Contiuning FanX's love for all things Joss Whedon, actress Julie Benz, arguably best known for her work on Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel as the wicked temptress Darla, dropped by the Salt Palace's North Ballroom stage to not only dish on Darla, but also on her current work on SyFy's Defiance and her character Special Agent Eunice Bloom in The Boondock Saints II: All Saint's Day.
“I've been so fortunate to play so many bad-asses,” Benz beamed while reflecting on her past and current roles.
Starting from a background in ice dancing, Benz, as she explained to the packed house, was originally told at the age of 16 by her acting teacher that she should refrain from pursuing a career in acting – something that still amazes her to this day.
“It was actually in my final evaluation, I still have it,” Benz recanted. “Who the hell would tell a 16-year-old not to pursue something? How angry and bitter do you have to be to do something like that?”
Clearly, it didn't affect her in the slightest. Benz shared one of her favorite early acting experiences on the set of Diagnosis Murder.
“I played a psycho killer ice skater,” Benz stated with sadistic glee. “The producers didn't think they were going to find an actress who could actually ice skate. It was my background in ice dancing that helped me get that part.”
Of course, it wouldn't have been a FanX panel if there wasn't talk about Buffy and Angel.
“I originally tried out for the role of Buffy, which both Joss and I knew wasn't going to work very early on,” Benz explained. “And originally I was looking to do more comedy. I was good at it. Joss dragged me kicking and screaming into the world of drama, but I'm now glad he did.”
Benz further explained that her role as Darla allowed producers to take her more seriously as an actress, which fortunately opened up the door to her other highly beloved role: the sweet-yet-tragic Rita from Dexter – a role Benz feels was not quite the departure from her role on Buffy as many have called it.
“Both Darla and Rita aren't that different,” Benz explained. “Both were abused by the men they loved, and were tormented by the pain. The only difference is that one went left, and one went right. It's all about the choices they made.”
The topic soon went to her current endeavors, namely her role as Mayor Rosewater in Defiance, which will start its second season on June 19. While she was reticent to spill any of the big secrets of the upcoming season, Benz very eagerly talked about her new costar on the show – Linda Hamilton!
“I admit, I kinda stalked her on the set quite a bit,” Benz said as she laughed. “Whenever I couldn't see her, I'd look around and ask loudly, 'Where's Linda?'. How could I not love working with the original Sarah Connor?”
Benz was also quite candid about her upcoming film Circle, a film she describes as “a sci-fi version of 12 Angry Men”, which will be hitting the film festival circuit soon.
Until then, you can catch Julie Benz signing autographs at her booth.