Sarah Michelle Gellar plays a set of twins in her new CW show Ringer, but it’s up in the air as to which is the evil one. The former Buffy star plays the glamorous city girl Siobahn and the recovering addict Bridget, both of whom have led secretive lives apart from one another — until now. When they meet up in New York and take a boat trip, Siobahn disappears and Bridget, thinking her sister has committed suicide, decides to go back to shore and live as Siobahn.
Siobahn has a handsome husband and lover, but Bridget doesn’t know anything about her life, and is trying to keep up the act while entertaining an FBI agent who is looking into “Bridget’s” disappearance. It’s all very intense and a thriller that you won’t be able to ignore, especially if you’re a SMG fan.
While at the TCA CW panel last week, Sarah Michelle explained how she is able to convincingly play the lead two characters, in the same room.
It’s really interesting because 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, you know, 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. But ultimately what you find is, even though there is all this technology, you want the heart of the scene, and the heart of the scene is two people talking to each other. So we try, each time the twins are together now, and do one shot where they touch each other or they cross over each other, but on the whole it’s more about the communication.
Despite Ringer being very high-drama and filled with tension, there isn’t actually much fighting in store for Sarah.
“We don’t have a ton of stunts in the sense of, you know, Buffy,” she said. “There were a few stunts in the pilot. There was the crash through the wall, which they would not let me do, which I still don’t understand why I couldn’t do it, something about insurance or — I don’t know. … So far, it’s only been kind of running and chasing. … So 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.”
The show actually doesn’t have a lot in common with Buffy, outside of its star, but Sarah is convinced that she has chosen something longtime fans will enjoy.
“When picking a show, I took into consideration who my fans are, because, let’s be honest, I mean, we were a midseason replacement on The WB based on a failed movie, Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Sarah said. ” If it wasn’t for the outpouring of fans, and the journalists too, supporting us, we would have been canceled after four episodes. And you — I think as an actor, sure you want to stretch and you want to do different things, but I think it’s also our job to think about who our fans are and what they want to see too. Because, let’s be honest, ultimately that’s why we do what we do. I mean, I do it to entertain the people that want to watch what I do.”
In fact, Sarah has no qualms with fans who will always want her to be Buffy, and nothing else.
“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,” Sarah said. ” 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 became a mother. She was a mother to all the slayers. So I didn’t feel that I was trapped because I got to do so much. And then, I did, I went and I played all these other characters for a while. And, you know, I — how many times in any actor’s life do you get to be a part of something that has a legacy like that? So I think it’s only fortunate. I haven’t — I don’t see the negative. And if people think that I can save the world and kick butt, like, I’m OK with that.”
Us, too. And since we trust Buffy/Sarah’s judgement, we should give Ringer a try. She wouldn’t lead us astray.
Ringer premieres Sept. 13 on The CW.