When I watch Joss Whedon's shows I'm very aware of how often the same actors appear. Here's a quick list of ones I've spotted.

  • Eliza Dushku - Dollhouse and Buffy/Angel
  • Alexis Denisof - Buffy/Angel and Dollhouse
  • Adam Baldwin - Angel/Firefly
  • Nathan Fillon - Firefly/Buffy
  • Gina Torres - Firefly/Angel
  • Summer Glau - Firefly/Dollhouse
  • Amy Acker - Dollhouse/Angel
  • Alan Tudyk - Firefly/Dollhouse

Has he ever given any reason for hiring the same actors in his different shows instead of finding different casts?

  • 3
    There are numerous incidences of actor/director/producer pairs, with various reasons, be it friendship, mutual admiration, building on past successes... And many of the Buffy-Angel similarities are probably just due to the same characters, which are natural to be played by the same actors. There are in fact much better examples of non-related characters in non-related productions reprised by reused actors for the same director, be it Scorsese/DiCaprio, Scott/Washington, Carpenter/Russel, ... (This comment is of course not saying that this question is without any substance).
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Dec 10, 2013 at 23:18
  • And what did Nathan Fillion do in Buffy?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Dec 10, 2013 at 23:20
  • 4
    @ChristianRau When Firefly was canceled, Nathan Fillion and Gina Torres both appeared for about half a season in Whedon's other current projects. Nathan Fillion played an evil preacher in Buffy. Gina Torres played a goddess on Angel.
    – Scivitri
    Dec 11, 2013 at 0:27

1 Answer 1


They have a camaraderie and a short-hand that only happens by having worked together before. Fillion said in an interview (maybe with EW?) that when the phone rang and he saw it was Joss Whedon calling, he answered the phone by saying "YES." And that's how he became a member of the cast of Dr. Horrible. It's the same reason Martin Scorsese works so often with De Niro and more recently DiCaprio. Many directors do this. Wes Anderson, Hal Hartley and Woody Allen. It makes the set more relaxed and communication easier because there's no "getting to know you" orientation when you're working with friends.

  • 1
    I'm pretty sure Wes Anderson had all three Wilson brothers and both Deepak and Kumar Pollana in all of his first three films, so he really started off with a clique. Feb 16, 2016 at 17:37
  • While Whedon is far from unique in working with the same actors (also sometimes script writers, producers etc.) he did in the Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse period, do so more often than most. I don't actually know why unless as Meat Trademark suggests many people who have worked with him find it a particularly good experience that they want to repeat. I have also read Whedon somehow gets actors to be better than they usually are e.g. James Masters was wonderful as 'Spike' in Whedon's Buffy & Angel, but less good when I have seen him since. Ditto Mercedes MacNab as Harmony.
    – Timothy
    Apr 5, 2017 at 17:04

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