Luke Perry Talked ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ Director Back on Set After the Crew Made Her Walk Off

Fran Rubel Kuzui recalls how the late “Beverly Hills, 90210” actor helped her finish the 1992 horror comedy

Director Fran Rubel Kuzui on the set of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," Luke Perry
Director Fran Rubel Kuzui on the set of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," Luke Perry (CREDIT: 20th Century Fox, Getty Images)

Fran Rubel Kuzui, who helmed the 1992 horror comedy “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” revealed she couldn’t have made the movie without Luke Perry.

The late “Beverly Hills, 90210” actor played the male love interest to Kristy Swanson’s title character and proved instrumental in diffusing onset hostility towards the female director.

“If it wasn’t for Luke Perry, ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ would’ve never happened,” Kuzui told Vanity Fair in an interview published Friday. Perry was a huge star thanks to “90210,” and he had a two-picture deal with 20th Century Fox, who wanted to make the movie.

“It was like meeting with an old friend,” Kuzui said of first meeting Perry. “We just sat and talked and talked. There was never any doubt that I wanted to work with him. He was very enthusiastic and supportive.”

His support came in handy when Kuzui walked off the “Buffy” set six weeks into the shoot because of her crew’s unspecified “unprofessional and unkind” behavior towards her. Perry approached her, saying that “everybody feels really bad” and that they wanted to apologize.

Kuzui then asked him, “If I were a man, would this have happened?” to which he replied, “No.” After a while, he suggested she come back to the set with him, and she agreed, “as long as everyone understands that that’s not acceptable anymore.”

Perry surprised her by carrying her onto the set and putting her down next to the camera. She welcomed the gesture as a sign of chivalry and credited him with diffusing a negative situation.

The filmmaker also did not take offense when the TV star, who was then 24, asked if she was going to hire a stylist to dress her. “Well, there have been a few women directors on [90210],” he told her, “and I noticed they all had stylists.”

“It was so cute for this 24-year-old kid to be concerned about me in this way. I had been trying to be supportive of him, and he wanted to give something back, but he didn’t know what else to offer me,” Kuzui recalled.

The “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” property ultimately became a WB TV hit for creator Joss Whedon; but the movie, which featured then-rising stars Ben Affleck and Hilary Swank, remains a cult favorite in its own right.

Perry died in March 2019 at the age of 52 due to a series of strokes.


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