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Comic-Con 2011: Sarah Michelle Gellar: 'I'm Not Trying to Re-Create 'Buffy''

The "Ringer" star jokes that neither one of the twins she plays on the upcoming CW series "wants to save the world."

Sarah Michelle Gellar
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Sarah Michelle Gellar

When former Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Sarah Michelle Gellar opted to make her return to series television with Ringer, a psychological thriller that started at CBS and wound up at the CW, she did it in a big way: playing equally troubled twins.

Ringer executive producer Eric Charmelo notes that Gellar first came across the script two years ago.

“She came across the script two years ago and at the time she was doing Wonderful Maladys for HBO and she had responded to the script but was committed to something else,” Charmelo said during a roundtable discussion with reporters Thursday at Comic-Con. “That didn’t go and we sat on it for six months and Sarah called us again and said, ‘I’ve read a million pilot scripts and nothing came across that piqued my interest as much as this, so let’s set it up.’

“She came on board as a producer and we started taking meetings with networks and ultimately ended up at CBS, and now we’re at the CW,” Charmelo noted of the process.

While Buffy enthusiasts have been waiting years – and embracing the eighth season of the series in its comic form, Gellar noted that the project that would mark her return had big shoes to fill.

“When you have a show that's iconic that people love, it's very hard to find what that next thing is,” Gellar said. “The best way to [pick a project] it is to take the break and really look for the project that is as exciting and is as rewarding as the experience that you had before.

“I'm not trying to re-create Buffy and I'm not trying to top it. I'm trying to do something that the fans, who have been so good to me, will love,” she added. “I'm a television watcher and this is the kind of show that I would watch.”

While the series was developed for CBS, Charmelo noted that the Ringer’s initial concept – and the pilot – hasn’t changed much now that it’s being produced for the younger-skewing CW.

“It honestly hasn’t [changed],” Charmelo said. “For the most part, the pilot that we shot for CBS is the pilot that will air for CW. The CW really embraced the noir and serialized thriller aspect of it.”

“When we pitched it to CBS, we had three seasons worth of stories percolating; obviously things changed as we’re still writing but we were thinking in the macro rather than in terms of micro,” Charmelo noted of his vision for the series.

Comic-Con 2011: Full THR Coverage

Gellar noted Ringer won’t make the mistake that other serial procedurals have done in leaving the audience hanging with more questions than answers. “What's different about this show is that Nicole and Eric have mapped out where all these mysteries are going through the first three years so that there are answers to these questions.”

As for plans of aBuffy the Vampire Slayer reunion on the thriller, executive producer Nicole Snyder was played it cool, noting: “We haven’t gotten that far yet.” Added Charmelo, with a laugh: “Never say never, I guess.”

Check out a video of Ringer’s Gellar and co-star Nestor Carbonell (who plays FBI agent Victor Machado) below to see how Gellar views the very different lives of twins Bridget and Siobhan.

“The way I look at it is Bridget's story is of redemption and that's what motivates her and everything she does," Gellar says. "Siobhan's story is a story of revenge and what motivates her, and to me, that seems very different because Buffy's motivations were so different. Neither Siobhan nor Bridget wants to save the world.”

Ringer premieres Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 9 p.m. on the CW.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit