did we mention the s-word? As Xander himself points out, “Looking at linoleum makes me want to have sex.”
TURNOFFS “B.O., dirty fingernails, Birkenstock sandals.”
FANTASY DATE “Buffy—Xander hasn’t tagged that yet.”
FEARS Xander’s motto says it all: “I laugh in the face of danger—then hide until it goes away.” Other than that, says Brendon, “It’s a little thing called performance anxiety.”
THE GOOD NEWS “Xander’s getting action from all the girls and has a sardonic wit.”
THE BAD NEWS “He’s getting action from all the girls and has a sardonic wit. It’s a double-edged sword, my friend.”

JENNY CALENDAR

NAME Jenny Calendar (Robia LaMorte—really!) A.K.A. Janna
BIO Dollsome computer-science teacher/technopagan, well versed in demonology. Descended from the Romanian Gypsies (the Kalderash) who cursed Angel, she was sent to Sunnydale to make sure her tribe’s imprecation (not a speck of happiness for Angelus) is never broken.
TURN-ONS Giles; computer literacy; monster truck shows. She’s a “one-of-the-guys kind of girl,” says LaMorte. Well, maybe not quite one of the guys: “I would come on set in Jenny’s little outfits, and the crew would be like, ‘Dang! School was not like this when I was going.'”
TURNOFFS Possession by the demon Eyghon.
THE GOOD NEWS She translated a ritual to turn bad Angel good again. THE BAD NEWS He snapped her spine before she could finish it.

WILLOW ROSENBERG

NAME Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) A.K.A. Knowledge Girl, Net Girl ADDRESS 6305 Westminster Place
BIO Over the past three seasons, Buffy’s brainiac bud may have blossomed from a computer-whiz wallflower to the self-assured girlfriend of a werewolf, but she’s still the girl next door. “A lot of people tell me they were just like Willow,” says Hannigan, or that they “knew somebody like her in high school.”
SPECIAL POWERS Self-taught witch capable of basic telekinetic skills and more complex spells (restoring a vampire’s soul); monster computer hacker.
TURN-ONS Lifelong crush Xander, then Oz; chemistry (kind of like her other turn-on, witchcraft, “only without the newt”); diagnosing diseases (her idea of “playing doctor” as a kid). TURNOFFS Xander dating Cordy (inspiring Willow’s one dip into cattiness: “What’s [Xander’s] number? Oh yeah, 1-800-I’m-dating-a-skanky-ho”). FEARS Frogs THE GOOD NEWS Willow is relentlessly kind and upbeat. “Even if she’s talking about something depressing she puts a positive spin on it,” says Hannigan. THE BAD NEWS Her sweetness has translated into some seriously dowdy clothing (prompting Cordy’s classic, episode 1 put-down: “Nice dress, Willow. Good to know you’ve seen the softer side of Sears”). Hannigan says an early script even noted that Will’s mom probably still picked out her clothes, though that soon changed. “After the first episode, The WB was calling Joss, saying, ‘You’ve got to hip her up.’ Then they called back and said, ‘Take her down.’ I was going back and forth for the first season.”

RUPERT GILES

NAME Rupert Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) A.K.A. Mr. Caution Man, Investigates-Things-From-Every-Boring-Angle Guy
BIO Don’t let the fuddy-duddy librarian demeanor fool you; Buffy’s British, Citroen-driving, Latin-fluent guardian/trainer has a soft spot for the Bay City Rollers and a bad-ass past. Giles dropped out of Oxford to join an occult group before succumbing to his Watcher destiny (it’s a family business). Prior to his Sunnydale High gig, he was a curator at the British Museum.
TURN-ONS Kayaking at the annual Watchers retreat in the Cotswolds; a nice cup of Bovril and a good book (preferably written before 1066).
TURNOFFS Computers; tardiness. FEARS Failing in his duty to protect Buffy.
THE GOOD NEWS Giles has revitalized a musty profession. “I’ve gotten tons of thank-yous from librarians,” says Head. THE BAD NEWS “It’s intense pressure being responsible for Buffy’s well-being. The Watcher suicide rate must be up there with dentists.”

FAITH

NAME Faith (Eliza Dushku) A.K.A. Little Miss Seen-It-All; Do-That Girl
BIO A rogue slayer who initially comes to Sunnydale to help Buffy, Faith’s a ticking time bomb with an unhappy past (Mom was a negligent alcoholic; her first Watcher was destroyed by a vampire). Eventually, she goes bad. “She’s an adrenaline junkie who thrives on violence,” says Dushku. “She’s all about what feels good for the moment.” Her mantra: “Want, Take, Have.”
SPECIAL POWERS Same as Buffy, minus the heart.
TURN-ONS Dusting vamps (slaying makes her hungry and horny); men—basically, “any guy that’s moving,” says Dushku; leather and cleavage: “Faith dresses not quite to impress, but to shock.” TURNOFFS “People who won’t party with her.” FEARS “Loneliness. She’ll do whatever it takes to have a mate. She wears people out, then immediately tries to clutch onto someone else.”
THE GOOD NEWS “Faith’s strong, a great woman-force.” THE BAD NEWS “She’s a psycho.”

JOYCE SUMMERS

NAME Joyce Summers (Kristine Sutherland) A.K.A. Number 1 With a Guilt Trip
BIO Buffy’s overly protective, kinda flaky mom. She says she owns an art gallery (“We actually don’t know what Joyce does all day,” say the show’s writers).
TURN-ONS Psychotic software salesmen; Giles (when drugged); schnapps. TURNOFFS Her daughter’s destiny.
THE GOOD NEWS Joyce has come to grudgingly accept Buffy’s slayer duties. Says Sutherland, “I think of it this way: Buffy’s not a complete freak of nature. Kids often have talents parents don’t possess, right? Look at the all-thumbs mother who winds up with a piano prodigy. It’s essentially the same thing.” THE BAD NEWS She nearly burned Buffy at the stake.

OZ

NAME Oz (Seth Green) A.K.A. Ironic Detachment Guy
BIO Gentle, laid-back guitarist-cum-werewolf (after being bitten by a lycanthropic baby cousin); cools his paws in Sunnydale High’s library book cage when things get hairy. A brainy slacker who tends to express himself in short, noncommittal phrases, he has the dubious distinction of failing to graduate after scoring highest on the SATs. SPECIAL POWERS Keen sense of smell, thanks to his monthly problem.TURN-ONS Willow; playing guitar (though only three chords) with his band, Dingoes Ate My Baby; black nail polish (on him, we mean); experimenting with hair color. TURN-OFFS Willow smooching Xander; failing senior year: “It was just a rationalization to keep him in high school with the other kids,” says the actor in defense of Oz. “Kinda like Brian Austin Green syndrome.”FANTASY DATE Would involve “a feather boa and the theme from A Summer Place.” Have fun, Willow…