Last week, news broke that a Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie is finally in the works. Unfortunately, it’s not the ones that fans have been hoping for. Rather than reuniting TV castmates like Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan, and James Marsters, the film would be a reboot of the original low-budget movie.
Back in 1992, Fox released the campy Buffy flick starring Kristy Swanson, Donald Sutherland, and Luke Perry. The original script was written by a then-unknown writer named Joss Whedon. Fran Rubel Kuzui and her husband, Kaz, “discovered” the story for their Kuzui Enterprises. Ms. Kuzui directed the film while her husband put together the financing.
The movie wasn’t a big success and Whedon has often lamented that the movie wasn’t what he’d envisioned at all. Director Kuzui sought to make it into a “pop culture comedy about what people think about vampires.” Whedon said, “I had written this scary film about an empowered woman, and they turned it into a broad comedy. It was crushing.”
A few years later, Fox executive Gail Berman approached Whedon about doing a TV series and it was decided to take another stab at Buffy. Though Whedon and the Kuzuis had executive producer credits on both the Buffy TV show and its spin-off, Angel, the Kuzuis’ involvement only stemmed from their rights on the original movie.
Now, the Kuzuis and Roy Lee and Doug Davison of Vertigo Entertainment are working on a remake. Though the Buffy TV show is what most people remember, they’re going to be doing a reboot of the movie, without Whedon. That means that familiar characters like Angel, Giles, Willow, Xander, Cordelia, or Spike won’t be along for the ride.
The new team’s goal is to make a dark big-budget movie, perfectly suited for plenty of sequels, video games, and even foreign remakes. They’re currently meeting with writers and will look for a studio at some point down the line. Though they haven’t approached Whedon, they aren’t ruling out his involvement entirely.
Speaking with the Hollywood Reporter, Ms. Kuzui said, “It was Roy’s interest in taking Buffy into a new place that grabbed us… It was based on our respect for what he does, and his particular sensitivity to Asian filmmakers, that we wanted to work with him.”
She concluded, “Everything has its moment. Every movie takes on a life at some point, and this seems like the moment to do this.”
Considering that the TV show ended just six years ago, many have expressed doubt that the time for a Buffy reboot is right. Most of the TV’s show’s expansive fan base would much prefer a reunion of the TV show’s cast but Whedon and Gellar have publicly resisted. Some feel that these movie plans might just be a ploy to force them to finally do a reunion.
Whedon has been fairly tight-lipped about the news but Anthony Head isn’t. The actor who played watcher Giles on the series told USA Today, “The Kuzuis didn’t do a great job on the movie the first time around. It was Joss’ script at the age of 19, but they changed a lot of it. They said, ‘Look, we know best and we know how to make this movie,’ and it became quite schlocky and high camp.”
He continued, “The bottom line is if a movie was ever to be made, it should be made with Joss Whedon, whether it’s a retrospective or not. But it would be madness to do it without him. [The Kuzuis] have the rights to because they have the rights to the original movie, but it should be interesting to see. It may be a bit like watching a car wreck.”
What do you think? The worst idea ever or could they actually make something unique and worthwhile?