Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ringer
Before she was Buffy, Sarah Michelle Gellar played Kendall Hart, the daughter of Erica Kane (Susan Lucci) on All My Children. With the soap opera going off the air in September, Gellar has made plans to return — but not as Kendall. In fact, she doesn't exactly know what she'll be doing at all, since Kendall has been played Alicia Minshew for the past several years.
"I can today officially confirm that I will be doing a guest-spot," Gellar said Thursday during the fall TV preview session for her new CW series Ringer. "When I heard the show was canceled, I didn't understand. It just doesn't make sense to me. I called [the casting director] and said, 'I want to do something.' But I was very specific: I don't want to be Kendall. That's Alicia's role, but I wanted to be a part of it. I have no idea what I'm going to be doing... I will be doing one day. I'm excited."
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But back to Ringer, the new noir mystery featuring Gellar in a dual role premiering this fall. The story follows recovering alcoholic Bridget, a key-witness in the murder of a fellow stripper, who escapes witness protection. She turns to her estranged twin sister, New York City socialite Siobhan, for help. But soon after their reunion, Siobhan appears to commit suicide, leading a desperate Bridget to take on her identity. The problem? Siobhan is actually alive and on the run from some unsavory people, leaving Bridget to sift her way through her sister's cutthroat betrayals, infidelity and revenge.
It's a tangled web the writers are attempting to weave, and when asked by reporters if they intended on providing answers on a routine basis — especially in a post-Lost era — they said yes. When the series was originally pitched, the executive producers had three seasons already mapped out. "We know where we're going," executive producer Nicole Snyder said. "Our goal is to sustain the 'gasp' moments and the tease that we established in the pilot... until the big punch at the end of the first season. And then we'll start all over again."
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Gellar, too, feels the pre-emptive anxiety. "I'm a television watcher and I get frustrated with shows sometimes when they set up puzzles and they don't give answers," she said. "One of things that's really important to all of us is that we will give answers to the questions. Yes, they bring up some more questions and more mysteries, but there will be answers and you will understand the motivations and circumstances of why this happened."
Ringer will utilize flashbacks to unravel the mysteries of the series. "Right now, we're sort of aiming for two to three flashbacks per episode, usually they're all me," Gellar said. "Sometimes we have a younger set of girls... The flashbacks are a good way to give answers to the story."
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Producers also cited Damages as a structural inspiration for the storytelling. "We wanted to play with time and perspective... that gives you a lot of latitude," executive producer Eric Charmelo said. "Essentially, you're able to tell the same story, but from a different perspective, and from a different perspective, it's a different story."
As for playing two completely different characters, Gellar said her challenge would be to create complicated, damaged women who audiences can sympathize with. "Their journeys, in both of their minds, are justified," Gellar said. "With Siobhan, it's funny to call her a bi---, but something happened to her that was tragic... For Bridget, she's made a lot of mistakes, but ultimately she's trying to redeem herself. I think everybody can understand what it's like when you want to make better the mistakes you made in the past."
Ringer premieres Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 9/8c on the CW.