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NYCC Interview: Charisma Carpenter & Emma Caulfield Ford Talk ‘Slayers: A Buffyverse Story’

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Slayers: A Buffyverse Story, a new Audible original, takes us back to the beloved Buffyverse, where vampires, demons, Slayers, and other supernatural creatures roam. Set ten years after the events of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series finale, the story features a mix of returning cast members and talented newcomers. Earlier this month at New York City Comic Con, the audio drama got a splashy rollout, and we had the chance to sit down in roundtables with Emma Caulfield Ford and Charisma Carpenter to talk about the project. 

If you’re a WandaVision fan, you may recognize Caulfield Ford from the exciting Marvel Disney+ show and maybe future shows as Dottie. In the Buffyverse, she is Anya/Anyanka, Xander’s on-and-off-again gal who is also a vengeance demon with a bone to pick with the residents of Sunnydale. Charisma Carpenter is Cordelia from both Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When we were offered the chance to sit down with them both in the roundtables at NYCC, we were so excited. 

We chatted with original Emma Caulfield Ford and Charisma Carpenter about how they got involved with the Slayers audio drama and what convinced them to join. They talked about shining a light on characters who didn’t get justice in the show and how meaningful the support from Audible has been to them. Carpenter also shared her insights on the transition from the Cordelia of Buffy and Angel to the world-weary slayer Cordelia of Slayers. It was a fun chat, and we even asked (and got an answer!) about the potential for more seasons of Slayers.

The interview with Charisma Carpenter & Emma Caulfield Ford on Slayers: A Buffyverse Story

[Editor’s note: This interview has been lightly edited for clarity. There are spoilers ahead for Slayers.]

Interviewer: “Can you tell us how you got involved in the project? When did you find out it and what was your first reaction when you read the script?”

Emma Caulfield Ford: “Well, Amber, sweet Amber, dear friend Amber Benson called up and said, ‘So, listen, how do you feel…’ She started to pitch the project and I just killed it right there. I said, ‘No way. I’m not going back. I don’t want, I am…’ She’s like, ‘No, I know, I get it, but let me explain the angle. Let me tell you what I’m doing.’ And she really only talked for a couple of more minutes before I stopped and was like, ‘No, I’m in. I’m a hundred percent. I trust you completely.’ I’m like, ‘I wouldn’t do it for anybody else but you. That’s it.’ I had worked with her before, obviously on the show, and then she did a little independent film that she cut me out of, which is amazing.”

Interviewer: “It was Chance?”

Emma Caulfield Ford: “It was Chance, yeah. Well, she didn’t try to, it was like Gonzo filmmaking and the scene, just the sound was wrong with just no money to redo it. So it was like, I guess I’m out. And I followed her as a writer for a while and I was like, you’re just great and I just really want your time to come. And I feel like she was a great person to bring this back to life and shine some light on some characters who I was…”

Charisma Carpenter: “That deserve justice.”

Emma Caulfield Ford: “Who do deserve justice, and who were, I would say treated… And look, this isn’t, isn’t me speaking, this is only my point of view. I think it’s a common point of view that a couple of us got… our characters were treated like it was personal. I don’t know if you can understand what I’m saying. So to have it come back and then be given a new space to create was just beautiful.”

Slayers A Buffyverse Story
Charisma Carpenter recording Slayer: A Buffyverse Story (Audible)

Charisma Carpenter: “We’re constantly dancing between what we can talk about because it’s a struck project versus now, and our feelings around it mean we have to go backward, which is dicey. Are we allowed to, how much can we say?”

“So Amber called me. I was at the car dealership turning my car back in. It was in 2020. She said, ‘We have this idea to do [what was not called Slayers, that is now Slayers] and I want you to be the slayer. I want to see Cordelia slay.’ And I was like, ‘well, that’s tempting.’ But I had some questions. I had concerns I was vocal about. I mean, Do you know me? I’m pretty vocal. So we talked it through.”

“But I wanted her to know anything that you do I want to be a part of, because I trust your vision. I trust you as an artist. I trust that you are a people person, that any set or production that you are in charge of will be humane and correct, and full of integrity. So I appreciate that. And I want to say yes, but it’s a bit traumatizing, a bit to revisit this character and then what is the outcome? And I need to have more conversations. And she was like, ‘Okay.’ So we talked it through and I said, ‘I want to do it. Of course, I want to do it. This sounds amazing. Audible. Okay, I don’t know what that’s like or this is a new medium to me, but sure, let’s try it. Let’s have some fun.’ I had no idea that we were going to be embraced on such, on this level, this magnitude that we’d be in a press room like this over an Audible project. I just thought it would be just this relegated little thing off to the side. But Audible has shown up.”

Emma Caulfield Ford: “I knew it was going to be big.”

Charisma Carpenter: “You did?”

Emma Caulfield Ford: “Yeah.”

Charisma Carpenter: “Audible has shown up.”

Emma Caulfield Ford: “I don’t mean that, ‘I knew it.'”

Charisma Carpenter: “No, but I knew it’d be big for the fandom.”

Emma Caulfield Ford: “Because the fandom.”

Charisma Carpenter: “I knew it’d be big for the fandom, but did it, you can be a part of a project and not get the support of the studio.”

Emma Caulfield Ford: “Oh, for sure.”

Charisma Carpenter: “And so, not that they’re this studio, but they are in this kind of sense. I didn’t know that it would be pushed and marketed and get the support it deserved. And I’m happy that it turned out that way.”

Emma Caulfield Ford: “So happy.”

Interviewer: “Yeah. When you walk into the Jacob Javits [Center], the first thing you see.”

Charisma Carpenter: Slayers, yes.”

On returning to their characters, and seeing Marsters and Landau return to theirs

Interviewer: James [Marsters] was talking about how he and Juliet [Landau] were able to slip into their characters after such a long gap of time. How was that experience getting back into these characters, your characters?”

Emma Caulfield Ford: “Well, first of all, I was just going to say watching those two, the back into their characters was absolutely-”

Charisma Carpenter: “So fun.”

Emma Caulfield Ford: “Heaven. I had joined the show when that was done, really. I think. The timeline-”

Charisma Carpenter: “Third season.”

Emma Caulfield Ford: “Third season, I don’t think Drusilla was Drusilla-ing around in-”

Charisma Carpenter: “I don’t know.”

Emma Caulfield Ford: “I don’t know, a long time ago. But watching them.”

Charisma Carpenter: “Do their thing.”

Slayers A Buffyverse Story
Juliet Landau and James Marsters, Drusilla and Spike together again in Slayers: A Buffyverse Story (Audible)

Emma Caulfield Ford: “It was just so amazing and it was a little difficult slipping back into Anya. It was, I avoided her for a long time, for all kinds of personal reasons. We all kind of, again, no need to begrudge or dive back into that garbage, but also just literally finding her voice again, and then finding another voice and then another voice and doing them all. It took a minute, but once we got into it was effortless. It was just fun all the time.”

Charisma Carpenter: “I struggled a little bit because I didn’t know this iteration of Cordelia as a world-weary slayer. I didn’t know how to balance pithy, snarky, bossy with world-weary. Having that knowledge, that war-time, knowledge and the carnage of war hadn’t… I did in a way, I guess Cordelia did when she became a higher being, and when she got the vision, she knew what that was. But to be able to do that vocally and not rely on facial expressions or not rely on her outfit or heels or whatever, any of those things that I had used to affect a certain response or performance were not used now. So it was challenging, but I hope you heard it and it works. So this is me asking for validation. It was good.”

On working in audio versus acting on camera

Interviewer: “I wanted to know what were the perks of being an audio actress?”

Emma Caulfield Ford: “I’m sorry.”

Charisma Carpenter: “Go to work in your sweats? No hair and makeup.”

Emma Caulfield Ford: “Yeah, I said this a minute ago.”

Charisma Carpenter: “The work.”

Emma Caulfield Ford: “I could probably say it a little bit… I don’t know, poetically now. You can focus on the work. And it is really, it’s just refreshing and there’s a certain safety and not having it be about what you look like, ever. And for women especially, we are highly judged by our physical appearance and the, ‘shelf life.’ The, ‘do they still want to have sex with you?’ Are you still… All that stuff. You’re like, well, we’re so much more than that. So hopefully my voice turns you on. But it’s not going to be the face. It’s not going to be the body.”

Charisma Carpenter: “Sorry.”

Slayers A Buffyverse Story
Emma Caulfield Ford recording Slayers: A Buffyverse Story (Audible)

Interviewer: “Are you more of a perfectionist with the voice?”

Emma Caulfield Ford: “As you’re hearing it’s just like-”

Charisma Carpenter: “You can really hear your voice.”

Emma Caulfield Ford: “You really want to make you hear it.”

Charisma Carpenter: “I’m a bit neurotic in the sense of reliving and rethinking the performance of the day and like, oh, I could have done it that way. And then some days you hit it and you’re in the zone and it’s euphoria. And I think that that challenge as an actor is why I still do it and want to do it. And unfortunately, haven’t always been given the opportunity to keep working because of my age, because of speaking out, because of those other things. So to be able to engage with the job that gives me the most joy, I would never be happy just being a mom. I want to be an actor. I love acting. It’s my passion. So to be able to participate again, and even though I say we’re neurotic and it’s painful, that process is so amazing when it works and you’re constantly chasing that synergy and that moment when you’re working moment to moment or when you peers at the end of a take go, ‘Oh my God, that was amazing.’ And you’re like, you know that those people you can trust are saying, ‘that’s it. That was it. Oh my God, it blew me away.’ And you’re like-”

Emma Caulfield Ford: “Which you want them to tell you. You do. I do. I want to know.”

Charisma Carpenter: “Did that work?”

Emma Caulfield Ford: “That blew. That was horrible. Do it again.”

Charisma Carpenter: “You’re your worst critic. You say that about everything.”

Emma Caulfield Ford: “That’s true.”

Charisma Carpenter: “And it’s not true. But yes, I love it.”

Emma Caulfield Ford: “That’s valid.”

On the potential for a season 2 of Slayers

Ayla Ruby: “Would you want to do a season two? Yes?”

Emma Caulfield Ford: “100%. Are we or will we?”

Charisma Carpenter: “Do we want? We would, yeah! A hundred percent. If we could do two at once, back to back if we can. If we could do three seasons, every quarter, do a season? That’d be great. There’s no reason not.”

How to listen to Slayers: A Buffyverse Story

Slayers: A Buffyverse Story is now available on Audible ! Check it out and let us know what you think on social media @mycosmiccircus or in The Cosmic Circus Discord!

You can find our other interviews out of NYCC here and keep following for more!

Interview: James Marsters and James Leary Talk Slayers: A Buffyverse Story

NYCC Slayers Buffy interview

Interview with Juliet Landau & Laya DeLeon Hayes about Slayers: A Buffyverse Story

NYCC Slayers Buffy interview

Interview: Amber Benson & Christopher Golden Talk Slayers: A Buffyverse Story

NYCC Slayers Buffy interview

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Ayla Ruby

I am a writer and interviewer based somewhere in the Alpha Quadrant. I love all things nerdy - but Star Trek and Spiderman have special places in my heart. Find me at @TulinWrites on Twitter. And visit my other website for more reviews and interviews:

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