BBC Cult - Printer Friendly Version
Amber Benson - Web Chat for BBCi - 12th December, 2002
Wicca research, duets and films.
Ian: Hi Amber, great to see you, I love your character! Are you looking forward to the web chat today?
Amber Benson: I'm totally looking forward to the webchat - we're in the chat at the moment and I'm really enjoying it. I feel like we're on a TV show actually - it's a bit like Good Morning America!
Amberforanoscar: Who would you like to sing a duet with?
Amber Benson: Gosh, that's a tough one. I would have chosen Jeff Buckley, but he's passed away.
Moonwolf: Did you do research into wicca for your role as Tara?
Amber Benson: I'd always been interested in the occult so I'd done a lot of reading on it. When I got [the part in] Buffy it sort of dovetailed together perfectly..
Devilchick: What was it like on Buffy and working with the cast?
Amber Benson: It was lovely. We had an amazing cast and crew. Sarah is just fantastic. She's a lot of fun and was very welcoming.
Grange25: When is your film released and where will we be able to see it?
Amber Benson: Right now we're doing the film festival circuit with it. I'm not sure exactly when it will be released.
Beedie: What was the atmosphere like on set, filming the musical?
Amber Benson: Everyone was so excited to be doing it. We wanted to do 15 takes! So many of the cast are musically talented.
Carmilla: As you're a very good singer, have you any plans to make pop music?
Amber Benson: Definitely. I'm going to join the Backstreet Boys!! [laughs] Right now I'm focusing on writing and directing. But if someone decided to hand me a record contract, I wouldn't say no.
Singing lessons and views on lesbianism.
Visitor in the hedge: Hello Amber, you were amazing in Once More, With Feeling, and the album is great, but how much voice practicing did you do before filming began?
Amber Benson: Actually they put at our disposal a vocal coach. I worked with her a couple of times.
Robj: Has playing a lesbian on Buffy changed your own view on the subject?
Amber Benson: It hasn't changed my view at all. I've always believed it doesn't matter who you sleep with. What's important is how you treat people.
Shogun: Do you think that British and American audiences have had different reactions to the gay characters in Buffy?
Amber Benson: It really comes down to a personal thing. You can't generalise. Certain people will be offended and others will be delighted. It's not a country thing but up to each individual.
Ellie: What was your favourite Buffy episode to act out?
Amber Benson: It's a toss-up. I have three favourites - Once More With Feeling, Hush and Restless.
CaffineRedEye: Do you think Tara is the moral centre of Buffy?
Amber Benson: I think that she and Giles shared that title. She's very much a moral person though but nobody really listens to her.
UKI: What is it like being a huge part on Buffy?
Amber Benson: It's been a long, strange trip. It's been a lot of fun. I've been really blessed that I got to walk in her shoes. I didn't realise how big the fan-base is until I got involved in the show.
Nomek: What inspired you to write [Amber's recent movie] "Chance"?
Amber Benson: I just got sick of reading scripts where the female part is the love interest, sex kitten or tomboy best friend.
Hidden talents, the internet and auditions.
BuffyFan1: Who did the cast think had the best voice in Once More, With Feeling?
Amber Benson: Tony Head. He's an amazing singer. It was a wonderful experience to sing a duet with him. He's so talented and so nice.
Amber_is_my_idol: Apart from your beautiful singing and your wonderful acting do you have any other hidden talents?
Amber Benson: If you watch the video stream you'll see my hidden talent... [Amber moves her eyeballs independently of each other, quite revolting!]
Amy: Is Tara's character/personality anything like your own?
Amber Benson: Definitely there are aspects of her that are aspects of me as well. We're all trying to fit in and make the grade. There is part of me who is like her, but I'm more outgoing, don't stutter and don't wear a lot of skirts!
Josh: How important is the internet to you? Your official website hasn't had a lot done to it... more please!
Amber Benson I try and stay away from doing anything that is to do with myself on the internet. I find it a bit strange. But I'm working now at the BBC putting together an animated internet programme which is very exciting.
Spidey: What would you think about being a vampire in real life?
Amber Benson: Hmmmm... I'm a vegetarian so I wouldn't really be able to kill anyone. I would have to raid the bloodbank, I wouldn't be able to take real blood from anyone!
Rebel: Hi. What was it like working with your old co-stars from Buffy in your new project??
Amber Benson: It was a lot of fun. James Masters is fantastic as is Andy Hallett from Angel.
Mike_hughes: Do you think they should make a second Buffy movie?
Amber Benson: It would definitely be interesting. Buffy is such a soap opera that I don't know how they'd manage to fit a whole story into under two hours.
Cool: How did you get to appear on buffy?
Amber Benson: I auditioned for a part. They wanted me to come back but I had actually left to go out of town.
Musical tastes, computer games and Angel.
RZ: What kind of music do you like, Amber?
Amber Benson: I like it all. I'm open to everything if it's got a good beat. I like Amy Mann and Jeff Buckley. There's a guy called Jude who's really good too.
Rick: Have you played the Buffy [computer] game and if so are you any good?
Amber Benson: I have yet to play the game. But Chris Golden, who is my writing partner for the project we're doing for the BBC called The Ghosts of Albion, has played it and I've heard it's excellent.
Lukeyboy: Hey, what do you hope to get for Christmas?
Amber Benson: A million bucks and Johnny Depp! At this stage I just need to go and veg in a book store - I've been working too hard on this BBC project.
Indus: Would you ever like to guest star on Angel?
Amber Benson: Sure! I think the recent season of Angel has been really wonderful. I'd like to do one of the karaoke scenes.
Rob: You mentioned a BBC project you're working on, Ghosts of Albion - can you tell us more about it?
Amber Benson: Actually a lot of people have been asking about this. Chris Golden and I co-wrote this supernatural drama with a bit of a Jane Austen send-up. I've directed it and it's going to be animated and put on the BBC's Cult website - www.bbc.co.uk/cult. It's an interactive website so you can find out all sorts of information about the location. It's going to be done in a five-part installment - just like the old Dickens serials.
Xixili: I'd just like to say that I think you are a great role model on television, what do you think of that status ?
Amber Benson: It's means you can't be bad anymore (just kidding). I think because this was the first lesbian long-term relationship on television, you had to be really careful how you played it. I wanted to make it not just about the sexuality but about two people having a relationship. If you're in the public eye you have to live your life in a more responsible way. I've had to watch my wicked sense of perverse humour.
The body, Joss and spin-offs.
Nt300uk: My own favourite episode was The Body - how hard was that episode to make?
Amber Benson: That's a wonderful episode. Watching Kristine Sutherland walking around the set and come to lunch in her dead make-up was really unsettling. The most emotional scene for me was doing the scene with Sarah in the hospital. She was sick at the time but still put in the most amazing performance. It is a beautiful episode.
Jay_Jay: What monologues would you recommend for actor audition pieces?
Amber Benson: If you're doing something classical I would say your best bet is to go for something from 'Romeo and Juliet'.
Bbandangie: Is it good working with Joss Whedon or does he drive you too hard?
Amber Benson: He beats me with wet noodles! Actually someone once wrote me a letter asking if Joss whips us. I wondered, "How did they know". But seriously, he's great to work with. He knows what he wants and works diligently to get there.
Ellie: Is there any member of the cast you get on with particularly well with?
Amber Benson: They're all so nice. I really love Michelle. She's such a sweetie and she knows her Buffy inside out, so if there's anything you need to know, she's your woman! She's a real dear.
T-O: If you were offerd the part as a Bond girl would you go for it?
Amber Benson: Hell yeah! C'mon! I think that would be fantastic. Can you imagine? That would be so much fun.
Chris5: When we going to see a spin off series with you as the lead part?
Amber Benson: Oh I like Chris!! I doubt that that would ever happen. I think Buffy's been on for seven years and has already had one spin-off... I think that if there were to be another spin-off it would have to be Spike or Dawn.
Ballet, fans and other characters.
hooly_j: Hi Amber. How did you get into the acting business?
Amber Benson: I was a hyperactive child. My mother wanted to get me into bed at night so she put me into ballet classes. I landed up doing the Nutcracker Suite for a couple of years. I realised that I didn't really like the dancing but I did like being on stage and getting that buzz from audience reaction.
JonJonB: At first some fans were a little miffed that Oz was gone and you were in. Was it difficult to gradually work your way into the fans' hearts, and become such a beloved part of the show?
Amber Benson: I was disappointed because I thought I was going to get to work with Seth! I understand exactly how they felt. Seth is a wonderful person - I actually know him away from Buffy. But I think that Tara has really worked her way into people's hearts. She truly loves Willow and I think that when people realised that she wasn't going to hurt Willow, they began to warm to her.
Dingoes_baby: If you could play any other character who would it be and why?
Amber Benson: That's a tough one... I'd like to say Faith just because she's so cool and crazy and wild. She's the antithesis of Tara. Plus she gets to kick a lot of butt!
Spoilery stuff - beware!
Clo_marsters: How do you feel about the outrage there has been about Tara's death?
Amber Benson: I wasn't excited about it happening either but I realise that Joss was dealing with an addiction storyline which was allegorical for other addictions. I think he wanted to address that with Willow. The only way that Willow was going to hit bottom and to change for the better was to lose her most loved one.
Crystal: Do you plan to return for any guest spots on season seven Buffy? The fans miss you!
Amber Benson: I don't know. We'll see what happens. There's been some talk and Joss really wants me to come back but I've been doing a lot of other work in the meantime and trying to work out my schedule is hectic. They also wanted Tara to go bad and I'm not comfortable with that. I think Tara's death was so painful for fans and I wouldn't want to make it even worse.
Oddboy: Did you know in advance that Tara was going to be killed off, or did it come as a surprise to you?
Amber Benson: I knew about it a season and a half before it happened. Joss really does know his storylines well in advance.
David: If you were writing your big exit from the show, how would you have chosen to have left?
Amber Benson: I kept saying she should be drawn and quartered! If I was going to write the big exit, I would just have her go away like Oz went away. Having her killed like that was just awful - so sad. But I understand that for the storyline it had to be done that way.
Truculent: If Sarah didn't renew her contract, what would your advice be to the production staff? Would you continue with Dawn, or Faith, or would you cancel?
Amber Benson: I would ask the network people to give everyone else their own shows - they're all so wonderful But I think that Buffy is centred around Sarah and wouldn't be the same without her. Without her, it would lose a very valuable player.
Willowfan87: What would your ideal Buffy storyline be?
Amber Benson: I think that everybody should get a happy ending because they all deserve it. I think they all deserve to be together and happy in the end.
Final thoughts, including some spoilers.
I_love_wicca: My best friend recently became a vegetarian... It's his first Christmas at it. What advice do you give? :)
Amber Benson: It's very hard to stay away from the turkey - every year I want it. But if your family is kind they will prepare lots of vegetables, especially potatoes, and they won't cook them together with the meat.
Buffy: Do you ever get freaked out seeing your face on Buffy merchandising?
Amber Benson: It's very odd. I can't quite get a handle on it. It's very strange when you see your own face looming large. I don't like to watch myself, period.
Euology: I'm a writer myself and I'd like to know what inspires your ideas.
Amber Benson: I truly believe that there is some sort of collective of muses out there. I sometimes sit at my computer and wait for the muses to strike. I also read a lot. Reading and watching good films help too. You have to lead an interesting life.
J: Do you have any brothers or sisters and if so do they get a lot of their friends asking for your autograph?
Amber Benson: I have a sister. I don't think many people know that I'm on Buffy and I'm her sister. I think she thinks being a celebrity is a bit silly. She's really not phased by it. It's always good to have family to dunk your head in the toilet if you start getting a big head.
Angelicdevil1: You play a witch on Buffy, have you ever tried to cast a spell on a guy who broke your heart?
Amber Benson: No I think it's better to stay away from guys who break your heart. You don't need spells or revenge, just stay far away from them.
Tom: How do you feel about all the publicity you have to do?
Amber Benson: It's a lot of fun because I get to meet lots of interesting people who are really nice.
Carlo: Hi Amber, I'm a big fan. I've seen all of your episodes, and I loved how you progressed Tara as a character. Do you ever think about how you could have progressed more if you stayed longer on the show?
Amber Benson: I think she would have become more and more confident. I think her finding her soulmate made her a more confident and secure human being.
Tom: How hard was it to act your death scene with Alyson?
Amber Benson: It was awful. It was not fun. Sarah and I were both crying at the end. It was really terrible. A really close friend of all of us at work had just passed away and it brought all of that back.
Dave: Have you got more comics projects with Tara on the go?
Amber Benson: Chris and I have been so busy with Ghosts of Albion, the BBC project, that we haven't thought about doing more comics yet, but you never know.