As Buffy the Vampire Slayer is praying to resurrect Drusilla, the blood-sucking bad ghoul she played throughout the show's second season, Juliet Landau would be the last person to speak ill of the dead. Yet even she concedes that her dad and Oscar-winning Ed Wood co-star Martin Landau is rather "stiff" in their scenes as a father and daughter in the independent film Carlo's Wake.

"It's his character's wake," she explains to TV Guide Online, "so I actually played opposite a life-size cast of him [in a coffin] for the entire shoot! We didn't get to work together at all."

Nonetheless, the second-generation starlet (whose mother is Barbara Bain, Pop's leading lady on the 1960s Mission: Impossible series) had no trouble scaring up genuine emotion when staring down "the nearly departed." "Rick Baker, who did the make-up for Ed Wood, made the cast," she notes, "so it was eerie."

In fact, so realistic was the appearance of "the deceased" that the sight alone may have shaved years off of Landau's own life. "I was being such an actress, thinking, 'Oh, this is such a different role for me ? the character has a New York/Italian sound to her,'" she confesses. "Then, when I got to work and saw the body, I went, 'Oh my God, what have I taken on? I'm literally coming to my dad's funeral every day!'

"It was a little heavy," she continues, "but, of course, it was acting, thank God."

Even now that production on the black comedy has wrapped, mortal thoughts plague Landau; in particular, she worries that the project might land in a funeral home rather than an art house. "The movie has such an amazing cast ? Rita Moreno is my mom in it, and Chris Meloni [of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit] is my brother. But," she laments, "it hasn't picked up a distributor yet."