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David Boreanaz recalls Sarah Michelle Gellar roughing him up in their first 'Buffy' scene
Yes, Buffy roughed Angel up in their first ever scene, but David Boreanaz had other issues on his mind.
Though they eventually went on to be lovers, the first-ever scene between Buffy and Angel in Buffy the Vampire Slayer was somewhat less than friendly. In fact, Buffy kicked the vampire's butt after she sensed someone following her. But David Boreanaz (Angel) mostly just remembers trying really hard to stay calm while shooting with Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy) in what was his first major onscreen role.
In the scene, which happened in the very first episode of the supernatural TV series that aired between 1997 and 2003, Angel follows Buffy into an alley. Hearing him behind her, she positions herself upside down on a beam above the alley. Then just as he passes under it, she swings down and kicks him in the back, causing him to flip over and land on his back. She then presses her boot into his chest to hold him down.
"I remember doing the first scene and I was like, it couldn't have been more surreal for me," Boreanaz told Paramount+'s The Summit in a new interview. "She does this flip kick thing and flips me over. And she's like, 'Who are you?' ... It was like this whole weird dimensional thing. Everything's so quiet. I've got these cameras pointed at me. I'm like, 'Just maintain, maintain your calmness.' I'm nervous, 'Did they like me? What's going to happen?' ... Lo and behold ... it was great chemistry that the two of us had. And the characters drove that for that launch of that show and it was huge. It was that romantic character connection that really I feel was the Shakespearean draw to that show."
Catch the Buffy portion of The Summit interview just after the 7-minute mark below:
The series was a big boost to Boreanaz's career, who'd previously just had some bit parts in a few films. The actor, now 53, of course went on to a starring role in the Buffy spinoff Angel, as well as lead parts in the crime procedural series Bones and the military drama series SEAL Team.
But it all started with Buffy. Boreanaz recalled getting the job and what drew him to the part of Angel. "I remember reading the breakdown. It was like this vampire with a soul," Boreanaz said. "He was 240-something years old, and he's kinda like the Joe Louis of fighters. You can knock him down, but he's always going to get back up ... right? I really identified with the fighter aspect of it. Like, a character who's going to get back up no matter how many times he gets knocked down. So that was my kind of mantra going into that process of being cast for that role."
The actor met Gellar on the set the day before he would start filming. "I meet Sarah for the first time on the set the day before I'm supposed to shoot the next day," he continued. "And I remember walking into the set, it was very low ceilings, and there was a fight sequence going on, and there was Sarah, kind of in like the distance. And, I met her, and I was just amazed at how they just finished doing a scene, and the crew was breaking up and moving, and there she was.
"She was so bubbly and energetic and very kind. And there I am just holding my cool, right? Just like, 'Just whatever you do, you've been there, you've done that. Don't ever show your weaknesses' ... I'm dying inside. I go, 'Yeah, you know, see you tomorrow at work. It's gonna be great.' I've never really done this before, ever in my life ... So getting that job was huge."
Need more vampires in your life? Check out the new horror series Vampire Academy, now streaming on Peacock.