Comic-Con: TV's 6 Most Wanted Women
Fans of Sarah Michelle Gellar may be surprised to hear that they could find themselves sitting next to her in ballroom 20. The last time the former Buffy the Vampire Slayer star attended Comic-Con, she did so in costume.
That's one of many revelations to come out of our June 24 conversation with Gellar (the CW's suspense thriller Ringer), Jennifer Morrison (ABC's fairy tale drama Once Upon a Time), Britt Robertson (the CW's supernatural series The Secret Circle), Yvonne Strahovski (NBC's Chuck), Maggie Q (the CW's Nikita) and Anna Torv (Fox's Fringe).
After the actresses posed for what can only be described as a fanboy's fantasy, they gathered at the Montage Hotel to discuss the demands of the TV business, the advantages (and disadvantages) of genre TV and the keys to surviving Comic-Con in a no-holds-barred conversation moderated by THR's Lacey Rose and Borys Kit.
The Hollywood Reporter: Some of you are on shows that are not yet on the air but already have this incredible buzz. How does that feel?
BRITT ROBERTSON: It's a cool thing. We're working with Kevin Williamson, who did The Vampire Diaries. It has a sort of cult following, and I think because of that, and since we are sort of its sister show, people are excited for The Secret Circle. I guess we're just hoping that we don't let people down.
THR: Does that put more pressure on you?
JENNIFER MORRISON: Our show is from the writers of Lost, and it's at ABC, so there's all of this pressure to live up to Lost -- the fan base, the hype. But it's also exciting because you know you are working with people who are really good at what they do and have been very successful at it before.
SARAH MICHELLE GELLAR: I definitely feel pressure. It's not outside pressure; it's pressure because the fans have been so loyal, you want to … make them happy. There's definitely something to be said for being the quiet show that gets to build on its own merit, as opposed to an expectation that already exists.
MAGGIE Q: I think that's because with you, you have a big fan base and you have been very successful. So people are actually excited to see you come back to TV. No pressure.
ROBERTSON: Just don't let us down, OK?
THR: A lot has changed since Buffy the Vampire Slayer. You have less time to find an audience the way Buffy did, for instance, and Comic-Con certainly isn't what it was 10 years ago.
GELLAR: No, when we started, I don't think we even really knew what Comic-Con was. It was just genre-specific shows. Now you hear about a panel, and you have no idea what it actually has to do with Comic-Con. But it's pretty incredible. I always say to actresses, if you haven't been -- this is going to sound really funny -- but get a mask and take a look around. I'm serious. For most of us, it's our first week of shooting, and you have no time. You get rushed into your panel and you come out of the backside, and you never actually see the main hall. It's pretty amazing.
ROBERTSON: So you get a character mask?
MORRISON: It's normal for anyone to walk around in masks.
GELLAR: Yeah, it's really incredible to see, even for 20 minutes.
THR: Did you put on a costume and go in?
GELLAR: Possibly … (Laughs.)
MORRISON: She can't give her secrets away!
ANNA TORV: I went and had a look around the first year that I went down there. The show wasn't on the air yet and everybody was at our panel to hear J.J. [Abrams] speak, so I was quite fine to go and have a look. And then, you know, it changes bit by bit. It's one of the few opportunities that you actually get to sit and talk to people who watch your show and have an interaction with them.
THR: Britt and Jennifer have never been to Comic-Con. Any other advice for them on how to survive it?
ROBERTSON: Yeah, bring it on. What can you tell us besides the masks?
GELLAR: I think I gave my best advice … I think it's different when you're going with a new show because it is hard. You don't want to raise expectations to a level that you can't meet.
MORRISON: And you want to bring that audience in. You want to say what you should say to have them want to watch.
Q: This year, you'll say, "It's going to be this"; "It's going to be that." Next year when you come back, it's going to be great. People who come are already going to be fans of the show. So you're going to be answering specific questions about the show, which is much more fun than trying to be like, "It's not going to suck, I promise."
MORRISON: For the record, my favorite fairy tale growing up was Cinderella. I've been asked 8,000 times. I'm sure I'll be asked 8,000 more times.
Q: Or somebody asks 8,000 times: "Could you really beat someone up in a bar?" "Do you think you could really kill someone?" I'm like, "I think anyone can kill someone."
GELLAR: I still get that question.
Q: I think to myself, "I could beat you up right now."
GELLAR: I think I've actually answered with that before.
Q: Oh, have you? I'm going to steal your line.