Sarah Michelle Gellar talks 'Ringer,' her 'Buffy' legacy and ditching CBS

The retired vampire slayer won't be reuniting with Joss Whedon on new series

Sarah Michelle Gellar (c) on the TCA panel for 'Ringer'

 Sarah Michelle Gellar (c) on the TCA panel for 'Ringer'

Credit: AP

The vampire slayer is back! Or, at least, former "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" star Sarah Michelle Gellar is returning to television with her new twisted twin drama "Ringer" on the CW. At the TCAs, Gellar didn't turn away questions about her old show, despite being on a panel to promote her new one. "I'm proud of the work we did and I'm proud of [the show's] legacy," she said. "I didn't feel that I was trapped because I got to do so much... how many times do you get to be a part of something like that? And if people think I can save the world and kick butt, I'm okay with that."

Luckily, Gellar won't have to kick quite as much butt on her new show. When a journalist suggested she might not be up to the task now that she's in her thirties, Gellar joked, "Due to my advanced age, we were a little worried about the osteoporosis. But we don't have a tone of stunts in this show. There was a crash into the wall that they wouldn't let me do, and I still don't know why they didn't let me do it. Really, the biggest stunt I have is trying to stand next to [co-stars] Kristoffer Polaha and Ioam Gruffudd and not look like I'm 7. She's not saving the world, she's just saving herself. But I do get to hold a gun a lot, which I didn't get to do on 'Buffy.'

In addition to holding a gun, Gellar also gets to play twins and frequent flashbacks. When asked if technology made the job easier, Gellar wisecracked, "They actually cloned me and we thought we'd take advantage of modern technology. Dolly will play the other twin." 

While Gellar says the use of face replacement and stop motion cameras does make her job "easier," she still has the challenge of switching between two characters (and often different eras) several times not just in an episode, but in a working day. "it's like children, when you're each one, you have to love each one individually, I try to get into the head of each of them," she said. "Even though the flashbacks are set in the '90s, I like to think they're in the '80s, because I'm pushing for the blue eyeshadow and the high bangs."

Gellar also addressed why the show, which was set to appear on CBS, made the move to the CW. "One of our fears was, do we fit into the CBS mold? And Nina [Tassler, president of CBS Entertainment] said, 'we'll let you do what you want to do,' and we all decided to do the show, but it was always on our minds. Do we have to have a procedural element to fit on CBS?' Those things were always in the back of our mind."

After the show was turned in during pilot season, Gellar said, "Two days later we got a call from Les [Moonves, president and CEO of CBS Corp.]. He said, 'I love the show, and I have the same fears you do. What about putting it on the CW? We all talked, and it just made sense. It was a relief for us, because we could tell more of the stories we wanted to tell. The CW has been so incredibly supportive and nobody has better marketing and advertising."

Though CBS would have perhaps been a bigger platform for "Ringer," Gellar pointed out that, "Personally, it took a little weight off my shoulders, because half of the CW people are the same people I worked with at at the UPN. And CBS has those huge numbers, and if you don't hit those numbers you won't have the time to develop that fan base. Our fear was that we wouldn't fit into CBS, and we know we fit in at the CW."

Gellar also discussed why she was returning to television after moving into features. "I was very burnt out after 'Buffy,' I think everyone knew that... I needed to live the gypsy lifestyle [and work in features] for a while, and it was this great learning experience.  But I'd be overseas in these hotel rooms, and I would get shows to watch on DVD. And I realized all the amazing roles for women are on TV... Once I had my daughter, I was done living the nomadic lifestyle. I want to be with her and put her to bed, and nothing offers that but television.

" I didn't realize how much I missed it, seeing the same people and the family environment. And if I hadn't had the time away, I wouldn't appreciate it the way I do." Gellar grinned. "But that could be my advanced age, too."

Liane-bonin-starr-sm
Liane Bonin Starr is an author, screenwriter and former writer for EW.com. Her byline has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Variety and a lot of other places. Her last book was called "a scandalously catty, guilty pleasure" by Jane magazine. Expect the same from Starr Raving.
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