Alyson Hannigan smiling at the Emmys
Movies - TV
Alyson Hannigan’s Buffy Audition Completely Changed Willow’s Character
In the pilot script for "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," Willow was fairly one-note: a straightforward nerdy, downtrodden character with a predictable arc of growing more confident.
When actor Alyson Hannigan read through her lines initially, she found the character off-putting. "[I]t was just sort of depressing," she said in an official 2017 Watcher's Guide.
"[Willow] was saying, 'Oh, boys don't like me, and this and that,' [...] I just didn't want to feel sorry for her. How are [viewers] going to like her?" explained Hannigan.
Hannigan’s solution was to turn one of Willow's most depressing lines about her kindergarten relationship with Xander, who had stolen her Barbie, into something triumphant.
When Buffy asks if she got the Barbie back, Willow says, "Most of it." Hannigan said, "I'm gonna make that a really happy thing. I was so proud that I got most of my Barbie back."
The actor continued, "It defines the character. That was the one line that triggered it. Then I went back and said, 'Okay, now how can I play the whole scene like that?'"