Interview: Buffy Fame, Indie Passion + More with Amber Benson!

Amber Benson is pretty well-known in the lesbian community. And the television fan girl community. And the indie film-buff community. You get the idea, right? In other words: She’s awesome. Playing the role of ‘Tara’ on the hit television show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer for three seasons, Amber quickly entered the radar of both viewers and critics alike. But what’s different about Amber, versus any other talented actress who made a part legitimately their own, is her level of passion and aptitude for her craft.

Enter Dust Up, a film by Ward Roberts. Amber’s latest role is Ella, a relatively normal homemaker who just so happens to be married to a moronic meth addict. Dust Up is a genre-smashing mixture of comedy, gore and over-the-top camp… Which doesn’t mean it’s good. Or bad. It’s a film made by people who love movies and like it or not, audiences will appreciate that. CG had a chance to catch up with Amber on the road.

CherryGRRL (CG): You’re an actor, writer, director and you’ve been singing since you were very young. Is there one title you feel most comfortable with?

Amber Benson (AB): Um, a person who wears pajamas really well. I think I feel most comfortable with that. [Laughs] Directing is my go-to on that question, because it combines everything that I do. I recognize that sometimes I have to sing for my supper, so there are other opportunities to do that.

Directing is great because you have to deal with people who are directly involved in so many ways. You’re doing rewrites with the writers, talking with the actors and putting on the show. But I do them all in this business; it’s the nature of the beast. Directing is the most use of all my talents put together.

CG: When you were playing Tara on BTVS, did you have a sense that you were a part of something prolific?

AB: I didn’t at first, but people tried to tell me. I think everyone tried to warn me. [Laughs] Until you’ve been there, you don’t understand. Halfway through that first year, I realized, ‘Oh my God, this isn’t just a passing thing. We are doing something kind of amazing.’ The show, in general, was amazing, but also something special was happening with those characters. It was important. It wasn’t just a TV show, it was a commentary.

CG: What attracts you to the characters you play; i.e. Flawed women (Maggie in Race You to the Bottom), mystical women (Tara), and women on a journey (Ella in Dust Up)? And speaking of mysticism, do you believe in paganism or anything like that?

AB: First off, Buffy is like a drug. They should just go ahead and put a warning label on that show. You watch it and you can’t help but be enveloped by it.

CG: Oh yeah, you became really committed to the characters as a viewer.

AB: Exactly. And as an actor, you’re thinking, ‘These people have real lives and real stories that I have to tell.’ As far as mysticism or paganism or anything like that, I hate to disappoint anyone but I don’t ascribe to it. I’m not a witch. But I also don’t discount it. I think there’s something to it. I do think ‘Wow, there has to be something more to all of this than us.’ And you know what? I would love magic to be real.

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