Sarah Michelle Gellar: Buffy Gave Me Street Cred!
By: Lynn Barker
Sarah Michelle Gellar is moving on. The fan fave says: “I was very burned out after “Buffy”. Kidzworld is talking to Ms. Gellar about her new TV series “Ringer”, airing on The CW network.
Do you love cool mystery stories, good sis vs. bad sis drama, hot fashions and twisted love stories? Then you’ll like to watch Sarah play twins.
Whether you are old enough to have watched “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” first time around or caught it on reruns or DVD, you know that Ms. Gellar played a high schooler who could kick major vampire butt on that popular series. Now, Sarah is married to “Scooby Doo” costar Freddie Prinze Jr. and is a new mom.
In “Ringer” she’s a young woman with some heavy secrets…. well, make that two young women; one twin, a socialite who is up to no good and hiding in Paris and her sis, an ex-drug user and party girl who saw a murder and is now on the run from mobsters.
We talked with Sarah last month in Beverly Hills. She looks great and could so play Buffy again although she’s all grown up. Check it out.
Kidzworld: Why pick this series for your TV comeback?
- Sarah: (I read the script) and I think the thing that surprised me the most is that, I thought, “I see where this is going. I get it.” And then, you get to page 20 and you’re like, “What!?” It was the surprise (that hooked her).
Kidzworld: But why wait this long? Why now?
- Sarah: I was very burned out after “Buffy.” It was exhausting. I was age 18 on the pilot, and I was 24 and married when we finished. That show was my life. I was doing movies on the (breaks). I sort of needed to explore and live that gypsy lifestyle, and I traveled, and I worked with amazing actors. I had this great learning experience. Then, I started to realize that all of the amazing roles for women were on television.
- Once I had my daughter, I was done living the romantic lifestyle, and although it works for some actors, I want to be home. I want to put her to bed and get up with her in the morning, and I want to be there for her first day of school (now she’s only 2). Nothing offers that more than television (the show is shot in L.A. where Sarah lives).
Kidzworld: What do you like about your wardrobe for this? It’s pretty hot.
- Sarah: Cynthia Bergstrom, who did my costumes on “Buffy”, is doing my costumes on this show. Buffy was still a high school student and there was a lot of stunt stuff so it’s very different. These are very wealthy people in New York,. Designer labels that I, Sarah, could not afford but my character wears.
Kidzworld: I guess your association as “Buffy” might be good and bad. Did you ever say, “I’m so fed up with this. I really need to re-identify myself,” or you have always been comfortable with that association?
- Sarah: I’m proud of the show. I’m proud of the work we did and I’m proud of its legacy, and so that’s nothing but good things. Sure, as an actor you want to play different things, but I was also really fortunate. I think a lot of times when you start a show at a young age, you get stuck. You get six years of high school. And I didn’t have that. Buffy grew. She was a student. She went to college, and then essentially she was a mother to all the slayers. So I didn’t feel that I was trapped because I got to do so much. I don’t see the negative. And if people think that I can save the world and kick butt, then I’m okay with that. I’ve got street cred!
Kidzworld: Cool! Can you talk about how you actually shoot your role as twin sisters in the same scene? How do you, as an actress, make them interact?
- Sarah: Technology has come a long way because at the end of “Buffy,” I did play three characters, and it was just old-school split screen. It was just, you stand there and we split the screen. There’s so much more that’s available now between face replacement and the stop motion cameras. So during the pilot, we played with all of them it’s kind of like kids with new toys to figure out what works best.
- Even though there is all this technology, the heart of the scene is two people talking to each other. It’s about their communication. We make it simple. You’re not trying to do these crazy camera moves or crazy positions.
Kidzworld: You are sort of playing three characters; Bridget, then Siobhan, and you’re playing Bridget pretending to be Siobhan. Do you have any favorite among those three at present?
- Sarah: (laughs) Whoever has the best wardrobe at the time. No. I think it’s like children. You have to love each one individually and understand that one. So when I’m Bridget, I feel that all of Bridget’s motivations are right and Siobhan is wrong. And when I’m Siobhan, everything Bridget does is wrong. I try to get into the head of each of them.
Kidzworld: You did a lot of your own stunts in “Buffy,” and there was a big deal made of it. Are you doing a lot of that here now?
- Sarah: Well, we don’t have a ton of stunts. There were a few stunts in the pilot. There was the crash through the wall, which they would not let me do; something about insurance. But so far, the trickiest stunt I’ve had is standing next to the very tall Kristoffer Polaha and Mike Colter and trying to look like I’m not age seven! So far, it’s only been kind of running and chasing. She’s just trying to save herself. But I do get to hold a gun a lot which is cool because Buffy never got a gun.
Kidzworld: Do you have to switch a lot, playing both twins in one shooting day?
- Sarah: I did four in one day! I did flashback Bridget, flashback Siobhan, current Siobhan then current Bridget. There are certain days where I can play Siobhan all day or play Bridget but not usually.
Kidzworld: You must have a body double for some of those scenes?
- Sarah: Yes. Her name is Ellie, and she’s a singer. She’d never thought about acting, and it’s just been this really fun experience for her. We really do look alike in our faces. We don’t look alike when you see us next to each other, but it’s really similar. It’s fun because she’s enjoying the process too. So we’re sort of discovering it together.
Kidzworld: Last “Buffy” question. We understand that there are actually academics who have studied “Buffy” and have now acknowledged that it is the most written-about program in the history of television. Any comment?
- Sarah: Wow. I’m at a loss for words. I’m aware of the academics that do teach classes on its role in feminism, its role in female empowerment, the mythology. But, no, I did not know that it was the most written about. Hopefully, “Ringer” will be the second most written about.
Kidzworld: Do you watch a lot of TV, yourself?
- Sarah: When I can, I do. When I was out of the country working on movies a lot, I did watch a lot on DVDs. I have my two-year-old, so I watch a lot of “Sesame Street” right now. But, I watch when I can because I am a fan.
Kidzworld: Okay, you look great! How did you get back into shape after having your baby?
- Sarah: Spanx!
By: Lynn Barker