Sarah Michelle Gellar was jet-lagged from her commute. She had simply flown again to Los Angeles from a couple of days filming the forthcoming “Teen Wolf” spinoff sequence in Atlanta. Her determination to hitch “Wolf Pack,” as each a star and government producer, partly relied on the liberty to remain based mostly in L.A. along with her household and commute to the set, packing solely a carry-on for every East Coast stint.
After an prolonged hiatus from performing, the actress, now 45, is within the budding section of what she considers her “grownup profession.” And this time round, Gellar is engaged on her personal phrases.
“I believe I’ve earned it in a really sincere method,” she mentioned in a latest video name. “I include 40 years of expertise. Some good, some dangerous, some in between.”
First up: a small function in the highschool darkish comedy “Do Revenge” (out Friday on Netflix), directed by Jennifer Kaytin Robinson. Greater than 20 years after Gellar performed the crucifix-carrying, cocaine-snorting Kathryn Merteuil in “Merciless Intentions,” she is as soon as once more surrounded by scheming teenagers onscreen. Solely now, she’s their advice-giving headmaster.
“I wouldn’t need to be 17 once more for something,” she mentioned. “Thirty two possibly, however not 17.”
Gellar started performing as a toddler within the Eighties earlier than finally turning into one of many greatest names in Y2K-era younger Hollywood, because of roles in “Merciless Intentions” and “I Know What You Did Final Summer season,” and the TV sequence “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
(After the “Buffy” creator Joss Whedon confronted allegations of abusive habits, Gellar wrote in a 2021 assertion that she stood “with all survivors of abuse” and was “pleased with them for talking out.” Whedon has disputed lots of the accusations however admitted he had affairs with younger feminine solid members and that there have been conditions he “ought to have dealt with” higher.)
Calling from the L.A. house she shares along with her husband, Freddie Prinze Jr., and their two youngsters, Gellar sat in entrance of a monochrome bookshelf displaying a Individuals’s Selection Award and a “Hamilton” guide signed by the unique Broadway solid (a present from Lin-Manuel Miranda). These are edited excerpts from our dialog.
How did your function in “Do Revenge” come about?
I’ve taken fairly a couple of years off, and I used to be simply moving into the mind-set of, OK, I believe I’m prepared to return to work, however I wasn’t 100% there but. They despatched me the script, and I mentioned, it’s probably not for me. I imply, if I used to be in my 20s, I’d be clawing to star in that. However let me meet with Jenn. Inside the first 10 minutes I spotted, Oh, she’s my new greatest good friend. I mentioned, “I need to are available in and chew some surroundings and go house. I simply need to dip my toes within the water.”
Once they despatched you the script, was it to play the headmaster?
There was no function. Jenn is an enormous “Merciless Intentions” fan and simply mentioned, “Do you suppose we are able to write one thing?” And we form of got here up with the character collectively. We designed the workplace collectively. We even tried to offer the headmaster a reputation, de Merteuil’s actual title from “Harmful Liaisons.” But it surely felt a bit of too hammer on the nail.
Jenn advised me that in her thoughts, the headmaster is your “Merciless Intentions” character grown up. Was that the way you performed it?
Completely. I at all times say, I’m wondering what Kathryn’s doing now? Who does that particular person develop into? However we actually needed her to be a champion of ladies, too. She is constructing girls up for what you need to face as a feminine.
In “Do Revenge,” Drea (performed by Camila Mendes) is an identical, quasi-morally bankrupt character to Kathryn, however Drea will get to have a cheerful ending. Do you want Kathryn had a redemption arc in “Merciless Intentions”?
No. I believe that not every part in life will get wrapped up with a cheerful bow. There was by no means going to be a cheerful ending as a result of I don’t suppose she would permit herself to have it. The youth of right this moment take a look at it in a different way. They really feel like they deserve the completely happy ending, and thus, they are going to exit and get it. I believe that’s a very constructive factor.
You filmed an NBC pilot for a “Merciless Intentions” reboot sequence earlier than it fell aside in 2016. Would you be fascinated by revisiting it in new methods now?
I don’t know. That was a complete loopy time. Nothing in opposition to NBC, however “Merciless Intentions” is straight streaming. On the primary day, I used to be like, “This isn’t working.” It’s simply not a community present. And if it’s a community present, it’s not my “Merciless Intentions.” So, I used to be really grateful.
You’ve been on this enterprise a very long time. Did you have got usually good experiences as a teen and younger girl within the business?
No. It was actually onerous. There weren’t nice feminine roles after I got here up. It was the girlfriend function, the spouse function. That’s why Buffy was so spectacular, as a result of she actually had one thing to do, after which we had “I Know What You Did,” the place it was the ladies figuring issues out. That was all a brand new flip of occasions.
That was on the script aspect of it. After which there’s the opposite aspect of being a younger lady within the enterprise. Rising up in New York, I had a bit of little bit of avenue sense going into it, which is useful. However no, it was not straightforward. And I’ve had my fair proportion of experiences, I’ve simply chosen not — I don’t win by telling my tales, emotionally, for me. I take a look at folks that inform their tales, and I’m so impressed. However on this world the place individuals get torn aside, and sufferer blaming and shaming, I simply preserve my tales in right here.
Earlier this 12 months, you posted a selfie with the caption, “I can’t take again the previous, however I can struggle for the long run.” Is there any extra behind that you simply needed to share?
Particularly now, I am going into my initiatives as an government producer. “Wolf Pack,” for instance. I’ve these two younger women and two younger boys [acting] on it. I’ve made it very clear from Day 1 that if there are issues the manufacturing needs to speak to them about, I would like them to undergo me. As a result of I’ve been there. And I would like [the performers] to at all times have a protected area.
But in addition, I at all times attempt to are available in with a smile on my face and set a tone on a set. We’re all equals. It doesn’t matter what job somebody does, they get handled precisely the identical. After I was on “Buffy,” I made certain that I did each job a minimum of one time, in order that I understood what everybody did. I held the increase; I attempted to combine sound — I used to be actually dangerous at it; focus pulling. I believe plenty of younger actors go, “My job is to indicate up and say my traces.” Probably not. Your job is to be a part of the entire group.
You and Freddie have been married 20 years. What do you attribute that longevity to?
I believe we reside in a really disposable world proper now. After I was a child, in case your TV broke, you carried it to the restore store and bought your TV mounted. Now, in case your TV breaks, you go get a brand new one. I believe typically we take a look at relationships like that. You need to be prepared to place within the work. That’s one thing we’ve at all times been prepared to do. You will have ups and downs, however you don’t stroll away.
So, is that this the start of a full-blown S.M.G. renaissance?
I believe so. You typically need to step away to overlook one thing. I’d been working my entire life. I did “The Loopy Ones” [opposite Robin Williams] when my son was weeks previous. I assumed, I can do that for the following 5 years and be a mother. And when Robin handed away, I simply needed to re-evaluate every part. I noticed what it did to him. And I wanted that probability to be a mother or father and be current. That point away simply made me recognize what I get to do now.