On the set of the CW's new drama "Ringer," the cast and crew use refillable personal water bottles and get script updates electronically. "I get a hard copy but I don't need all the other pages, and it saves the production assistants a trip to go to your house and drop them off. It makes a lot of sense, and saves a lot of paper," notes Nestor Carbonell. In the series, which premiered Sept. 13 and stars Sarah Michelle Gellar in a dual role, Carbonell plays an FBI agent trying to track down one of the twins, a witness to a murder, unaware she's impersonating her wealthy sister. "The first episode after the pilot has a real Hitchcock feel to it. It deals with the aftermath of what happened in the pilot," he says, noting that he's "had a lot of fun with the cat-and-mouse between our characters."
Having played "a very twisted FBI agent" in the movie "Smokin' Aces," he thought the role of Victor Machado "had elements of that, an authoritative guy who's a little messed up. There's a dark side to him. He's got some secrets — everyone's got secrets in the show, and motives that may be morally questionable. But who wants to play the nice guy? I don't think I'm going to find out his back story for a while, but I'm pretty comfortable with that." Coming from "Lost," he's certainly used to mysterious plots. "'Lost' spoiled me. It was a groundbreaking show and they wrote me some amazing stuff. I knew it was going to be impossible to follow that. But I read 'Ringer' and liked the role and that it was a serialized thriller," says Carbonell, who'll reprise his role as Mayor Garcia in "The Dark Knight Rises" next summer and also appear in the Mexico-shot, '20s-set epic "Christiada."
"Ringer" reunites Carbonell with Ioan Gruffudd, with whom he'd starred in the short-lived legal drama "Century City." Gruffudd plays Andrew Martin, a wealthy banker married to one twin and unaware of the switch. "He's slightly ambiguous. We're not sure what his background is. We're not sure why their marriage has soured. Is it something Andrew has done? What are his duplicitous aspects?" Questions like those intrigued Gruffudd who liked the "heightened soap opera" aspects; the fact that he gets to wear gorgeous contemporary clothing instead of period costumes also appealed to the veteran of "Horatio Hornblower," "The Forsyte Saga," and other period fare. "Slipping into a nice Tom Ford suit every day is a bit of a treat."
The Welsh-born actor, most recently seen in a cameo as the "Wetwork Man" in "Horrible Bosses," has lived in Los Angeles for eight years, and is now married with a two-year-old daughter. "We recycle nearly everything. With the baby, we use hand me downs and buy secondhand clothes online. A lot of her shoes are secondhand shoes that we eBayed. We use organic milk," says Gruffudd, but he draws the line at "boiling cloth nappies" like his parents did. "At least we get the biodegradable diapers," he says, noting his favorite method to conserve water. "We all have a shower or a bath at the same time, which is kind of fun."
Also a father, to three young boys, Kristoffer Polaha reports that his five-year-old and seven-year-old go to a green school that "showed the parents how to pack the lunches in reusable containers. They take the kids on trips to places like the Tree People, and the school has a garden where they grow food. They have a sale at the end of the year." Polaha recycles, plans to add a compost bin to his yard, and recently traded his Escalade for a Buick Enclave "that's a little more fuel-efficient."
Last seen as the lovable Baze in the CW's "Life Unexpected," Polaha is back on the network as a very different character, a philandering husband. "Baze came to me very easily. He was sort of a guy that was in me and I was able to channel that easily. Henry is cheating on his wife so he starts out in an unlikeable situation. It's definitely a challenge," he says. "Ringer" isn't his first encounter with Sarah Michelle Gellar. "I read for Sarah and Joss Whedon for the role of Riley on 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' like 11 years ago," he reveals. "I didn't get that job."
Photos: Jordan Nuttall/The CW (Nestor Carbonell) and Art Streiber/The CW (Kris Polaha, Ioan Gruffudd)