With TV pilot season in full swing, there’s one that has all eyes on it: CBS’ hot property, Ringer, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar.
While pilot season is generally a rash of networks giving the thumbs-up to promising projects ahead of May’s upfront season when the TV network powers that be determine what will make it on to the 2011-12 primetime schedule, it’s not usually a time when there’s interest so great that it warrants an extensive Q&A with a producer involved.
But when Buffy the Vampire Slayer herself plans a comeback to network TV in a role that truly captivating, all bets are off. Entertainment Weekly fed the pop culture monster hungry for more details on Ringer, and caught up with producer Peter Traugott (Samantha Who?) and got the inside scoop.
Initially described as a drama about a “troubled young woman on the run who hides out by living the life of her wealthy twin sister, until she learns her sibling’s life has a bounty on it as well,” Ringer is a dual story of redemption and revenge for sisters Bridget and Siobhan — both roles Gellar will portray.
“She plays two characters: One is Bridget, the sister who takes over Siobhan’s life — Siobhan’s the other sister,” Traugott told EW. “The sisters reunite after having been estranged for a long time, and when they reunite, Siobhan dies. She falls … you know, in a boating accident.”
Traugott noted that the role compares to Gellar’s performance in Cruel Intentions, where she played the villain you were rooting for to succeed. “How do we find something where her character has some edge, there’s some darkness to her, she doesn’t always do the right thing, but at the end of the day, you’re also rooting for her? And that’s what we were looking for in this. Obviously, Buffy was a hero, a kick-ass hero, and we wanted to be true to that with Sarah,” he said.
While Bridget/Siobhan will be “very different” from Buffy, Traugott maintained that there is “a lot there for the audience to grab onto,” including an overriding arc revolving around Bridget trying to find out who is trying to “kill Siobhan and now her, in Siobhan’s shoes.”
But the big coop was getting Gellar back to network TV after the actress had her heart set on cable (her 2008 pilot for HBO, The Wonderful Maladys, failed to make it past that stage) but agreed after reading and loving the script.
“I’m excited that there’s a piece of material she’s excited about and obviously as a producer, I wanna get this show on the air, and as a big fan of Sarah’s, I just want to watch her on TV again,” he said. “It seems like America wants to, and it seems like CBS was a fan from what I saw. Hopefully if we do our jobs right we’ll have an opportunity. We’re excited. She’s iconic.”
Now that we know a bit more about Ringer, what qualities would you like to see Bridget/Siobhan have in common with Buffy?