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14 Future Stars Who Appeared on Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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Buffy Wikia/Getty Images

In its seven season run, the sci-fi/fantasy series Buffy the Vampire Slayer was responsible for launching the careers of a number of its stars, including Alyson Hannigan, Nicholas Brendan, Charisma Carpenter, David Boreanaz, and Julie Benz, among others. A number of future famous faces stopped by the Hellmouth, too.

1. Carmine Giovinazzo // Season 1, Episode 1

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You might recognize him as the first-ever person killed on Buffy—in the pilot’s cold-open, by "damsel in distress"-turned-vampire Darla. You might also recognize Carmine Giovinazzo from his role on CSI: New York; he played Danny Messer.

2. Clea Duvall // Season 1, Episode 11

In "Out of Mind, Out of Sight," Clea Duvall played Marcie Ross, a student who feels so invisible she actually becomes invisible—and also goes crazy, setting her sights on popular girl Cordelia Chase. She later reunited with Buffy star Sarah Michelle Gellar in The Grudge, appeared in the Oscar winning film Argo, starred in the second season of American Horror Story, and appeared in Lifetime's The Lizzie Borden Chronicles, The Newsroom, and Better Call Saul..

3. Eion Bailey // Season 1, Episode 6

In his first on-screen role, Eion Bailey played Kyle DuFours, a Sunnydale High student, who—along with four other students, including Xander—is possessed by the spirit of demonic hyenas. In one memorable scene of "The Pack," the group—minus Xander—kills and eats Sunnydale High Principal Bob Flutie. Bailey later appeared in six episodes of HBO’s Band of Brothers, had a 10-episode arc on ER, and starred as August Booth on the hit ABC series Once Upon a Time. And, oh yeah, he won a Daytime Emmy.

4. Jordana Spiro // Season 2, Episode 5

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In “Reptile Boy,” Jordana Spiro played Callie Anderson, a student at Kent Preparatory School, who was offered up as a sacrifice to a demon by a fraternity alongside Buffy and Cordelia. Spiro, who had just three screen credits to her name before she appeared on Buffy, went on to star in the TBS series My Boys and had an arc on CBS' The Good Wife.

5. Laura Silverman // Season 2, Episode 5

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Comedian Sarah Silverman’s sister Laura had her first on-screen role in “What’s My Line? Part 1,” playing Vampire #2 (she was uncredited). She went on to play Jan in Half-Baked and appear in the TV series Nurse Jackie and The Comeback. These days, she voices Andy, one of Jimmy Pesto’s twins, in Bob’s Burgers. (Sarah plays the other twin, Ollie.)

6. Wentworth Miller // Season 2, Episode 20

Wentworth Miller played Gage Petronzi, a member of the Sunnydale High Swim Team who becomes a Gill Monster, in the episode “Go Fish.” It was his first on-screen role. Later, he appeared in a pair of Mariah Carey music videos, starred in the TV series Prison Break and The Flash, and appeared in films, including Underworld and Resident Evil: Afterlife.

7. Shane West // Season 2, Episode 20

Shane West had a number of bit parts on other shows, including Boy Meets World and California Dreams, before he booked the role of Sean Dwyer in “Go Fish." Look for him in the scene where the swim team is in the sauna: He's the one who tells Xander that the steroids the swim team is taking—which the coach has laced with fish DNA to improve the swimmers’ performance (and is unknowingly turning them into sea monsters)—are in the steam. After Buffy, West starred in A Walk to Remember and on the TV series ER, Nikita, and Salem.

8. Pedro Pascal // Season 4, Episode 1

Before he was getting his skull crushed as Oberyn Martell in Game of Thrones, Pedro Pascal was Pedro Balmaceda, and he played Eddie, a potential friend for Buffy, in “The Freshman.” In a Reddit AMA, Pascal explained that his character was “kind of [Buffy’s] first friend in college, or she finally meets a nice person that's in the same boat as her. And unfortunately I am turned into a vampire by the head campus vampire, and Buffy is forced to kill her first college friend. Or her first new college friend.” It was one of his first jobs out of college, which Pascal said “made my sister and friends very very proud.” Pascal has also appeared in The Adjustment Bureau, on The Mentalist, and this August, on Netflix's Narcos.

9. Kal Penn // Season 4, Episode 5

Harold & Kumar star Kal Penn’s third screen credit was a role as a stereotypical college guy—i.e., one who loves beer—in “Beer Bad." He played Hunt, a UC Sunnydale student who would go with his friends to a local pub to drink pitchers. One night, they entice Buffy to join them, and when they drink the Black Frost beer—which the pub's bitter owner, who is sick of being mocked by students, has put a spell on with the help of his warlock brother-in-law—they temporarily revert back to cavemen (and a kinda-cavelady, though Gellar doesn't get the full-on Neanderthal makeup), wreaking general havoc and setting the pub on fire.

Not content with having just one role in the Buffyverse, Penn also appeared on the Buffy spin-off Angel; he played “Brain Man” in “That Vision Thing,” the second episode of the third season. Penn also worked with Buffy actress Alyson Hannigan again on an episode of How I Met Your Mother. Most recently, he appeared on CBS' Battle Creek as Fontanelle White. 

10. Amy Adams // Season 5, Episode 6

Amy Adams had appeared in the movie Drop Dead Gorgeous and had a number of guest-starring roles on other TV shows when she guest-starred in the Buffy episode “Family,” but was by no means a household name. Adams played Beth, a cousin of Willow’s girlfriend (and fellow witch) Tara, who comes to Sunnydale with Tara’s father and older brother Donny. They all seem pretty OK at first, but it turns out they're not so nice at all: They're there to bring Tara home, claiming that on Tara's 20th birthday, she’ll suddenly become evil thanks to some demonic heritage. (Spoiler alert: Tara's not a demon.) Memorable Adams line: "I hope you'll all be happy hanging out with a disgusting demon!"

11. Amber Tamblyn // Season 6, Episode 6

No doubt soap fans knew who Amber Tamblyn was when she played Dawn Summers' best friend Janice in the season six episode "All the Way"—she had played Emily Bowen/Quartermaine on General Hospital for six years. But Tamblyn wouldn't become really famous until she starred in the hit adaptation of YA novel, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. The actress also appeared with Gellar in The Grudge 2, and had arcs on House MD and Two and a Half Men. 

12. Zach Woodlee // Season 6, Episode 7

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Post-Buffy, Woodlee made a name for himself as a choreographer on, and producer of, the Fox series Glee. But back in the day, he did some acting and dancing on camera. One of his first roles was “Demon/Henchman” in the musical episode “Once More, With Feeling.”

13. Rachel Bilson // Season 7, Episode 18

In just her second on-screen role—her first was “Gum Chewing Girl” on an episode of 8 Simple Rules—Rachel Bilson played Colleen, a potential Slayer, in the episode “Dirty Girls.” Xander has a very saucy dream featuring Colleen and Caridad, another potential Slayer. Bilson got her big break playing popular girl Summer Roberts in the Fox series The O.C. that same year.

14. Felicia Day // Season 7, Episodes 11, 12, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22

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Now known for creating, writing, and starring in The Guild and playing Penny in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, Felicia Day had just eight screen credits to her name when she played Vi, a potential Slayer, in eight episodes of the seventh (and final) season of Buffy.

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15 Festive Facts About Jingle All the Way
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

In all of Arnold Schwarzenegger's film oeuvre, Jingle All the Way might just be the one that most exhibits the ugliness of humanity. Set on a fevered Christmas Eve brimming with desperate last-minute shoppers, Schwarzenegger's Howard Langston and Sinbad's postal worker character Myron Larabee find themselves battling one another to make themselves look good to their sons by getting their hands on the elusive Turbo Man action figure. The comedic genius Phil Hartman; Rita Wilson; future young Anakin Skywalker, Jake Lloyd; Laraine Newman; Harvey Korman; Martin Mull; Curtis Armstrong; and Chris Parnell were the other willing participants in this cult comedy, directed by Brian Levant. Here are some things you might not have known about the contemporary holiday classic.

1. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER WAS ABLE TO PLAY THE LEAD BECAUSE OF A DELAY ON A PLANET OF THE APES REMAKE.

Arnold Schwarzenegger signed up to star in the Apes remake in March of 1994, but 20th Century Fox rejected multiple scripts for the movie, including one co-written by Chris Columbus (Gremlins, The Goonies). Columbus left the project in late 1995, and Schwarzenegger followed him soon after, freeing him to sign up for Jingle All the Way, produced by Columbus, in February 1996. Fox's Planet of the Apes reboot found its way into theaters in 2001, starring Mark Wahlberg and directed by Tim Burton.

2. SINBAD THOUGHT HE SCREWED UP THE AUDITION.

Sinbad in 'Jingle All the Way' (1996)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Filming was delayed so that Sinbad could follow through on his commitment to travel to Bosnia with Hillary Clinton. Even though Columbus agreed to wait for him, the comedian still thought he "messed up" his audition and told his manager-brother he was going to quit show business.

3. OFFICER HUMMELL WAS INITIALLY WRITTEN AS A WOMAN.

Though the role of Officer Hummell was written for a woman, the part went to Robert Conrad. Conrad's explanation was that the producers "wanted someone who could pull up next to Arnold and tell him to pull over and he pulls over."

4. IT WAS CHRIS PARNELL'S FIRST MOVIE.

The future SNL star played the toy store clerk. "Well, it was my first movie role, and I didn't know how they typically shot scenes," Parnell admitted in a Reddit AMA. "So I had to laugh a lot, and I sort of spent all of my laughing energy in the wider takes, so by the time we got to the close-up shots, it was a real struggle to keep that going."

5. MARTIN MULL STAYED ON SET FOR OVER TWO WEEKS LONGER THAN HE WAS SUPPOSED TO.

Mull (KQRS D.J. a.k.a. Mr. Ponytail Man) was told it would just be a one- to two-day shoot for him. Unfortunately, his part had to be shot on a rainy day, and it didn't rain in Minneapolis for two and a half weeks.

6. PHIL HARTMAN MADE UP A BACKSTORY FOR HIS CHARACTER.


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Hartman (Ted Maltin) was probably joking for the film's official production notes, but you never know. "Ted is a guy who sued his employer for headaches caused by toner fumes and now hangs around the neighborhood and helps all the housewives," Hartman said. He also offered a take on how he was kind of being pigeonholed in Hollywood when he added, "Ted's another weasel to add my list of weasels."

7. HARTMAN ENTERTAINED HIS BORED YOUNG CO-STARS.

To keep young E.J. De la Pena (Johnny Maltin) and Jake Lloyd (Jamie Langston) from getting bored shooting a car scene all day, Hartman improvised songs designed to bring kids to hysterics. One tune contained the lyrics “You make my butt shine, the more you kiss it, the more it shines! The clock is ticking, so keep on licking, oh how you make my buttocks shine!”

"When you’re an 8 year old hearing that kind of potty humor, it was hilarious!" De la Pena remembered. "And we had a lot of fun."

8. JAMES BELUSHI HAD EXPERIENCE PLAYING SANTA BEFORE.

Belushi sort of trained to portray the Mall of America Santa in the movie by playing Kris Kringle for four years in "about 20" different homes, according to his estimation.

9. SHOOTING BEGAN IN MID-APRIL.

The Minneapolis/St.Paul areas were chosen because the producers figured they had the longest winter. But they also filmed in Los Angeles' Universal Studios for the big parade over a three week span, where it was typical hot California weather on the verge of summer. Sinbad remembered it was 100 degrees on the days when he wore the Dementor costume, and the water in his helmet had started to boil.

10. THE REAL TURBO MAN DIDN'T SWEAT.

Daniel Riordan's Turbo Man suit ensured he wouldn't have trouble with the scorching heat. He was wearing a vest underneath used by race car drivers. "They're very thin membrane vests that are filled with small, plastic tubing that's tightly coiled, back and forth, and they run cold water through it," Riordan explained. "So when they run it, it's like this cold water right up against your body and it was amazing. The sensation was fantastic."

11. TURBO MAN FIGURES WERE SOLD AT WAL-MART.

200,000 were originally produced and sold at 2,300 Wal-Mart shops for $25. They would have made more but, as Fox’s president of licensing and merchandising explained to Entertainment Weekly, there were only six and a half months to produce and promote Turbo Man toys, and it usually takes "well over a year."

12. THEY ALMOST SOLD DEMENTOR DOLLS TOO.

Sinbad recalled that the studio didn't sell Dementor action figures even though they tested high during research. "I had a prototype of the doll but they said 'give it back, we'll get you the real one when it comes out,'" Sinbad said." ...And dude, it NEVER came out!" Sinbad told Redditers his theory: "I think that they didn't want the competition between Turbo Man and my doll."

13. SOME PARENTS HAD ALCOHOL-RELATED COMPLAINTS AFTER TEST SCREENINGS.


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Schwarzenegger and Sinbad talking at a bar over some alcohol, and the fact that reindeer also imbibed in beer, were among some of the problems mothers and other early viewers took issue with.

14. THE FILMMAKERS WERE SUED FOR PLAGIARISM, AND LOST.

Randy Kornfield penned the official script, but high school teacher Brian Alan Webster alleged his Could This Be Christmas? script was very similar. The publishing firm that had the rights to Webster's script won a $19 million lawsuit from 20th Century Fox, but the ruling was overturned in 2004. Webster's screenplay was about “the quest of a Caucasian mother attempting to obtain a hard-to-get action figure toy as a Christmas gift for her son. In the course of this pursuit, she competes with an African-American woman, similarly seeking to give the action figure doll as a Christmas gift.”

15. THERE WAS A SEQUEL STARRING LARRY THE CABLE GUY.

None of the original cast members nor characters returned in the straight-to-DVD Jingle All the Way 2 (2014). It was produced by 20th Century Fox and WWE Studios and featured wrestler Santino Marella. Sinbad expressed incredulity when a Redditer inquired if he was asked to return for it. "What they are doing a new version without me! Ain't gonna work!"

Additional Sources:

Schaefer, Stephen: "Sinbad leaps at the chance to go postal in Jingle All the Way," December 6, 1996; Des Moines Register

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10 Rich Facts About Wall Street
Twentieth Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox

It’s often said that the love of money is the root of all evil. Wall Street could have easily turned this sentiment into a tagline. A gripping financial thriller, the Oliver Stone classic is a cautionary tale whose message is every bit as relevant today as it was when it was released 30 years ago today.

1. OLIVER STONE WOULD DELIBERATELY TICK OFF MICHAEL DOUGLAS BETWEEN TAKES.

“As a director, he really tests you,” Douglas said of Stone. Around two weeks after shooting had started, Stone showed up at the actor’s trailer and asked “Are you on drugs? Because you look like you’ve never acted before in your life.” Mortified, Douglas took a look at some footage they’d already shot. Yet, after diligently reviewing it, he could find nothing wrong with his performance. “I came back to Oliver and said … ‘I think it’s okay,” Douglas remembers. “Yeah, it is, isn’t it?” Stone replied.

Eventually, Douglas wised up to his boss’s overly critical act. “Basically, what he wanted was to ratchet up that much more nastiness in Gordon Gekko,” Douglas explained. “And he was willing … for me to hate him for the rest of that movie just to bring it up a little more.” 

2. WALL STREET WON BOTH AN OSCAR AND A RAZZIE.


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Douglas’s cold portrayal of the unscrupulous Gekko netted him an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1988. On the other hand, critics were thoroughly unimpressed by leading lady Daryl Hannah, who took home a Worst Supporting Actress Razzie.

3. GORDON GEKKO’S FAMOUS PHONE WEIGHED TWO POUNDS.

In one pivotal scene, Gekko rings Bud with a state-of-the-art mobile communication device. Specifically, it’s a Motorola DynaTac 8000X. Released in 1983, this brick-shaped cell phone was 13 inches long, weighed two pounds, and cost the equivalent of $8,806 in modern dollars. During the 2010 sequel Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, the anachronistic gadget returned for a quick sight gag.

4. CHARLIE SHEEN CHOSE TO HAVE HIS REAL FATHER PORTRAY HIS FICTIONAL ONE.

“It was interesting having my dad play my dad,” Sheen said on the DVD's “making of” documentary. Wall Street’s most dramatic arc revolves around Bud and Carl Fox, who were played by Charlie and Martin Sheen, respectively. Stone had built a strong working relationship with the former on the set of 1986’s Platoon. So when the time came to cast Carl, he had the younger Sheen make the call, asking “Do you want Jack Lemmon or do you want your father?” “Oh, Jack Lemmon’s a genius,” the actor said, “but my dad’s my dad and he’s kind of a genius, too.”

5. SCREENWRITER STANLEY WEISER COULDN'T FIND INSPIRATION IN EITHER CRIME AND PUNISHMENT OR THE GREAT GATSBY.

Before the writer could get started, Stone gave him a little homework. Originally, the film was conceived as “Crime and Punishment on Wall Street.” When Weiser was brought aboard one fateful Friday, Stone told him to read Dostoyevsky’s novel over the weekend. “Not having taken an Evelyn Wood Speed Reading class, I went to UCLA and purchased the Cliffs Notes,” Weiser wrote in 2008.

But the literary exercise proved futile. “On Monday, I explained to Oliver that the paradigm for that masterwork would not mesh well with the story we wanted to tell.” In a flash, Stone hit him with another assignment. “Okay,” he ordered, “read The Great Gatsby tonight, and see if we can mine something out of it.” This time, Weiser simply rented the 1974 movie adaptation. Once again, though, inspiration eluded him.

Wall Street as we know it didn’t really start to take shape until after a change in tactic: When Gatsby led him nowhere, Weiser read everything about finance that he could track down and, along with Stone, “spent three weeks visiting brokerage houses, interviewing investors and getting a feel for the Weltanschauung of Wall Street.”

6. PARTS OF THE MOVIE WERE SHOT AT THE NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE DURING WORKING HOURS.


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Permission was secured with the help of Kenneth Lipper, a longtime Wall Street insider who also served as New York City's deputy mayor from 1982 to 1985. For the film, Stone brought him on board as the chief technical advisor.

7. TWO MONTHS BEFORE THE FILM’S RELEASE, THERE WAS A MAJOR WALL STREET CRASH IN REAL LIFE.

Historians now call it “Black Monday.” On October 19, 1987, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by a staggering 22.6 percent. It was the largest single-day stock market decline of all time, with $500 billion suddenly going up in smoke. Wall Street would hit theaters on December 11, leading conspiracy theorists to wonder if Stone had seen the crisis coming and made his movie to exploit it. 

“I did not foresee the crash, as some people say, because if I had, I would have made a lot of money,” Stone quipped.

8. GEKKO WAS BASED ON THREE BIG-NAME FINANCIERS. 


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“If you need a friend, get a dog,” Gekko advises his young protégé. This quote was adapted from a remark that corporate raider Carl Icahn once made (which he had cribbed from Harry Truman). In 1985, Icahn became a notorious figure by taking over TWA airlines under the pretense of making it more profitable only to sell off its assets for his own gain. Gekko, no doubt, would’ve approved.

Wall Street’s charismatic antagonist also took cues from Asher Edelman, a financier and major league art enthusiast. Another source of inspiration was arbiter Ivan Boesky, who confessed to illegal insider trading in 1986 and ended up in jail in 1988 (more about him later).

9. STONE’S FATHER WAS A STOCKBROKER.

A survivor of the Great Depression, Louis Stone had a huge influence on his cinematically-inclined son. “The main motivation to make Wall Street was my father,” the director admitted. “He always said there were no good business movies, because the businessman was always the villain.” In the end, Wall Street was dedicated to the elder Stone, who passed away two years before its release. 

10. GEKKO’S BIG LINE IS NUMBER 57 ON THE AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE’S TOP 100 MOVIE QUOTES LIST.

“Greed, for lack of a better word, is good” finished just ahead of “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer” from The Godfather: Part II. Gekko might as well have been quoting Boesky: At a 1985 commencement address given at UC Berkeley, the trader said “Greed is all right, by the way. I want you to know that. I think greed is healthy. You can be greedy and still feel good about yourself.”

Newsweek later reported on the speech—and made a telling observation. “The strangest thing, when we come to look back,” the magazine argued, “will not just be that Ivan Boesky could say that at a business school graduation, but that it was greeted with laughter and applause.”

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