"We have only hybrid cars. We recycle. We have a saltwater pool. Anything we can think of, we do," says Sarah Michelle Gellar, the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" star who returns to TV in a dual role in "Ringer," a twisty mystery series about identical twin sisters with major secrets and complicated lives. In the drama, premiering Sept. 13 on the CW, Gellar plays both stripper-turned-waitress, recovering alcoholic Bridget, a witness to a mob hit, and her twin Siobhan, a pampered New York socialite, and their reunion leads to all kinds of trouble involving identity swapping, adultery, pregnancy, a disappearance and a faked death.
Gellar will be seen as both sisters, in present and in '90s-set flashbacks, which CG techniques like face replacement and stop-motion cameras make possible. She's not having trouble keeping them straight. "When I'm Bridget, I feel that all of Bridget's motivations are hers and Siobhan is wrong. And when I'm Siobhan, everything Bridget does is wrong. I try to get into the head of each of them," she says. She offers several reasons why she chose to return to TV.
"I was very burned out after 'Buffy.' I was 18 on the pilot, and I was 24 and married when we finished. I had never had time; that show was my life," she begins, explaining that afterward, she was eager to "live the gypsy lifestyle" by making movies on location. "I was always in foreign countries and would watch shows on DVD. And I started to realize that all of the amazing roles for women were on television and it was something that was always in the back of my mind. And then once I had my daughter, I realized that I was done living the romantic lifestyle, and although it works for some actors, I want to be home. We're filming out here, because that was important to me. My daughter goes to school here. I want to put her to bed and get up with her in the morning, and nothing offers that more than television," she points out. "What's been so interesting for me getting back into it was I didn't realize how much I missed it, how much I missed seeing the same people and the family environment and the excitement of getting the new episode. I think if I hadn't had the time away, I wouldn't have been able to appreciate the experience that I'm appreciating now."
Looking back at her "Buffy" years, she's "proud of the show, the work we did and its legacy. I didn't feel that I was trapped because I got to do so much. How many times in any actor's life do you get to be a part of something that has a legacy like that? And if people think that I can save the world and kick butt, like, I'm OK with that." As Bridget on "Ringer," she's "not saving the world, she's just trying to save herself," Gellar compares. "But I do get to hold a gun a lot, which is cool. Buffy never got a gun."