We promised you goods and beautiful surprises in November. Today we have the great honor to present our interview with Jeff Pruitt and Sophia Crawford, whom you know to have been respectively Buffy stunt coordinator (season 2-4) and the stunt double of Sarah Michelle Gellar (seasons 1 to 4). Interviewed November 5 by the team Buffy Angel Show, Jeff and Sophia have accepted to show their gratitude to the French fans on a cameo, and share with us 24 rare stills or totally unpublished.
In our turn, we take this official release to tell them a big thank you for accepting this interview for the time we spent, for their kindness and for shared memories and photos.
What’s your best memory on Buffy set ?
« There are many, but asking Sophia to marry me stands out in my mind. »
Have you some never told before stories about Buffy behind the scenes ?
« Probably a million of them. I don’t know which ones you’ve heard though. One that I told fans before was about David Boreanaz… I’d met him years before when I was directing the action for Power Rangers. He was trying to get into acting and talked to me about it. I put him in touch with some casting people. Then when I joined BUFFY he was there playing this character called, “Angel.” I soon found that during first season Angel was usually being saved by Buffy. He wasn’t as great a fighter as her. So I asked Joss and David Greenwalt if I could start adding more fighting skills for his character and make him equal to Buffy. They agreed and in second season you see his character really take off.
I was very happy for David and he was great to work with. We laughed a lot. In fact, some of the shots of Buffy in bed with him are actually shots of him with Sophia Crawford. That was Sophia “kicking the bucket” when Buffy and Angel finally made love for the first time. He thought it was hilarious that I had to stand there while he was in bed with my wife.
Most of the actors were very conservative about how much skin they showed, but not David. When Angel had to return from hell the script said he was naked and out of his mind. So instead of wearing the little skin-colored briefs that wardrobe provided for him, he just walked out onto the set totally nude and said, “I’m ready!” Probably a good thing that I didn’t have my behind-the-scene camera running at that moment.«
And behind the scenes of « 3×01 Anne » ?
How many time did you need to elaborate all the stunts of an episode (from the idea to the conception and realisation) ?
« It varied. Usually I would meet with the next episode’s director while filming the current episode and we’d talk. Then I’d go to a production meeting with all the department heads and go over the entire script. And finally I’d try to meet privately with Joss to make sure we were all on the same page. Sometimes there was no time to do these things and I’d just wing it on the spot.
In fact, although I choreographed the bigger fights in advance, most of the time I’d have to wait until the night of the fight and then choreograph because there were always so many changes being made to the scripts and sets. I knew what both Sophia and Sarah could do physically and I knew what stunt people I’d be using in the scene so it was easy for me to create something an hour before the crew appeared and be ready to film.«
When the TV serie was aired, did you watch it ? Have you a favorite episode ?
« Oh yes. I would have watched it whether I worked on it or not. The writing was excellent. My habit was to watch the show and then go online to get feedback from BUFFY fans so I could use that in making future decisions about the action scenes.
It’s hard to pick a favorite episode though. I like “Lie to Me” because it reminded me of certain people I knew in real life – even though it had little action in it. I loved all of the action-packed episodes I got to do with Faith and Angel and Spike.
Those relationships really pulled you into the story and that made the fights important when they happened because the audience cared about the characters.«
What do you think of the HD remastering of Buffy ? Do you think this can affect the quality of your stunts ?
Which project you were involved makes you proud of being part of it ?
« I think I’m most proud of three things: I was the first American stunt coordinator to introduce fast combinations and falls similar to what was going on in Hong Kong at the time in films like “Mission of Justice” with Jeff Wincott.
I’m also proud of the fact that when I started shooting the action for Power Rangers the show became a huge success.
And I’m proud that I got to make Buffy with my wife Sophia Crawford. We got to introduce a style of action for female characters that has now become the norm.«
Which martial art/fighting style do you prefer ?
« I began as a child practicing hard styles. I got my black belt in Tang Soo Do at an early age and I liked applying some of the kicking to stunt scenes.
But I am open and use something from every style. It’s just that for film we have to adapt the movements for camera and acting purposes.
If we did it the way we do in real life or competition it would be very boring on film.
You can be great at performing techniques and lousy to watch. It’s the same with acting. Just because a person can read out loud from a script doesn’t mean you will enjoy watching them do that on screen.
Stunt fighting is really acting with your body more than anything else and that’s what we do. As Bruce Lee said, it’s “the art of expressing the human body.”
What’s your next/future projects ? Have you some in common ?
« Lately I’ve been doing a bunch of commercials. One of the producers I worked for told me he is trying to get a new pilot off the ground and wants me to direct second unit on it, but who knows? All of our jobs in this business are temp jobs anyway. It may be a day or it may last for years. You just never know for sure what will happen next. »
You can find below our special page about Jeff Pruitt and Sophia Crawford, and also in the gallery many behind the scenes pictures.
Interview with Jeff Pruitt by Buffy Angel Show. Any reproduction of the text or pictures without permission is strictly prohibited. If you wish to republish text or certain quotes thank you to contact us: email@example.com