The Iris Interview: Nicholas Brendon on Buffy, Coherence, Australian seafood and more!

Nicholas Brendon

Oz Comic-Con is kicking off in Brisbane this weekend for the first time and it’s clear that the buzz has definitely hit the Sunshine State. Guests have been able to don the tourist caps and explore a little ahead of the weekend pop culture expo, where fans of loads of different movie and TV franchises, comics and more will gather to indulge and geek the eff out. When I get a sliver of Nicholas Brendon’s time this morning, the teenage Buffy the Vampire Slayer  fan  in me is preparing to offload a heap of questions and comments that have been stacking up since the opportunity of speaking with him was made a reality. I mean, come on. It’s Xander!

“You don’t want to put bugs and salad together…Hi.” Brendon greets me, continuing on with his commentary on Australian seafood terminology, which clearly has the actor mildly astounded. “‘Bug Salad’. An ‘Ocean Bug Salad’. I mean, come on, guys.”

Over the phone, the voice is instantly recognisable and I realise how long it’s been since I’ve watched an episode of Buffy. While fans are turning out to the Brisbane Exhibition and Convention Centre this weekend, I’ll most likely be curled up on the couch, binge watching the first season again. Brendon is excited about the weekend ahead, given how long it’s been in between visits. A new visitor to Brisbane, he joins his Buffy co-star Emma Caulfield for a weekend of panels and fan meets, sure to be the highlight for many this Saturday and Sunday.

“This is the first time Emma and I have ever done one of these together at all! I’ve never been to Brisbane before,” Brendon points out. “I’m really excited. We got in at 6:45am yesterday, so we had a full day yesterday and after this, I’ve got a full day today. Saturday and Sunday we work, of course, and then we have a full day on Monday to explore before we leave on Tuesday. I love Sydney. I’m staying in Darling Harbour and I’ve never stayed in Darling Harbour before.”

It seems like Brendon’s relationship with Australian cuisine goes back a long way, too, as he describes an early encounter with some of our famed crustaceans. “The first time I ever saw a lobster with cheese sauce, was in Darling Harbour.” he laughs. “I’m like, ‘What the fuck is going on?’. Isn’t lobster rich enough? You’ve gotta put that cheese sauce on top?! Just give me lemon on top of my lobster and a little bit of butter.”

Seafood aside, Brendon clues me in on the progress of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Ten, the comic book series he is a writer on. A canonical continuation of the television series, Season Ten has given the writers and illustrators a whole new avenue to flesh out the premise of the show and for Brendon, he’s been able to continue the stories of such well-loved characters, his Xander in particular.

“It’s been great.” he says. “Christos [Gage], my writing partner, and I have just finished number 14. It’s really cool, because when we had our writers’ summit to map out what Season 10 was going to be like, it was all the writers meeting in a hotel room and then Joss [Whedon] came. I’d said that I’d really wanted my favourite story arc, when Xander and Spike are living together when I tie him up in my basement, so we brought that back! It’s neat to see. We’re living together and Xander is in therapy, he’s sees Dr. Mike. It’s neat to see their relationship grow. It’s been super special to be a part of that and see this friendship blossom. I don’t want to put words in James’ [Marsters] face or mouth, because he just wants to be kinda bad, so I’m not sure if he enjoys the story line as much! I love to see the growth in those two characters, they really understand each other now. They have each other’s backs, which is neat.”

Along with his writing credits, fans may have already seen Brendon in his latest film, sci-fi thriller Coherence. Released in 2013, the film has garnered much positive acclaim for its story line and the performances of the cast. A complicated narrative centering around a mysterious comet and a dinner party which turns into your claustrophobic/paranoid situation commentators have termed ‘pal-ocalypse’, Coherence has been touted by some reviewers as one of Brendon’s best performances. On the way the film came together, Brendon comments on the gruelling nature of it even though it may not necessarily look it in its final form.

“It was all improv, we didn’t have a script.” he says. “It was a lot of work because, as things are happening, we were reacting to them. We had to listen. It was a lot of work, but it was very, very satisfying.”

Following on from Oz Comic-Con’s run in Sydney next weekend (September 13th & 14th), Brendon’s back home to LA before heading off on various trips through the US and Europe. As to whether he’s got much free time coming up before the end of the year, he remains confident he’s got the balance between work and play down. And to be in his (and the other OCC guests) shoes, being able to travel and meet thousands of fans for work, you believe him.

“I have a certain amount of down time, which is nice.” he admits. “When I’m busy, I’m really busy but when I’m not, I’m not really busy, you know? I’m able to plug in the battery pack. I mean, this is a work trip and I’m having the time of my life.”

Oz Comic-Con is in Brisbane this weekend, before heading for the Exhibition Centre on Glebe Island in Sydney on September 13th & 14th. Head to for more information on what tickets you’ll need to meet Nicholas, get your photo with him and Emma Caulfield and more!


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