‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’: James Marsters Was ‘Curled Up in the Fetal Position’ Between Takes of One Horrible Scene

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of the most popular television shows of all time. It renewed viewers’ interest in the supernatural genre and shot Sarah Michelle Gellar to fame. Even though it has long since gone off the air, fans continue to binge-watch past episodes and to hold out hope for an eventual reunion. In addition, fans love learning anything that they can about the cast members — and several years ago, James Marsters, one of the fan-favorite actors on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, opened up about filming a particularly difficult scene that ended up with him “in the fetal position.” 

When did ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ debut on television?

In 1992, the film Buffy the Vampire Slayer was released. The movie, a black comedy fantasy film, became an underground cult classic, and it inspired Joss Whedon to create a TV series based on it. Whedon’s series proved to be very different from the original film, even though it retained many of the same characters and ideas. Buffy the Vampire Slayer premiered in 1997 and starred Sarah Michelle Gellar as the cheerleader turned Slayer.

The series enjoyed almost instantly popularity, thanks in large part to Whedon’s innovative writing and Gellar’s entertaining acting. Critics as well as fans loved the show, and it was honored with several award nominations over the years. Even though the show came to an end in 2003, it has continued to live on in the minds of fans everywhere. For the actors, the experience of working on Buffy the Vampire Slayer was one that was truly life-changing. 

James Marsters played Spike on ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’

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While Sarah Michelle Gellar was the series lead in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the rest of the cast was chock-full of talented actors, including James Marsters. Born in 1962, Marsters got his start on the stage, appearing in a wide variety of stage productions before making the jump to television. In the early nineties, Marsters began working in television, with early roles on shows like Northern Exposure

In 1997, Marsters began appearing on Buffy the Vampire Slayer as the English vampire Spike. Marsters became immensely popular with fans, and his portrayal of the vampiric anti-hero is considered to be iconic, and the inspiration for many other television and film vampires after him. Even after Buffy the Vampire Slayer went off the air in 2003, Marsters continued playing the role of Spike in the spinoff series Angel

What did James Marsters say was his hardest day of filming?

James Marsters (L), Alyson Hannigan, and Anthony Stewart Head at the 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' wrap party
James Marsters (L), Alyson Hannigan, and Anthony Stewart Head | Albert L. Ortega/WireImage

James Marsters has been in many popular TV shows and movies during the course of his career, but the character of Spike is by far the best-known. In spite of the fame that he has received from being a part of the Buffy universe, it was not always easy to work with a genius such as Joss Whedon. Many days proved to be incredibly challenging. In 2017, Marsters opened up about how difficult it was to film one portion of the sixth season, which involved a sequence where Spike assaults Buffy.

According to AV Club, filming that sequence was, as Marsters revealed, “was the hardest day of my professional life. I was curled up in a fetal position in between takes. I can’t watch scenes like that. I choose not to. I won’t go to a movie that has something like that.”

He went on to state that “it was really hard. It was just unbelievably hard. But again I’m glad we did it.” Ultimately, the assault scenes proved to be very controversial with fans, and remained a hot-button topic in fan communities for years. 

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