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“Find your inner bitch”: Charisma Carpenter shares how she got cast in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and scared her co-stars)

Buffy the Vampire's Charisma Carpenter shares the advice that put her on TV but frightened her co-stars.

Charisma Carpenter on Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Image credit: 20th Century Studios

Sometimes an actor gives a performance so good that it even fools their co-stars. This was the case for Charisma Carpenter, who played mean-girl-turned-hero Cordelia Chase on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. During a Buffy the Vampire Slayer reunion panel at Emerald City Comic Con 2023, Carpenter spoke about how her role as Cordelia frightened her fans and castmates.

According to Carpenter, it all began when she was cast in Malibu Shores. Carpenter played Ashle Green, another mean girl.

“I was doing Buffy and Malibu Shores at the same time. They took me in second position on Buffy. I remember when I was going into the Aaron Spelling audition for Ashley Green, he said a couple of things. He said you need to find the bitch within. He explained that Heather Locklear was a perfect example of a nice woman who found the bitch within,” Carpenter recalled.

Carpenter took Spelling’s advice and got the role of Ahsley Green. This led to her being cast as Cordelia Chase in Buffy. However, this had some drawbacks.

“I was cast as a bitch again. I guess I found the bitch within, but I don’t know that it was immediately a fan favorite experience. I remember never being bothered by anybody. I would travel to Las Vegas, and I would go out. You can sense when somebody recognizes you. There’s a crackle in the air, or too long of a glance, or they light up a little bit. They want to say something, but they don’t know what to say. I think they were afraid to say something to me because I was so mean.”

Apparently, this fear extended to one of Carpenter’s Buffy co-stars.

“We were afraid of you,” James Marsters confessed. “You were such a good actor, that was the problem. I thought you like Cordelia, which is why we never got to know each other. I just avoided you, because I was like, she’s got to be like her character.”

Marsters revealed that he didn’t begin to feel comfortable around Carpenter until they filmed an episode of Supernatural together. “I’m so sorry, I’ve been judging you for years. You’re a really nice person,” he recalled saying.

Carpenter's remarkable acting skills not only brought her characters to life but also challenged the perceptions of those around her, reminding us of the power of a truly remarkable performance.

Sink your teeth into the Buffyverse with Popverse's Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel watch order. Then, become a Watcher in your own right by learning the history of the Buffy franchise and pondering its future with Disney. It's enough to keep you up all night... provided you don't have slaying of your own to do.

About Emerald City Comic Con 2023



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Joshua Lapin-Bertone

Joshua Lapin-Bertone: Joshua is a pop culture writer specializing in comic book media. His work has appeared on the official DC Comics website, the DC Universe subscription service, HBO Max promotional videos, the Batman Universe fansite, and more. In between traveling around the country to cover various comic conventions, Joshua resides in Florida where he binges superhero television and reads obscure comics from yesteryear.


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