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NYCC Interview: Juliet Landau & Laya DeLeon Hayes Talk ‘Slayers: A Buffyverse Story’

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Set ten years after the Buffy the Vampire Slayer finale, Slayers: A Buffyverse Story returns to the world of chosen ones, slayers, vampires, and demons in a new ten-episode Audible audio original. Earlier this month, Slayers got the full New York City Comic con treatment, with exciting building banners, a packed panel, and a press room.  

Slayers: A Buffyverse Story comes to us from the imagination of Amber Benson and Christopher Golden. The audio drama is narrated by Spike (James Marsters) and features a cast of both familiar faces and newcomers, some of whom were at NYCC. We had the chance to sit down with Juliet Landau (Drusilla) & Laya DeLeon Hayes (Indira) in roundtable interviews to talk about their experiences on Slayers.

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

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

Interviewer: “Me and my friend John, were just talking. We were huge fans of movie, Ed Wood, and we love your line, ‘No water, no liquids.'”

Juliet Landau: “That’s so funny. What’s funny about that line? When I met Quentin Tarantino at a party, he came up to me, I was getting a drink, and he said, ‘No water, no liquids.’ I’m terribly, and I actually didn’t register. I thought, ‘Well, why are you saying that?’ And I was thinking, ‘That sounds familiar.’ And then he looked at me, he goes, ‘It’s your dialogue.’ I said, ‘Oh my God.’ Because he has a photographic memory. It was the way I met Quentin Tarantino, it was over that line.”

Interviewer: “That’s amazing. Wow.”

How Landau and DeLeon Hayes first got involved with Slayers

Interviewer: “Okay, so when did you find out about this project and how did you get involved with it?”

Laya DeLeon Hayes: “Sure. You want to start?”

Juliet Landau: “Sure. About probably almost, I’d say a year and a half ago, maybe two years ago, actually, Amber [Benson] and Chris [Golden] reached out to me and said that they were interested in doing it and would I be interested in coming to play? And I said, ‘Yeah, yeah, I’d love to come and play.’ So I think it was that far back. You’re probably-”

Laya DeLeon Hayes: “My gosh. It’s interesting for me to hear all these answers today as well. I found out earlier this year, only a couple of months ago, really, I think maybe a month before we started recording, I found out about the project. And it really came randomly as an email in my inbox. And I didn’t know too much about the Buffyverse, but I was looking at my email, I was like, ‘Of course, I want to be a part of it.’ And I was just grateful that Amber, Christopher, and Kc [Wayland] were so wonderful. Yeah, it’s been a lovely journey thus far.”

Slayers A Buffyverse Story
Recording Slayers: A Buffyverse Story (Audible)

Ayla Ruby: “Did you have to audition or what was that process like?”

Laya DeLeon Hayes: “Yeah, I was very lucky because Kc had found me via another project that I had done. So it was a straight offer, which was a dream. You wish and hope for those things as you’re on this ladder getting better as an actor. And so again, it was like maybe even if I didn’t know too much about the Buffyverse, it was just so exciting to get an opportunity like that. And also as an actor too, you always wonder who’s actually watching. And that’s the truth. You never know who’s looking at your stuff. You never know who knows your name, even that Quentin Tarantino story. So yeah, this was like an extension of that.”

Juliet Landau: “I met an actress yesterday who did a movie from 10 years ago and then got a job 10 years later from someone seeing that movie and it was one of those things where it just randomly came to be. So, yeah.”

Laya DeLeon Hayes: “It’s beautiful.”

On voice acting in the future

Interviewer: “You come from a voice acting background, you played the Little Sisters on BioShock, and I’m curious if you think this is the way with the strike and all that going, voice acting roles, that in between things.”

Juliet Landau: “Well, I have a huge theater background and obviously I’ve done a lot of film and television, a lot of voiceover. And yes, the Little Sisters is a really fun character, but it was terrific that we could work during the strike and when we need to support what’s going on because it needs to happen.”

Laya DeLeon Hayes: “I think it’s a very fine line, of course, what we’re able to do and also supporting our union as well. Grateful to Audible and this project specifically that we can talk about it and embrace it. But also at the same time, Juliet was saying, knowing also where we stand as actors and part of the SAG.”

Juliet Landau on bringing something new to Drusilla

Interviewer: “So Juliet, you created Drusilla. Did you find that there was something new that you could bring or something that you wanted to infuse into Drusilla in this new media just through voice now that you’re really just doing every voice?”

Juliet Landau: “That’s a great question. The character of Drusilla is so rife with contradictions, and she’s such a delicate character, but she’s diabolical. She’s childlike, but she’s sensual, she’s ethereal, but she’s very powerful and that’s one of the things that I’ve loved about playing the character is how much dimension and range there is in the role. I think in this particular material, it’s interesting because Drusilla is not an appendage. She’s not subservient to anyone, and she really drives a lot of the action, and Drusilla has such a huge heart, and so she is really full of love, even though she’s exceedingly damaged as well, obviously.”

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

On joining the Buffyverse community and fandom

Interviewer: “Your character plays such an integral role introducing this universe to a new generation. Did you feel that responsibility as you headed into this project? What has it been like for you to be embraced by this community and fandom?”

Laya DeLeon Hayes: “It’s meant everything to me. One, to be able to play a character like Indira, because she really is representing the fans. A lot of even her passion and fiery attitude is stemming from a place of just love for the entire world and the Buffyverse. So I am not sure if I felt pressure, but definitely there were nerves before starting, and I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again. Christopher, Amber, and Kc were so welcoming from the beginning, and it was just the cherry on top to be able to witness how incredibly talented this cast is, but also that they were so open from the very beginning.”

Interviewer: “You’re fantastic.”

Laya DeLeon Hayes: “Thank you.”

On getting into character for voice acting

Interviewer: “How long does it take you to get into character for a voice-over? Like you said, your character is so many different ways. How do you warm up to the scene? Do you do it at home?”

Juliet Landau: “For me, I don’t think so differently with voice acting, theater, film. Obviously, each medium is different and has its craft and its technique, and obviously, if its movies and it’s a closeup is different than being on stage. But really the work that goes into it for me is very similar, and it’s really about making a well-rounded character and grounding that character. So even though I’m playing a vampire, to me it’s all the human elements that I’m interested in and that hopefully make her a relatable character and a character that you’re pulling for, even though she’s the villain, and that is likable, even though she’s doing some really nefarious things. So I think for me it’s always about being as prepped as possible so that then I can be free and spontaneous in the moment.”

How to listen to Slayers: A Buffyverse Story

Slayers: A Buffyverse Story is now available on Audible ! If you want to catch up with some of your favorite Buffyverse characters, give it a listen. Let us know what you think on social media @mycosmiccircus or in The Cosmic Circus Discord! 

Check out our other interviews out of NYCC here and keep following for more coming soon!

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

NYCC Slayers Buffy interview

Interview: Charisma Carpenter & Emma Caulfield Ford Talk 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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