Amber Benson takes on aliens in the workplace

Among the women who have played gay for pay, Amber Benson is one I dearly wish were also gay for play.

It’s purely selfish, because Benson’s character Tara on Buffy the Vampire Slayer is half of one of the best couples ever to grace the small screen. (The other half, of course, was Alyson Hannigan’s Willow, in case you were born yesterday or something.)

But even though Benson is coupled with Adam Busch, who played Warren on Buffy (and yes, Warren killed Tara, but let’s try to forget that, mm-kay?), she has been a strong supporter of the lesbian fan base she developed during her Tara years — and we love her for it. Besides, she’s gorgeous.

So when I learned that Benson and Busch would be at a free screening of their movie Drones at Dallas’ USA Film Festival, I happily waited in line.

Parking-lot-style traffic and very protective film festival volunteers (stinkin’ badges), kept me from speaking with Benson one-on-one, but thanks to a post-screening Q&A with Benson and co-director Busch, I can catch you up a bit on what she’s up to.

Most of her time lately has been spent with Busch at film festivals, promoting Drones. The movie has “cult film” practically written in the credits; it’s offbeat and low-budget, with a cast that features Freaks and Geeks costars Samm Levine and Dave Allen, Whedon staple Jonathan Woodward, Dr. Venture himself, James Urbaniak, and horror film favorite Angela Bettis (yes, the one who made out with Anna Faris in May).

Drones is the story of Brian (Woodward), an office drone that has been at OmniLink for six years. He spends a good part of the workday hanging out with his buddy Clark (Levine), who is an alien studying Earth to determine the optimal time for his planet to enslave humans. Brian also has his eye on Amy (Bettis) who turns out to be an alien from yet another planet that is planning to destroy Earth.

Here’s a clip:

What immediately comes to mind, of course, is Office Space. But Drones is no clone. The sense of monotony that comes from corporate life is similar, but the humor is more geek than freak. Benson said that she and Busch envisioned an office comedy as done by the Coen brothers — and I think they succeeded. In fact, if you sat through Fargo wondering what people were laughing at, you might as well skip Drones.

If it does sound appealing, you’re in luck. Benson said that they’ve just sold the movie for distribution. You can keep track of its release at the Drones website.

Benson also has a few literary projects in the works. Her latest book, Cat’s Claw was released in February — her second featuring Calliope Reaper-Jones, the awesomely named character whose daddy happens to be Death. The third novel in the series will be released next year.

August marks the release of her first children’s book, Among the Ghosts. She plans a book signing tour, so watch for her at your local bookstore.

I did get to ask Benson a couple of questions while she was signing my Willow & Tara comic book. You’ll get the answer to the first one, “Who’s on your AfterEllen.com Hot 100 list?” in a separate post. But I also asked if she had anything special to say to AfterEllen.com readers.

“Oh, yes,” she said. “Tell them to keep reading AfterEllen.com so they’ll know they’re connected to other people and not alone in the world. And tell them thank you.”

It’s nice to know that someone we admire, admires us back.

Has anyone else seen Drones? What did you think? If not, do you plan to see it? Also, if you have any questions for Amber, we’ll be talking to her soon. Let us know in the comments!

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