Alyson Hannigan's "Sporty" Summer
We almost didn't recognize adorable Alyson Hannigan of "Buffy", American Pie and CBS TV's "How I Met Your Mother" fame when we spotted her at a TV network cocktail party in a beautiful wood-paneled bar at Pasadena's Ritz Carlton Hotel the other day. Her gorgeous red hair had been dyed a much darker shade. We had to get the scoop on this radical change in appearance!
Besides the hair, Ms. Hannigan looked just as great and summery as ever in all white Chloe dress and cute flower-motif sandal heels. The actress admitted she was pretty jet-lagged from a flight back home from Europe but, as usual, this friendly gal was happy to chat all about her TV show, 'Buffy' movie possibilities and her summer vacation to the World Cup events with hottie hubby and former "Buffy" alum Alexis Denisof. Seems tips she learned on "The Amazing Race" helped saved her vacation! First... what's with the hair, gurl?
TeenTelevision: Your hair is darker. Is that for the show?
Alyson: This is for me for the summer. I took the summer off and I was like 'I'm gonna go brunette' and we still have a few weeks before we go back. (I, a red-head, comment that we all know redheads have more fun and she agrees and laughs)
TeenTelevision: Entertainment Weekly just named you one of the best sidekicks ever for "Buffy".
Alyson: I know and I think there should be a recount because I came in above Gromit and that's wrong. Better than Gromit? No. It's incredibly flattering but I think there might have been some bribery going on to get me above Gromit. Recount!
TeenTelevision: Okay, the question everybody asks you. Will there ever be a "Buffy" movie?
Alyson: I don't know. I don't know what they would do with my character. The last episode kind of wrapped her up but we're all friends and I love the show so never say never.
TeenTelevision: There was talk that there might be a spin-off 'Buffy' movie about Willow. Did anybody talk to you about that?
Alyson: I've heard so many rumors and when he [Joss Whedon] talked to me it was going to be Spike and it's always up in the air but it's never been a serious conversation.
TeenTelevision: Would you do it at this point?
Alyson: I don't know. I'd absolutely do it if Joss were involved but he's so busy. Wonder Woman is going to take up a lot of his time. I wouldn't want it to be thrown off and 'oh, this guy you've never met is gonna do it'. If it were Joss directing and writing, absolutely but is Joss gonna write and direct it? No.
TeenTelevision: The fans are still out there for it. Would you want to do a 'Buffy' film for them?
Alyson: Yeah. It's amazing and wonderful. The longer that we're away from it and people still care, sort of makes me more scared about returning to it because I would hate to mess it up. Like 'oh, hey, it's been seven years, we're going do 'Buffy'. 'Oh, Joss, sorry but I just totally ruined Willow, sorry'. She's more and more cherished as time goes on. The more she's a memory, the harder it would be to bring her back I think.
TeenTelevision: Was it rewarding that, after 'Buffy', you were able to go on to something else that is popular?
Alyson: I'm so blessed and I feel appreciative. It's funny because I still have a fear that this is going to be it. I hope this goes for a long time because it's really been so much fun and I couldn't ask for a better cast and the whole group, the crew and writers and everything. I really enjoy working and enjoy the family aspect of being with the same crew. That's why I like television so much.
TeenTelevision: Movies are really different for friendships?
Alyson: On movies, you make these great friends and you're like 'oh, we're going be best friends forever'. Then a few months later it'll be 'oh, right. We worked together'. It's such a short term memory. I like the security of coming to work and knowing what people's family life is like and having actual relationships. I have friends and friendships that I hope to have for the rest of my life. I just love that. So I love it when shows go as long as 'Buffy' did or longer.
TeenTelevision: The cast of your show seems to get along so well so is it funny for you to be playing on the outs with Jason?
Alyson: Yeah it was. It was really sad to do that last scene. It's wonderful that we can do an emotional scene on a half hour show but it was weird. He's so wonderful to play off of but it definitely didn't feel like 'hey, I'm on a sitcom'. This was more like 'Buffy' only faster.
TeenTelevision: You are quite an artist. Painted anything lately?
Alyson: I always envy artists, painters. Every time I go to a museum I'm like 'I'm going to start painting again'. I do have a little art room at home but I haven't done anything because we've been away. I've gone to a lot of museums so that counts, right?
TeenTelevision: Hey, it helps! Is Alexis going to appear this season on your show?
Alyson: I hope so. That would be fun although he just cut his hair off for a play but he could always wig it.
TeenTelevision: What play is he doing?
Alyson: He's about to go to Liverpool. It's actually 'All My Sons' which Neil [Patrick Harris] just finished doing at The Geffen [theater in L.A.]. We saw it and Neil was fantastic but Alexis is going to be so good. I'm so excited.
TeenTelevision: Did you push him for a part in your show?
Alyson: No. It was a wonderful surprise but it wasn't my idea at all. The producer Craig came up to me and said 'Do you think Alexis would be interested in playing this part'? And I was like 'Really? Awesome!' Because I had been giving them a hard time because they'd had so many [actors from] 'Freaks and Geeks' on. They were supposedly big 'Buffy' fans but they'd hadn't had any of the 'Buffy' actors on. I was like 'what's the deal'? They started at the top and got my favorite 'Buffy' person on.
TeenTelevision: All right! You do some physical comedy on 'How I Met Your Mother'. Easy for you?
Alyson: It comes naturally, especially with someone like Jason (Segel) who is a gazillion feet tall, it's very easy to leap into his arms. He's like a jungle gym.
TeenTelevision: Your Lily character and Jason's broke up at the end of last season. Are you rooting for you and Jason's character to reconcile quickly or do you think it would be fun to hook up with Josh or Neil on the show?
Alyson: I don't know. It will be interesting to figure it out. I think it would be cool to sort of see the two of them go through being single especially for his character who has never been with anybody else. Ted and Robin are together and Marshall and Lily are separated. They can be all happy and loved up and we can be angsty.
TeenTelevision: I heard you joked with Cobie [Smulders] that you guys could be roommates.
Alyson: Yeah. Pillow fights. She's messy and I'm neat or vice versa maybe. The Odd Couple. But she's still happily married to her husband so I think she probably knows that in the long run, it'll be all right I hope. But, actually Rebecca and Craig [producers and show writers on whom the characters are based] did have a brief time where they broke up so she already knows the ending to the story and it's a happy one but I don't know if they're going to deviate from their own lives this season or not.
TeenTelevision: Have you directed an episode or do you want to in the future?
Alyson: We have the most fabulous director ever and as much as I would love to direct an episode, I wouldn't want to because I'd never want anybody else other than Pam Fryman who is marvelous but when I was doing 'Buffy', Joss [Whedon] was giving me little tips and I was going to shadow him on one of the episodes but it didn't' actually work out but to get to watch Joss work was such an honor and I had hoped to direct a 'Buffy' but it didn't happen but just having those few days of shadowing him was amazing.
TeenTelevision: Any chance you might work with him on the Wonder Woman movie?
Alyson: I told him I wanted to be the invisible plane but he hasn't called my agent so I don't know. I keep pitching him all these cheesy ideas for Wonder Woman and he laughs politely. I don't think any of them will make it but I'm constantly singing the theme song which I'm sure everybody in his circle does but I'm very excited. I can't wait.
TeenTelevision: Is your married life a lot different than your single life?
Alyson: Oh, it's completely different and so much better. Married life is the way to go. I look back to when I was single and what was I thinking? I was so stupid with the guys that I dated. It's just ridiculous. Obviously, I've matured and I'm a lot older and wiser but I should have just never dated anybody until I met Alexis. It's just wonderful. It's fantastic and I love it. It really fits me.
TeenTelevision: Awwww. Are you guys talking about having a family at all or are you still enjoying your time together?
Alyson: We had an amazing summer and it's so nice. Obviously, we want that in the future. Right now, our dogs are our babies but yeah, when the time is right, hopefully.
TeenTelevision: So no movie this summer?
Alyson: No. We dedicated our summer to the World Cup. We just got back from that and it was phenomenal. We didn't see the final but we were in London and we watched the final [on TV]. It was an incredible experience. We got to go to the opening day and we went to half a dozen games. It was such an incredible, once in a lifetime experience. Germany was so well organized. I can't imagine any sporting event being handled better. I hope that the Olympic people and everybody took notes.
TeenTelevision: What was organized so well?
Alyson: Little things like the day of the game, if you're going to the game you don't have to pay for public transport. It's all free. You don't have to fool with tickets. It was so cool. The environment was so amazing. You see basically the whole world unite over this one sport. You see people from Ghana with their flags and faces painted. It was such a positive energy experience. No matter where you went, you would see some country represented by fans.
TeenTelevision: Did Alexis, being English, get you into that or were you into soccer on your own?
Alyson: No. I started playing soccer when I was three but he got me turned on to the English Premiereship League. We followed the England team a lot, embarrassingly more than the U.S. team this summer. We flew into London then into Germany and we brought Alexis's friend from London to go to some of the games with us. When we were trying to get through security, our friend got his passport scanned and they said 'I'm sorry sir, we're going to have to make sure you're not a hooligan'. But the Bobby or whatever you called them, told us that they had a thug trying to come in from Dubai. He got a flight to Dubai to try to get to Germany just so he could go fight somebody. Oh my God, but it was so much fun and we traveled around Europe as well.
TeenTelevision: Do you have a guilty pleasure, a show or movie you like to watch that nobody knows about?
Alyson: Well, I'm a big bookie.. I mean I love reading but it's getting more difficult the busier my life gets and the sleepier Alexis gets. He gets really upset about me reading in bed. I'm like 'come on, baby! Those book lights, they don't really work. He complains about the book lights as well. I'm like 'come on. This is like a penlight. How is this keeping you up?' But, movies have dropped off the planet for me unfortunately. No time.
TeenTelevision: Is there any TV that you won't miss?
Alyson: If we're saying guilty pleasure, I have to say some of the reality shows. It's horrible I know but I'm justifying it by saying, 'okay, it's a reality show and I'm an actor so I'm doing research, character research' and that's my excuse. It's bad for actors to like reality shows. They're going to kill us all but I'm studying. It could be my next character, you never know.
TeenTelevision: Which one is your favorite?
Alyson: 'The Amazing Race', not to be a CBS junkie but that's not only been fun to watch but has proved very useful for my European vacation.
TeenTelevision: Uh, how?
Alyson: Alexis and I got severely lost in Italy. We rented a car to drive to the Amalfi coast and we were in Naples which I read prides itself on being a lawless city. Well, driving in a lawless city is not so good. It's very scary and we were severely lost and speak very, very small amounts of Italian and because of 'The Amazing Race', I was like 'baby, we need to find the airport again and we'll hire a cab and follow them to the hotel' and we did that so I learned that on 'The Amazing Race'.
TeenTelevision: That's awesome! Were you recognized over there with the darker hair?
Alyson: I just liked the change. I think it's nice, being in so many crowds, not being a redhead; to sort of be anonymous-ish. Especially in England, when you're ginger they're like 'what?' They check you out so I got recognized a lot less I think.
Lynn Barker is a Hollywood-based entertainment journalist and produced screenwriter.