Slayer Lit

Slayer Lit Interview

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JULIET LANDAU
Conducted by Shiai Mata, June 2009

JULIET LANDAU JULIET LANDAU JULIET LANDAU

"It was always about expressing something"

Juliet Landau is not one to sit idly by. It's not just that she seems to always be working...it's that she's often working on multiple projects at once! And it's no exaggeration to say that she's just about done it all: actress, director, screenwriter, dancer, singer and now, comic book writer!

She's also, of course, genuine Hollywood royalty, being the daughter of three-time Emmy winner Barbara Bain, and Academy Award winner Martin Landau. But one look at her resume (or even the partial list of career credits she shares in this interview) makes it plain she's not about to ever take the easy way and try and coast on her parents' reps and connections.

With the impending release of the Drusilla two-parter she has co-authored with Brian Lynch for issues 24 and 25 of IDW's ANGEL series, fans can once more enjoy the bloody antics of their favorite non compos mentis vampire, as crafted by the woman who so memorably portrayed her...and it's SlayerLit's pleasure to get to speak with Juliet about this and other things, so enjoy!

SLAYERLIT: Hello Juliet, and welcome to SlayerLit! Obviously, the big news lately is that you are collaborating with Brian Lynch on a new two-part Drusilla comic book story for IDW. Just how did this come about?

JULIET LANDAU: Chris Ryall [IDW's Editor-in-Chief] and Brian Lynch approached me with the idea and I was thrilled!

SL: I suppose this isn't the first time an actor would like to have a direct hand in the writing of their character, but it's certainly unique when they have an opportunity such as this. What specifically led you to say to yourself, 'I want to write Dru, and I'm going to do it'?

JL: After the initial conversation with Chris and Brian, I was flooded with ideas. I tapped back into Dru with fluidity and ease. I guess that comes from having inhabited the character for such a long time, over the course of six seasons. It was exciting and it was fun!

SL: And is writing something you've enjoyed doing before, or will this be a new experience for you?

JL: I have written the short film, IT'S RAINING CATS AND CATS. I have been raising money the way that Amber [Benson] did, to make her two features, by selling autographed merchandise in the store of my official website: julietlandau.com

I am going to co-direct and play seven different characters. In a certain way, my directorial debut, the documentary, TAKE FLIGHT about Gary Oldman, was a lot like writing; crafting the story and making an arc out of documentary footage. The website for the documentary by the way is: julietlandaustakeflight.com

It has already had over four hundred and fifty thousand hits!

SL: Speaking of Amber Benson, as well as James Marsters , they are two other Whedonverse actors who've written their characters for comics. Have you asked either of them for pointers?

JL: I didn't ask for pointers, per se, but Amber and I went to dinner recently, and I know that she had a lot of fun doing it [the Willow & Tara stories for Dark Horse] as well.

SL: Obviously, you've read Brian's work. What do you think about how Angel's story has been developed in the comic series?

JL: Brian is incredibly talented! I loved working with him! One thing that is really cool is that there are no budgetary limits to what can be done with a storyline. When shooting an episode, those constraints restrict the storytelling. But with comics, it is free reign.

SL: And have you been reading Joss Whedon's Buffy Season 8 comic from Dark Horse?

JL: Yes! Georges Jeanty is also a good friend!

SL: I think the logical follow-up to that is to ask if you're a comic book reader in general, and if so, what do you like to read?

JL: Angel and Buffy are the only ones that I have read. And I just read a four issue graphic novel that a friend wrote. He directed me in a short film called REPOSSESSED, that I am in with JoBeth Williams. He is a storyboard artist and is currently working on THE GREEN HORNET at Sony, so he drew it as well as writing the story. It is cool!

SL: Were you satisfied with how Drusilla's story evolved on BtVS and ANGEL over the years? Would you have liked to have seen her take any different directions?

JL: I love what I got to do as Dru! The writing was fantastic! I think there are avenues that never got explored before the series ended. Dru was such a rich character. I would have liked Darla and Dru to have continued on their rampage that started in the "Reunion" episode of ANGEL. I had a blast with that episode, and so did Julie [Benz].

SL: As the daughter of two such accomplished actors, did you grow up wanting to pursue performing as well, or was there a period when the last thing you wanted to do was to follow in their footsteps?

JL: I was a dancer. I was always a performer. I realized later that, to some degree, I approached dancing from an acting standpoint. Although I was incredibly technically proficient, it was always about expressing something. My dance background is invaluable in creating the physicality of a character.

SL: And in a way, you're following in your father's footsteps again. I don't think a lot of people know that before he became an actor, he was a newspaper comic artist.

JL: He was a cartoonist for the New York Daily News.

SL: What was your audition for the part of Drusilla like? Was the concept of Dru fully formed from the start, or did she evolve between the audition and her first appearance?

JL: I never auditioned. Joss had seen my work in ED WOOD and a number of other films. I went in for a meeting. It was with Joss, David Greenwalt, Gail Berman and Marcia Shulman. It was an incredibly creative meeting. I had read some pages and did a bit of Dru as we were talking and bouncing ideas off of each other. The script had said, "actress could be British or American." I said, "She needs to be English!" as the whole analogy for Spike and Dru was ‘the Sid and Nancy of the vampire set.' Joss said, "Yes, I agree...if we can find the actor to do it."

It was a really fun meeting. I was just back in the car when my agents called and said they wanted me to do it. They then asked if I would come in and work with the final choices for Spike. When James came in, it was evident that we had an immediate acting chemistry.

Joss said he had Spike and Dru running around in his head for ten years prior. Working with him is amazing!

SL: What is it about Drusilla that you suppose strikes such a chord with so many fans, and makes her so popular? Viewers could not seem to get enough of her.

JL: Hard for me to say, but I think that she has an incredible freedom and sensuality. She is multi-dimensional. She is a villain, but also had this enduring sweet love affair. She moves to the beat of her own drum. She's survived horrors. She is childlike but also completely diabolical. She can't be reigned in.

SL: After the story with Lynch, is comic book writing something you think you'd like to try your hand at again?

JL: Sure. I truly enjoyed the process.

SL: And can you tell us, what other projects have you been doing lately?

JL: After TAKE FLIGHT, my second directorial effort was the HERO music video for the band Godhead. I co-directed and appear in it with lead singer, Jason Miller. We shot it on the Red camera in black and white like a 1930's silent movie. The website for the video is: http://godheadhero.com

I have been doing a lot of voiceover work. I am currently collaborating with the Bioshock crew again for BIOSHOCK 2. I am in GREEN LANTERN: FIRST FLIGHT, which will be out in July. I have been back on BEN 10:ALIEN FORCE as well as doing the BEN 10 video game, and the STAR WARS: THE OLD REPUBLIC game.

I am shooting a live action kid's movie in July called MONSTER MUTT. It is really cute! I will be playing the slinky, Russian baddie, Nataliya Chernov.

I will also be working on two different music projects, recording songs with Jason Miller (I sang with him recently at his concert) and Jude Rawlins of the Subterraneans, who wrote a beautiful song for me! I am very excited!

I will at San Diego's Comic-Con International for the first time. I am on panels for both GREEN LANTERN and the ANGEL comic. I will be signing comics at the IDW booth on Friday the 24th of July from 1:00 until 3:00 PM, and on Saturday the 25th from 11:00 AM until 1:00 PM. So, I hope a lot of people come by!

I am also in preproduction on IT'S RAINING CATS AND CATS. We have had amazing people sign on, so it is a matter of coordinating all of our schedules. (No small feat!)

In a couple of months people can check julietlandaustakeflight.com and JulietLandau.com to find out where my Gary O. doc, TAKE FLIGHT, is available and for updates on IT'S RAINING CATS AND CATS. And of course I will be updating on Twitter at twitter.com/julietlandau as well!

SL: Juliet, I think it's safe to say you're a very busy woman these days...thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us.

JL: Its been a pleasure!

JulietLandau.com

IDWpublishing.com