[UPDATE: Sources at Warner Bros. are insisting this is just a rumor. Read below for details.]
Fans of Joss Whedon's hit television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer have decidedly mixed feelings about Warner Bros.' recently announced movie reboot. While the allure of seeing the character back on the big screen is somewhat intriguing, many feel that without the input of creator Joss Whedon, the proposed film is essentially Buffy in name only.
Regardless of that pervasive skepticism, the new Buffy the Vampire Slayer continues to gain momentum. Newcomer Whit Anderson has penned a script that evidently delivers a more modern take on the mythology, but there's not enough information available yet to determine exactly what that means. What we do know is that the filmmakers are already having discussions about who should inherit the title role - and one name seems to have jumped to the top of their list.
MovieWeb is reporting that Glee star Heather Morris is actively being pursued to play the new Buffy. Their source claims that Morris' comedic timing has given her an edge over the competition. Given the physical nature of the role, the 23 year-old performer's past experience as a dancer and gymnast probably doesn't hurt her odds either.
Interestingly, their story also gives us some idea of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot's tone - even if it does seem somewhat contradictory:
"We have learned that the tone will be more in step with the WB series that ran from 1997 to 2003, than it will the original 1992 feature film. The hope is to incorporate a neo-Valley Girl tone that will find this version of the character more in-line with her original Kristy Swanson incarnation, while at the same time presenting a fresh and hip take on the character for today's more sauve audiences."
So it's going to be like the show, but Buffy's going to be portrayed more like she was in the original movie? I suppose a more accurate description might be that this reboot is going to blend elements from both interpretations. Kristy Swanson's performance definitely took the valley girl aspect to the extreme and Sarah Michelle Gellar (as much as I love the show) always felt a little bland to me. I don't think it'd be that challenging to find some sort of middle ground.
Unlike prior versions that had Buffy discovering her destiny while in high school, the reboot will depict her as a recent college graduate "struggling to find a paying job and a healthy relationship." Anderson's fresh perspective on the concept certainly excited the film's producers and was enough to kick-start the project again after several failed attempts. Hopefully those involved see more in this property than just dollar signs.
As for Morris, I'm pretty neutral on her potential involvement. Her character on Glee seems to have more in common with Swanson's Buffy than Gellar's, but from the few episodes I've seen her delivery seems to be very dry and apathetic. Not that she'd play Buffy the same way, I'm just saying that it's hard for me to determine how I feel about this when there's not a lot of prior work to look at.
This isn't the first time I've watched something I grew up with get remade, rebooted, or re-imagined - and it definitely won't be the last. So all I can do is keep my fingers crossed that they do something unique and surprising with this concept. And if they don't, all seven seasons of the show are still on my DVD shelf.
Update: THR has insiders at Warner Bros. that insist this is just a rumor and that discussions about casting won't take place until after the script is finished. Whit Anderson evidently tweeted a denial as well, but it has since been deleted. If this was just a rumor and no one's talking about casting the new Buffy yet, I wonder if this will increase the chances of Morris' name coming up when they do start having those conversations.
The Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot is aiming to hit theaters sometime in 2012.
Update Source: THR.