‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ actress Kristy Swanson on working with ‘90210’ star Luke Perry: ‘I think of him’

on Feb13
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It’s been nearly 30 years since Kristy Swanson slayed a vampire – but these days, she’s happily finding her footing on a ranch.

The actress stars in Pure Flix’s streaming series “Sons of Thunder: Redemption.” It tells the tale of a former biker gang member (Rocky Myers) who decides to seek forgiveness from his ex-fiancee at her California horse ranch that is about to close down. The ranch owner (Swanson) decides to host a fundraising rodeo, but trouble isn’t far behind. The show also stars Lorenzo Lamas of “Falcon Crest” and “Renegade” fame.

Kristy Swanson attends the 2017 Monster Mania Con on March 10, 2017, in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Kristy Swanson attends the 2017 Monster Mania Con on March 10, 2017, in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
(Photo by Bobby Bank/Getty Images)

It was 1992 when Swanson played the titular role in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” The comedy-horror also featured “90210” star Luke Perry, along with Donald Sutherland, Paul Reubens and Hilary Swank, among others. While the film initially bombed at the box office, it was later resurrected for a TV series that starred Sarah Michelle Gellar from 1997 until 2003.

Swanson, 52, spoke to Fox News Digital about what it was like working with Perry, who died in 2019 at age 52, as well as what it was like bonding with her newest castmates.

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Fox News Digital: Many fans remember you from “Buffy The Vampire Slayer.” What was that audition like?
Kristy Swanson: That was a trip. Luke [Perry] was attached to it. He had a three-picture deal with 20th Century Fox and he wanted to make “8 Seconds,” the Lane Frost story. That was one of his projects. And then they told him, “We also have this other script for you, ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’ Just read it. You’re gonna love it.”

He read it and goes, “Oh my gosh, I know exactly who should play Buffy.” He went to the studio, got the director and producers together, and was like, “Kristy Swanson is Buffy. You have to meet her.” Then he calls me and is like, “You’re gonna love this project. And I’m totally pushing you for it because you will kill this role. You have to do it. You will do so good in this.”

I was just like, “Sure, whatever, I’ll read it.” I did – and I thought it was pretty funny! But of course, they had to audition everyone. I auditioned like seven times for the role. And then I had to be there for the readings so they could see if the group of friends [in the film] went together and had the right look in terms of age and everything. So I kept going to the studio and meeting those guys. Eventually, I got it and it turned out to be a really fun experience. And it’s funny, it didn’t do so great at the box office, but it has become a cult classic. It’s lasted a long time for some reason. But it was a really fun time for me.

Luke Perry at the premiere of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

Luke Perry at the premiere of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
(Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Fox News Digital: What’s one memory of Luke Perry that makes you smile whenever you think about it?
Swanson: Every time I hear the song “Fly Me to the Moon.” That’s the song that he and I danced to at the end of the movie. At the time, we didn’t have the soundtrack yet. So when we were filming, we had to just pick a song to dance to at the prom scene. We were like, “Fly Me to the Moon.” And they ended up choosing that song. But every time I hear that song, I see Luke’s face. I think of him.

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Fox News: Were you ever offered to appear in the “Buffy” series or did you choose not to do it?
Swanson: I was not offered [the series], and I was not surprised. I was 22 when I did the movie, and I was already playing someone in high school. So it wouldn’t have made sense for me to do the role at that point. There were no hard feelings. It never even went through my brain, like, “Why didn’t they call me?” It was seven years later, so I was almost 30. And they didn’t ask anyone from the movie to be in the series.

It was obvious that the series was meant to be a whole new, fresh thing. And I was actually super excited when they announced it because I remember growing up with shows like “Wonder Woman” and “The Bionic Woman.” So I knew how significant it was to have a strong female character to look up to. And I thought, “This is going to be really great, young girls will now have Buffy to watch on TV every week. Hopefully, it lasts.” It’s a great character to look up to. That’s just the way I saw it.

Sarah Michelle Gellar in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" the TV series.

Sarah Michelle Gellar in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” the TV series.
(Getty Images)

Fox News Digital: You were also in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” What’s your favorite memory from that time on set?
Swanson: Oh gosh, just working with John Hughes. He’s a legend, but he was also the nicest, sweetest, coolest guy you could have ever met. There was just something about our chemistry. We just jived really well, even though I was like 15 years old. I always had questions and a lot of opinions. He just thought it was pretty hilarious. So we talked a lot on set. I think that’s part of why he hired me because we got along and he felt he could direct me easily on set.

I remember he called me and said, “I got some good news and bad news. The role that I hired you for needs to be shot in Chicago because of logistics. But the good news is I wrote you a new role, and I’m going to get it over to your agent so you can read it.” So I read what looked like this monster of a dialogue that I had to learn. It was a tongue twister. I just thought, “How am I even going to memorize this? How am I going to do this?” But he believed in me.

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I shot it at Paramount Studios. They were on their last days of filming that movie. We were all in the classroom. John Hughes is sitting there with this old-school typewriter. He was actually writing “Some Kind of Wonderful” while we were filming “Ferris Bueller.” He then goes, “Hey, what are you doing this weekend?” I said, “I don’t know, nothing.” And he goes, “Well, I wrote this movie called ‘Pretty in Pink.’ I didn’t direct it, Howard Deutch did. But we have to reshoot the end of the film. Jon Cryer is playing this character called Duckie. And I want to write a scene for you guys.” I said, “OK, I’ll do it, it sounds like fun.” And that’s how I got that job.

Director John Hughes and actor Matthew Broderick on Nov. 16, 1985, at Spago Restaurant in West Hollywood, California.

Director John Hughes and actor Matthew Broderick on Nov. 16, 1985, at Spago Restaurant in West Hollywood, California.
(Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

It’s funny, I’m sitting in my office right now, and there’s a “Ferris Bueller” poster on the wall. It’s a great film, really one of the best. And John was just so wonderful to work with.

Fox News Digital: “Sons of Thunder: Redemption” has a lot of familiar faces. What was your relationship like with the cast?
Swanson: Phenomenal. It couldn’t have been better. I genuinely loved everyone that I worked with, both the cast and crew. Everybody was fantastic. You know, working under COVID rules with wearing masks, getting tested and all that – it can make it difficult to meet other people and get to really know one another. But we all got along really well. The cast was really special and loving. They were great communicators, and we were just excited to work together on this ranch. It was really a special experience, and I think it shows on screen.

Fox News Digital: Pure Flix is known for offering Christian, family-friendly programming. What do you think is missing from today’s mainstream TV shows and films? Or, what would you like to see more of?
Swanson: I think there could be more of a balance, you know? I mean, look, I’m 52. I grew up watching family-friendly shows like “Little House on the Prairie” and “The Waltons.” But I also watched “All in the Family.” And even then, the message was clear on the show, which was how not to behave. There was more of a balance, and the message was always clear. Things have definitely changed over time.

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Kristy Swanson stars in Pure Flix's "Sons of Thunder: Redemption."

Kristy Swanson stars in Pure Flix’s “Sons of Thunder: Redemption.”
(Pure Flix)

I’m really glad we have a streaming service like Pure Flix where it offers more family-friendly programming. And look, I’m an actor and I make movies, but I don’t like horror or scary stuff. I’m not really into that. If my son and husband are watching that, I’ll go do laundry or something *laughs*. I know it’s all art and as someone watching, you can pick and choose what you want to watch. But I also appreciate the fact that there are options out there.

Fox News Digital: You’ve done several projects with Pure Flix. What do you look for when it comes to choosing the right role for you?
Swanson: If I’m reading a script, I want to know if I can see myself in it. It’s almost like house hunting. Can I see myself living in that particular home? Does it feel right to me? I have to feel comfortable enough that I can deliver the right performance. I’ve read some scripts where I really felt like I couldn’t do whatever it was that they were asking for. And there are definitely certain roles that I auditioned for that I didn’t get. That happens, no hard feelings. At least I went for it and tried. Whether it’s faith-based, family-friendly or anything else, I want to feel good about the job that I do on set.

Actress Kristy Swanson visits Hallmark's "Home & Family" at Universal Studios Hollywood on Jan. 24, 2018, in Universal City, California. 

Actress Kristy Swanson visits Hallmark’s “Home & Family” at Universal Studios Hollywood on Jan. 24, 2018, in Universal City, California. 
(David Livingston/Getty Images)

Fox News Digital: What do you hope audiences will get from the series?
Swanson: I just hope people have a good time. It’s one of those shows where the family can gather around, have some pizza and watch it together. And it’s got a really good cast. It’s truly a fun ride, but it’s also very real and honest. There’s definitely more to come, and I can’t wait for it.



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