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Unless you’ve been living under a rock this past week, you’re aware that Entertainment Weekly reunited the cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for an epic Untold Stories issue. And now creative director Tim Leong and senior photo editor Michele Romero are here to take you inside the top-secret shoot and share insider details on how it all went down.
“Normally, for a big reunion like this, these things take months,” begins Leong. “We’re working on them for a half a year. This time we had…”
“One week,” jumps in Romero. “Maybe it was five days; a traumatic five days.” (That’s about the same turn around for Buffy and Co. to find a way to stop the apocalypse, so at least it’s fitting.)
The shoot featured 13 people and “like, 25 demons,” Romero jokes, making it was one the largest reunions the magazine has captured. “We’ve had shoots where we’ve had 13 people on them before,” says Leong, “but not 13 main cast members.”
The big day saw the show’s creator Joss Whedon join stars Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy), David Boreanaz (Angel), James Marsters (Spike), Alyson Hannigan (Willow), Nicholas Brendon (Xander), Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia), Seth Green (Oz), Emma Caulfield (Anya), Amber Benson (Tara), Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn), Alexis Denisof (Wesley), and Kristine Sutherland (Joyce) on two different sets for ensemble photos and solos taken by photographer James White.
Considering the scale, it wasn’t always easy to keep the project a secret. “We had a code name for this project because it was super top secret,” says Leong. The winning code name: Fluffy the King Slayer. “I thought that was clever,” quips Romero.
For more revelations from the past four decades of entertainment, visit ew.com/untoldstories.
“Because this reunion was such a big deal for us, we really wanted to lock it down and keep things under wraps,” explains Leong. “So it was closed set — that meant no tweeting, no selfies, no social media.”
“We found that this was a very difficult task for some people,” adds Romero.
“People were pumped,” says Leong. “They wanted to get it out into the world as soon as possible.”
Watch the clip above and catch our exclusive People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN) special, EW Reunites: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, here or download the free app on your favorite device.
To make things even more difficult, paparazzi swarmed the area on the day of the shoot. An EW assistant was tasked with dispersing the photographers, only to discover that they were actually nearby for a Kardashian or Jenner (“It was a Kar-Jenner,” as Leong calls them).
But in the end, all the secrets and stress were more than worth it. When James Marsters (Spike) walked onto the library set EW had built for the shoot, he looked around and said, “Wow, you guys really went all out.” Leong responded, “Yeah, it’s Buffy.”