Buffy’s Sister Act

Photo: Patrick McMullan

When her time as Buffy the Vampire Slayer came to an end eight years ago, the now-34-year-old Sarah Michelle Gellar hung up her stakes, made some movies (Scooby-Doo parts 1 and 2, The Grudge parts 1 and 2, Southland Tales), had a baby, and carefully considered her TV resurrection: as Bridget, an ex-stripper/addict under FBI protection who decides to assume the identity of her well-off, seemingly dead twin sister, Siobhan, in the CW’s stylish thriller Ringer—think a soapy Vertigo, not The Parent Trap with fight scenes. She spoke with Willa Paskin.

You’ve had offers to do shows before. Why Ringer?
It’s really hard when you come off a show like Buffy because you know you’re not going to top it. I wanted to do something that was different, and no one’s done film noir. The Last Seduction is one of my favorite movies. This is the kind of show that I would watch. Doing it now, it feels like old hat, and it feels like I’ve never done it before.

So how noirish will it be?
We’re going to have cliffhangers, but not just at the end of each episode—at the end of each commercial break. But the one thing that we’ll do differently than I think some of the shows that have mysteries is we’ll have answers for all of them. So it won’t be as frustrating as some shows wind up being.

Are you referring to Lost?
I wasn’t! I don’t want to insult anyone.

You’ve played doubles before, too—you were robot Buffy for a while.
I think any performance should have duality. I’m sort of fascinated by that aspect of people—you know, we’re someone at work, someone different in our home life, someone different in a party atmosphere—and that’s what we’re exploring here, not just the duality of the twins but the duality of each character.

You’re an executive producer.
Does that mean you have more power? I don’t know about power so much as it’s about protecting the show you want to make. And also making sure you have really good craft service.

Is it fun being able to beat people up again?
You know, I’m hoping for the least amount of that as possible, because even though you’re beating people up, you get pretty beat up, and let’s be honest: I’m a little older now, so it’s more running away. But Bridget knows how to protect herself, and she gets to shoot a gun, which is really cool because Buffy never got a gun.

What do you think of the new Buffy movie—without the original creator, Joss Whedon, being involved?
Ugh, I mean honestly … I think it’s the stupidest idea. Buffy is Joss Whedon, so if you’re going to do a movie with other people, like, just make a movie about a girl who kills vampires. It’s such a dumb idea … I don’t think it’ll ever happen.

Buffy’s Sister Act