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18 June 2014
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Doug Petrie with weaponry. Grrr!
Doug Petrie
Buffy producer's inside guide

From co-worker to fan in one silent classic.

BBC : What was the writing team’s reaction when Joss broached the idea of Hush? What kind of input do the rest of you have when it comes to the episodes written and directed by him?

Doug Petrie: I think that it really, in terms of the team, I'd love to say that was a team effort, [but] it was really very much written and directed by Joss. Very much his brainchild. I remember he, Marti and I got together at one point. He told us what we were going to do and we tried to help him. We were fascinated with what he was saying. I can't speak for Marti but I know that I didn't fully understand where he was going. He said that he wanted it to be a fairy tale with a very dark heart, like a good Stephen King short story, and that there would be these things called the Gentlemen. That's all we knew [but] our faith in him is so solid. With Joss you kind of go, "Okay we know something's brewing, we don't know what it is..."

BBC : Was the theme always going to be silence or were there any other ideas kicked around?

Doug Petrie: No, that was the experiment. He wanted to do a silent episode and he's wanted to do a silent episode for a long time. I don't think any of us really fully understood what that meant. I know that I kind of went from being a co-worker to just being a fan on that one. We just watched and, like everyone else, we were just blown away. It was I think one of the most perfect hours of television ever. It was rewarded with an Emmy nomination for best writing and, for my friend, I'm disappointed that it wasn't nominated for best directing because I think he just outdid himself on that one.

BBC : From a technical point of view, did you get to see how it was all done? Do you regularly go and see the filming or do you tend to get on with the writing?

Doug Petrie: I love being on the set. I love watching the filming. There's the possibility - I don't mean to speak ahead of myself - but over my last hiatus I wrote and directed a short film and I'm hoping to be directing episodes of Buffy next season. I can't say for sure that would happen but it looks good. So, I love being on the set and I love being in the editing room. [It's] the nicest problem in the world to have. I'm asked to be in the writing room because that's where we do the story, that's where I do my job. I'm trying to expand my job description so I can be on the set more. Sadly, I was not on the set for Hush, because it was just beautifully shot and just masterful from everyone involved.

BBC : And an incredible score as well.

Doug Petrie: Yes, great score, great cinematography, great... just superlatives all around. I think that was probably a very special set to be on. I think what's funny is that it was the silent episode [and] the one thing I do know is the kind of rig that the Gentlemen were attached to so they could float was the noisiest thing imaginable! So there's just this giant, horrible, noisy rig for, ironically, the silent episode. You've got to make a lot of noise to do a good silent episode!

Read our episode guide to Hush >>

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