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18 June 2014
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Interviews | Marti Noxon
Buffy vs. Dracula

PictureMythology, romance and grabbing ratings

I was a big fan of the mythology. I think I had my [first] inkling of what a sexual experience might be when I saw Dracula with Frank Langela. The pointy collars, being sexy, coming through long windows and bodice busting and all that stuff. When I was very young, Dracula just totally captured my imagination and I always saw this as a sort of great romance.

The supernatural quality didn’t interest me as much as the longing for eternal love, so the whole notion of Dracula being this sort of symbolic figure was a part of it. Moreso, it was about the mythology of what it was to be a Slayer and what it was to be the best or the greatest in your field.

[Dracula] is saying to her, "Darkness is your gift, you have some of me in you." He was sort of urging her to take her gift in a different direction, and we just thought that he was symbolic of somebody who had reached the pinnacle of his "oeuvre" and he was saying "You could be my queen." He basically thought she’d make an amazing vampire and that, to me, was thematically resonating with all the questions of identity that Buffy goes through in Season Five.

We didn’t just do it as a ratings grabber, we didn’t think in those terms until we realised… initially it was going to be just another vampire who rode a horse and was all cool. We [then] realised it could actually be the real Dracula because I kept saying "Dracula, Dracula," and Joss was like "Why not Dracula?" Nobody owns Dracula, he’s public domain, so we never really thought of it as a stunt until then.

Of course it turned out to be a stunt, and in some ways I think it raised expectations for the episode that we couldn’t quite fulfil in an hour. I felt a little bit hindered in the sense that he’s such a big myth and we tried to squeeze him into 42 minutes. I feel like we could have maybe done more with him.

We tried to pack a lot into that episode and it was actually one of the hardest episodes we ever had to break. I think I wrote an entire draft of that script which we threw out and then wrote a whole another draft of that script and usually things go a little smoother.

That was a tortured project. We re-shot the ending, because we were trying to pack a lot of ideas and a lot of sex appeal and a lot of jokes into one episode which had its good points and its bad points.

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