‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ movie looking for new writer

Dec. 22, 2011 | 11:40 a.m.

Screenwriter Whit Anderson (Sam Comen)

That big-screen revamp of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” has been dealt a setback — it looks as though the movie’s first-time screenwriter bit off more than she could chew.

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Two sources close to the project say that the script submitted this past summer by writer Whit Anderson fell far short of expectations and, in the end, was rejected completely. That’s news that will spark celebration from some longtime “Buffy” fans who were less than thrilled by the prospects of a “Buffy” revival that didn’t involve Joss Whedon. Whedon, now directing “The Avengers” for Marvel,  himself took a few shots at the reboot project — although he did so with a sly wink.

“This is a sad, sad reflection on our times,” Whedon said last November when that deal was announced, “when people must feed off the carcasses of beloved stories from their youths — just because they can’t think of an original idea of their own, like I did with my Avengers idea that I made up myself.”

As for the future of “Buffy”? A new writer is being sought but the entire endeavor may have lost some steam. There also might be some healthy fear among the producers who witnessed a spasm of fan criticism when the project was first publicized.

“If you’re going to bring it back, you have to do it right,” one key player in the project told Hero Complex. “[Anderson] came in with some great ideas and she had reinvented some of the lore and it was pretty cool but in the end there just wasn’t enough on the page.”

— Geoff Boucher

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Comments


50 Responses to ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ movie looking for new writer

  1. Mia says:

    We were ready for a Spike movie! A Faith and Spike show. A Willow or Illyria flick etc. Joss Whedon and M.E. firmly behind it. Even just in DVD format… But, they (the PTB) didn't let that happen! THEN for someone outside the verse family to take a stab – without the writers or the actors and so soon after the shows ended? WTH. Wishing Whit all the best, she's a fan, but honestly, there was very little chance that would've worked – with or without the bad blood.

    • mark zimmer says:

      BTVS is mythology & belongs in the hearts of the fans. Anything now has to be true our emotinial imagination.

  2. Shiyra says:

    I think it’s definately abad idea for someone other than Joss Whedon to make Buffy anything, film, tv show, comic… none of the fans of thbe show would support that and they would have to depend on a entirely new audience, one unfamiliar with Joss’ work, which I think is also quite unlikely to build a fanbase. If they really can’t think of an original premise, go ahead and use the Buffy universe, but make a movie about one of the new slayers that were activated at the end of season 7 with all new characters and plots. That way they can be lazy and original at the same time.

  3. Ryan says:

    If a “key player” and “sources close to the project” are going to badmouth their writer on a popular blog, they should at least have the decency to do it on the record. Cowards.

    • clementinepumpernickel says:

      Well said. I remember print articles like this slamming a little known advert-making hack who had the cheek to be hired to make Alien 3. That dude turned out to be David Fincher. Let's give Anderson the chance to show us her chops before we denounce her.

      • K. Harker says:

        I thought that's what this screenplay was… a chance. She's never written a screenplay before, and has acted in a few bit parts. What are her credentials, that we should give her leeway on a project many people love dearly and don't want to see bastardized by an unnecessary reimagining? There are thousands of brilliant writers out there who will never get the chance to show us what they have because they don't have the right connections. I was all for giving Anderson the benefit of the doubt, but see no reason to champion an untested writer with no evidence that she has the ability to handle this project. Yes, Fincher worked out, and I do love his work, although "Alien 3" is not a good movie at all – he didn't come into his own until he made "Seven". I'd rather the Buffy movie not be the experiment that Anderson does before she figures out how to write. Besides, how many ad and video directors have gone on to be successful film directors, compared to the slew that make one movie so bad that they never make another. So far, the only evidence I've heard that she's a good fit for the movie is that she's a fan. I'm a fan, and a writer, but that doesn't make me capable of taking on Whedon's baby. (p.s. I read her take on the series, and it was about as superficial an understanding as one could put out there. I guess maybe I haven't been confident about her since then.)

      • clementinepumpernickel says:

        Well, David Fincher joins a lineage of ad men/music video directors that includes Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Spike Jonze, Jon Dayton and Valerie Faris, Mchel Gondry, and Mark Romanek, to name a few. Yes there are those who have graduated from adverts/music-videos to make bad movies, but then, when you compare the ratio of bad movies to good movies, and consider the backgrounds of directors, I'm not sure that being an advert director is an indicator of poorer quality than directors coming from other backgrounds. (In addition, I mentioned Fincher more because of his treatment by 'unnamed sources' who were happy to stick the knife in when he was unproven, and he had a bigger body of work that was open to public scrutiny than Anderson: people are sticking the knife in to her without any evidence – beyond heresay – of the quality of her written work.)

  4. Michael says:

    Yes, any Buffy movie would be good. Even direct to DVD.

  5. Mykl says:

    Hey Hollywood, get a new idea!

  6. David says:

    Um, why hasn't anyone tried to do a FRAY trilogy?

  7. Diana says:

    The only new movie movie that I would I be interested in is one that is made by and written Joss Whedon and starred the cast members from the TV series. That way it woould please everybody. I think that that would be better. I would hope that it would ignore the comic book series.

    • totofett22 says:

      Honestly, all I need to accept a new Buffy movie is Joss' involvement. Frankly, the cast members from the show are just too old to play these parts anymore, and I don't think Joss is going to ignore comics he wrote himself, because that would be undermining his own work and the fans of the comics. I think a reboot could work, but only with this man involved. Because quite frankly, no one understands the show quite like he does.

  8. Guest says:

    I'm sure you would have made the largest photo in the article that of the first-time screenwriter if it was some random guy. You also would have sourced it with unnamed people involved in the project trashing said writer, not the producers whose bad idea the reboot was in the first place. This article is nasty.

  9. chris says:

    This article isn’t nasty at all, and saying that the writer had good ideas but it just wasn’t there isn’t “badmouthing” at all. The script didn’t work. It happens. Now they’ll move on or find someone else.

  10. Mikah says:

    Hooray! It would be virtually impossible to reinvent the story of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, without Joss and the original cast! Warner Brothers need to leave this show alone…

    HOWEVER… I am also a huge fan of the mythology of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and the Slayer lineage), and sometimes wish that there is a screen writer out there, who has the talent, the balls and the wit to reawaken this spectacular story.
    Sadly, I dont think a single screen writer can make their version of Buffy, as good if not better than the original.

    • Karen says:

      I think that if they had someone from the Buffy team on board and perhaps said hey this is how it should be done then maybe it would work. Sadly the cast is older now. They can't play the same teens they were back in the 90's. SMG- prinze is like 40 something now and i don't see her wanting to do the movie. In fact she didn't even voice the character for the games. She distanced herself away from everything Buffy. If they got a team together who knew all about Buffy and got the right actors for the roles- no one from twilight, I could see it work. other than that i don't see a good outcome for it. I liked the film but loved the series and I hope that they do not tarnise 7 years of onscreen Buffy

    • mark zimmer says:

      Maybe imposible. Tales of the Slayers would be so cool if JW was involved. What does Sarah say?

  11. Colleen says:

    Maybe they should try someone who is a real writer who can write screenplays, like Harlan Ellison could. I would love to see someone with serious dialogue chops like Andrew Vachss take on the Buffyverse.

  12. Former reader says:

    Geoff I'm a fan, but you should be ashamed of yourself for printing a nasty article like this after being spoonfed from a producer trying to save face. Shame on you.

  13. Jason Remigio III says:

    How about getting someone who can write vampire screenplays, as screenwriter, Joss Whedon as producer, getting someone as executive producer. How about Len Wiseman as director and providing the story? Based on the Buffy The Vampire Slayer series, with new characters, new vision, starting back in the past with Count Dracula, setting the story in the late 1700's to the present, telling the origins, with no spoilers.

  14. Jerry Greenfield says:

    The truth is that Joss Whedon was offered the opportunity to write
    the reboot and he declined to even discuss it. It's time for him to
    man up and tell the truth. The producers have always welcomed him on
    board the project.

    • Linda Steers says:

      Sorry, Jerry, but as far as I know (have read) Josh W was never invited to be part of the plan. In fact, "they" thought he wasn't good enough for the big screen which is why so many people were surprised when he produced "Cabin in the Wood" and the Avengers film.

  15. Jay T Johnson says:

    I love Buffy so much and I'm glad that fox isn't going to make a slap dash summer crowd pleaser out of it. But I have to say if this was David S Goyer who wrote Chris Nolans Batman films, would people have the same reaction….?
    And if Steven Speilberg was director, would people still be saying only Joss Whedon can make it?

    I am Joss Whedons biggest fan, but he created Buffy doesn't mean he's the only one that can interpret it.

  16. Robert Johnson says:

    Whedon had a lot of good ideas but not everyone liked the way his storys played out. However I think the fan who suggested that it is to soon after the series ended, is right. Once again there was a Buffy story before Whedon came on the scene. It didn't do very well but it was there. When it is time for it to come back, a different approach might be the way to go.

    • Linda Steers says:

      Robert, Josh Whedon created Buffy as a character in a film and was initially involved with the film until they started messing around with it and turned into a comedy. In fact, he was so angry about it that he had his name removed from the credits.

  17. James Christie says:

    I know a way to do a new "Buffy" movie while avoiding the contractual stipulation which has crippled this attempt and possibly with original cast involvement. The stories/screenplays you will need have already been written. I myself am a soon-to-be-published author (touch wood), I have Asperger Syndrome and the tale I have to tell (available for pre-ordering from Amazon's UK site) is called "Dear MIss Landau." If you'd like further verification of this rather dramatic claim, please contact Chaplin Books (www.chaplinbooks.co.uk) or email them on: chaplinbooks@virginmedia.com.

    Dear Miss Landau will (touch wood) be published on 14th March 2012 by Chaplin Books. I think the IT industry often makes the point that there's always someone sitting in a garage somewhere working on an idea which will turn the industry upside down. In this case it wasn't a garage but a Glasgow tenement flat, but that's just what has happened.

    To quote "Rocky Balboa":

    "There's always someone out there. Always."

    James Christie

  18. James Christie says:

    This is part (probably quite a small part) of an interview I wrote for Chaplin Books which will explain everything in more depth. It can also be found in PDF format in the Our Authors section of Chaplin Books' website:

    1)How did you first get interested in Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

    “Without giving too much of Dear Miss Landau (DML) away, let’s just say that Buffy’s tales of knights, demons, redemption and quests, relocated from the green and pleasant fields of King Arthur’s England and Hammer Films’ Transylvania to the stucco and adobe-adorned small town streets of Sunnydale struck a deep and abiding chord with me. The “all for one and one for all” camaraderie of the Scoobies was a badly-needed contrast to some of the nasty sides of human nature I was seeing at the time. Buffy really was a chink of light during a very dark time, and did lead to a real-life quest.”

  19. James Christie says:

    And a bit more…

    2)What appealed to you about the character of Drusilla in particular?

    “The absolute truth about my relationship with Drusilla is reserved for DML, but I will say that despite being an insane demonic killer, underneath the mask of the vampire was a shy, sweet girl who was a lot more pleasant than the racist xenophobes myself and a black colleague had been putting up with.

    “In a word, the demon was kinder than the human, and I loved her dearly for it.

    “As people with autism are generally not that empathic, I would say that my abnormally strong emotional connection with my dear old Dru is worth some academic study.”

  20. James Christie says:

    More!

    3)You went on to write a trilogy of novellas about Drusilla. Is this when you first made contact with Juliet Landau?

    “DML will detail the stops along the way to Sunset Boulevard, but when I began to write Drusilla’s Roses, the first tale of the trilogy, I basically went on a complete creative bender. I wrote, I would say, not a story about Dru, but the story which should have been written for her at the time of Buffy but wasn’t…

  21. James Christie says:

    And again…

    “In my opinion, the character of Drusilla had not been developed as fully as the other members of her vampire family – Spike, Angel and Darla – had been. It was as if Dru herself chose me to finish the job. I know how strange that sounds, but that’s how it felt at the time. There are any number of technically proficient writers around, but she needed someone who also loved her passionately, with all his heart and soul, and would fight to the last drop of his blood to bring her back.

    “She needed her noble knight, and she found him.

    “Then, when it was all over, there was nothing else I could do except put Dru in the care of her creator. So I sent Drusilla’s Roses to Hollywood, to an actress I did not know, whose middle name was Rose…”

  22. James Christie says:

    And so on!

    4)You travelled alone across the US to meet her: what aspects of this did you, as an autistic man, find most difficult?

    “You’d think the tale behind my last answer would be extraordinary enough for one lifetime, but yes, despite being tired, damaged, middle-aged and autistic, I broke with my routines and travelled alone across America.

    “I am high functioning and I had done it before, but that had been twenty years earlier; and there’s many a man who remembers the days of his youth and dreams he may return to them, but knows deep down they’re gone for good.

    “I mentioned quests before, and every grating moment I ground through the bureaucracy, the grudging return to shared dorms in backpacker hostels, the long roads across the US and the crossing of the Mojave, the image of my lady was ahead of me.

    “Drusilla was my guide along the way, but Juliet was my muse."

  23. James Christie says:

    More:

    7)What strengths do you think Autists possess that ‘ordinary’ people don’t have?

    “It is an irony of the modern world that the greatest achievements are often only achieved after fifteen to twenty years of focused work, and often only by the minority who can achieve such focus. In general, the majority of ordinary neurologically-typical people (known as neuro-typicals) tend to be less focused and more prone to multi-tasking than the minority of people with autism. The majority of people are therefore (and I do stress that this is a huge generalisation) less likely to achieve exceptional results in a single area of study. With my “Asperger focus” (the name for the intense focus Autists can bring to bear on a single subject) helping me to develop my writing ability, it was perhaps more easy for me to reach the level I did than it would have been for a neuro-typical.”

  24. James Christie says:

    Even more!

    8)Have you always been interested in writing?

    “Writing has always been my best asset, but I’m not always interested in it. I also like girls. Especially shy vampire brunettes. The latent ability, however, was always there. I won a Daily Express short story competition in my early teens, won College Colours as a result of something interesting I did in my creative writing course, and edited the script for a film which won Glasgow University’s 1993 MacTaggart Prize. Then – after fifteen years trying to write the Great Scottish Novel – came Dru.”

  25. James Christie says:

    Yet more!

    10)What’s your next project?

    “Well, my story gets even more incredible. After I finished Drusilla’s Roses, Dru refused to allow herself to be pensioned off, so I then wrote Drusilla’s Redemption and Drusilla Revenant.

    “Roses and Redemption are in Drusilla’s section of the Buffy writers’ guild web site, Charm School version: lessons in etiquette, but Drusilla Revenant has never been seen.

    “This is because I think I found an unfinished story arc from the original TV series and, as well as incorporating Juliet Landau’s two-part Drusilla tale from Angel 24-25, Drusilla Revenant developed this arc and ends with an unbelievable twist which may well change fan perceptions of the Buffyverse."

  26. James Christie says:

    And penultimately…

    “I also gave Dru a happy ending. I thought this time I’d finally managed to pension the old girl off, but yet again she found her way back. So once DML is finished I intend to write the fourth part of the trilogy, in which Spike and Dru go back into action again…

    “There is a possibility the trilogy may be published and, at the risk of tilting recklessly at windmills, I think it (or elements from it) would be a better plot for the new Buffy movie than the current script which (due to a contractual stipulation) will probably just send the Slayer back to high school, without most of the beloved characters from the TV series."

  27. James Christie says:

    Last and ultimately:

    “On a different tack, Dear Miss Landau was first conceived as a film as I was walking down the hill from Candlewood Drive. There is plot, theme, location and spectacle galore. Imagine Rain Man meeting Notting Hill via 84 Charing Cross Road, punctuated by a poetic set of articles written while I was going across the US, running for L.A. to meet the best and most beautiful gal in all the world one Sunday morning in March, on a boulevard west of Sunset…

    “Any film producers out there listening?”

  28. James Christie says:

    Addendum: Dear Miss Landau will (touch wood) be published on 14th March 2012 by Chaplin Books. This is all really happening. I think the IT industry often makes the point that there's always someone sitting in a garage somewhere working on an idea which will turn the industry upside down. In this case it wasn't a garage but a Glasgow tenement flat, but that's just what has happened.

    To quote "Rocky Balboa":

    "There's always someone out there. Always."

    • Carla J. says:

      James,

      Perhaps you're not aware that what you're doing is "spamming". This forum is not for you to promote your own books, over several postings. It will tend to irritate people – a lot – and you will be reported.

      Just a friendly note.

  29. Shokai says:

    I want to see a Buffy who can do this: http://youtu.be/OvgJ6foD58Y

  30. Kitty says:

    Joss created Buffy, and it wouldn't be the same without him or without Sarah. Sarah's too old to play Buffy anymore and she IS Buffy. I agree with some of the posters here that some of Joss' story arcs with both Buffy and Angel were rather bad. (Season 6 of BtVS and Season 4 of Angel come to mind), but it is too soon to bring these characters back to the big screen. Maybe in 10-20 years from now when most people will say, "Buffy who?"

  31. anonymous says:

    all of you who bad mouth this did not even listen t Joss when he said that taking a new directer and writer would b ea good idea. he just handed it off and hopes for he best. you cannot expect him to stick with the genre forever i love him i love his shows but still after so may failures can you blame the guy he does not wan to let us down by making yet another failure. he did the movie alien for resurrection but they killed his ending and redid it. he tried desperately to hold on to doll house but the writers would not have it his way. so when he gets a chance to do a good movie such as the avengers and do it all his way if i where him i would let one of my fans take on the role for Buffy movie and direct the one i know won't be a let down. you need to respect him and the Buffy franchise after all whiny fans make bad news and bad press for it. hearing you bad mouth it is making me want to see it less and less because you cannot respect it for what it is a good idea done ya good woman. besides you can;t expect him to hold your hand all the time through your fantasies. but i want to see this movie and who cares if ti is a direct to DVD movie who cares if it is not as good as the original or the series i will love it none the less and i will own it because it is Buffy verse and i care about the genre more then i care about who stars in it or who directs it. yes i love Joss but i can give him up if someone else wants to try. its like telling your child not to draw hart because her older brother is better at it.. so please stop being uber fans and respect this for what it can and will be another installment,ent in the Buffy verse

    • Connie says:

      T’aint Joss’s failures when his scripts are reworked and they refuse to listen to him. The failures you quote lie with the arrogant people who can’t recognize the skill and knowledge it takes to get it right. Fans like you and people like that might be why Wheton is so selective with his projects and maintains such a tight knit group of people he trust.

      The Avengers was one in a long line of projects, Serenity and Buffy topping the list, that was successful because he called the shots. Anyone who doesn’t recognize his talent and immediately hand control to the man, deserves the failures and loss of revenge they endured. Guess, if I were them, I’d be just as eager to shift the blame. But funny thing, when he retains control, successful projects follow.

      His genius is hard to understand. The process encompasses leaps and bounds across huge gullies of unforseen personal challenges, resulting in creations that are so real, they appear simplistic. We all imagine ourselves possessing his abilities. The desire is so common, the movie industry is littered with the failed results of such misplaced beliefs.

      While Buffy is surrounded by death metaphors, I certainly don’t want the next endeavor in the franchise buried in the graveyard. I’d love to tell you to “bugger off”, but I gotta say, you have the right to spew what I consider half-regurgitated garbage. So, I can’t. More’s the pity.

      Those money hounds pumping out cheesy clones are counting on just this attitude. I plan to disappoint them every chance I get.

  32. Darren Warren says:

    Hi guys I’m a screenwriter and at the minute I’m and making a tv series called destiny I would love the chance to write a buffy film as growing up I was a big fan of the hit tv series if you can get back to me that would be great thank you

  33. brad says:

    everyone just shhhh about whedon not producing it, it will be good its buffy for god sake, it will be fresh and new and exciting what about the movie before the tv series whedon didnt produce that so in a way he took someone elses idea!

    • Connie says:

      Uhmmm, Brad, Joss conceived, birthed, and nursed Buffy. They took his concept and his idea. Do a little reading and give the man his due. He earned it.

  34. Buffylover says:

    I think they should just make a reunion movie of the original cast in one last battle and give them all a proper ending. I think it would turn out good, all the original actor are really not that old. I know I would love to see that and I think most of the btvs fans would too.

  35. Leon says:

    Buffy vs Blade…nuff said.

  36. jj14 says:

    I say get MTV to do it, they always have the pulse of the teens and you have Joss help out I think it would turn out well. Whoever produces Teen Wolf should do it

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