2022 Sep 16

Sarah for The New York Times

Sarah Michelle Gellar Returns to High School Drama — as the Headmaster

NY TIMES – After a break from the spotlight, the actress is poised for a comeback, starting with a role in the Netflix film “Do Revenge.”

Sarah Michelle Gellar was jet-lagged from her commute. She had just flown back to Los Angeles from a few days filming the forthcoming “Teen Wolf” spinoff series in Atlanta. Her decision to join “Wolf Pack,” as both a star and executive producer, partly depended on the freedom to stay based in L.A. with her family and commute to the set, packing only a carry-on for each East Coast stint.

After an extended hiatus from acting, the actress, now 45, is in the budding phase of what she considers her “adult career.” And this time around, Gellar is working on her own terms.

“I think I’ve earned it in a very honest way,” she said in a recent video call. “I come with 40 years of experience. Some good, some bad, some in between.”

First up: a small role in the high school dark comedy “Do Revenge” (out Friday on Netflix), directed by Jennifer Kaytin Robinson. More than 20 years after Gellar played the crucifix-carrying, cocaine-snorting Kathryn Merteuil in “Cruel Intentions,” she is once again surrounded by scheming teens onscreen. Only now, she’s their advice-giving headmaster.

“I wouldn’t want to be 17 again for anything,” she said. “Thirty two maybe, but not 17.”

Gellar began acting as a child in the 1980s before eventually becoming one of the biggest names in Y2K-era young Hollywood, thanks to roles in “Cruel Intentions” and “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” and the TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

Calling from the L.A. home she shares with her husband, Freddie Prinze Jr., and their two children, Gellar sat in front of a monochrome bookshelf displaying a People’s Choice Award and a “Hamilton” book signed by the original Broadway cast (a gift from Lin-Manuel Miranda). These are edited excerpts from our conversation.

How did your role in “Do Revenge” come about?
I’ve taken quite a few years off, and I was just getting into the mind-set of, OK, I think I’m ready to go back to work, but I wasn’t 100 percent there yet. They sent me the script, and I said, it’s not really for me. I mean, if I was in my 20s, I would be clawing to star in that. But let me meet with Jenn. Within the first 10 minutes I realized, Oh, she’s my new best friend. I said, “I want to come in and chew some scenery and go home. I just want to dip my toes in the water.”

When they sent you the script, was it to play the headmaster?
There was no role. Jenn is a big “Cruel Intentions” fan and just said, “Do you think we can write something?” And we sort of came up with the character together. We designed the office together. We even tried to give the headmaster a name, de Merteuil’s real name from “Dangerous Liaisons.” But it felt a little too hammer on the nail.

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