Comic-Con: TV's 6 Most Wanted Women
THR: For many of you, these are new or recently renewed shows. Take us back to the moments before you got the official word. What were you feeling?
GELLAR: Oh, it's cruel. It's cruel. It's the worst process. You are literally standing by a phone and they really don't tell you until the night before, unless you are in New York. You are literally waiting, and you don't want to pack a suitcase. I think what they do is secretly have all of the flights reserved under all of the actors' names who they might pick up. I remember having to give all of our information ahead of time
ROBERTSON: It's so funny that they do it so late in the process.
Q: The CW, especially!
TORV: The casting as well. You get cast two, three days before you're about to shoot. And establishing a character at that point that you don't realize you could play for four years, it's like, my goodness!
GELLAR: I signed with Buffy the day before the first production meeting.
THR: At this stage, how involved are you in crafting the storylines for your characters?
GELLAR: I'm an executive producer on our show, and I've been with it since we created it. So I probably have a little bit more depth, but at the same time I don't bill myself as a writer.
MORRISON: With Once Upon a Time, it's been really nice. Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz are the showrunners, and they're really inclusive and really collaborative, so it's been a lot of asking us what we think and how we feel. … When you sit down and talk with them about the show, it's like they've watched six years of it already. There's so much detail in how all these worlds cross over and how these fairy-tale characters exist … but in terms of all of the little details of who they really are, their pasts and how they react to things, they're very inclusive. It's so different for me because on House, it was very much like, "Here's what you do," and you just listen and do it. On Once Upon a Time, it's been sort of like: "Oh, you want to know what I want to wear? Here's some pictures I was thinking about …"
GELLAR: Does that mean you never get to wear the fairy-tale outfits?
MORRISON: Well, someday I think I will end up being in a fairy tale. … I am full-blooded fairy tale, but I've just lived in reality my whole life. I'm the child of Snow White and Prince Charming, I'll have you know.
Q: They had sex?
MORRISON: They got married!
GELLAR: It would be better if it were like Prince Charming and Aurora from Sleeping Beauty.
Q: Or Ariel from The Little Mermaid.
THR: What is the most personal piece that is infused into your characters?
STRAHOVSKI: The physical aspect. … I've always been a bit of a tomboy, so I think all of the action and stunts have always been a part of me. I love doing that stuff, and now my character has sort of evolved from being very comfortable in the spy world but not very comfortable with being a normal person with family and a boyfriend and stuff. She's evolved into a more natural human being and more easygoing in social situations. It's nice to be bringing that into it … to be more normal on the show but still being the spy.
ROBERTSON: The interesting thing with genre-specific TV is that the writers are really the people who you have to rely on. … It's strange because I have no idea what I'm saying on a regular basis, so it forces you to be more vocal with the writers and the creative process.
GELLAR: I'll teach you the trick to that.
ROBERTSON: Will you, please?
GELLAR: The truth is that in any of these worlds, whoever says it first makes up the name. No matter what it says in the script, you say it first and everybody else has to say it. … Even if it's not in your dialogue, work in the name of whatever the warlock is for that week.
ROBERTSON: I like it. I like it.
THR: What is the biggest challenge or frustration of working in the TV business, for you?
MORRISON: The hours on a drama are just nasty.
Q: I worked for a producer on my show who Sarah worked with on Buffy. It was like six months in, and I wanted to kill myself …
GELLAR: Ah, Buffy the Weekend Slayer. … The thing I'm grateful for is that I don't have to do the stunts anymore. In the Ringer pilot, I was the one who got knocked down. My entire stunt was getting knocked around. The producers and directors were so nervous; they wanted to use the stunt double and use pads.
Q: The physicality is so hard. It is the hardest thing you can do. Then you also get a 60-page script every nine days, and you're the lead and you're doing action. It's almost impossible. I nearly had a meltdown in the first season.
TORV: You can surely get hit in the head and go into a coma, can't you?
Q: Right? Or do that to myself.
STRAHOVSKI: I thought it was illegal when I first came here from Australia. … Long hours make it interesting. You have to do a fight scene at like 5 a.m.
GELLAR: And it's freezing. Your muscles are completely tightening up.
STRAHOVSKI: And you're wearing a little, short skimpy thing with high heels.
Q: I'm just like, "No." It's my favorite word. Do you want this to be real? You want me to go and really beat someone's ass? I can do it in a real way, but I'm not going to do it in a skirt.
GELLAR: You also have accidents. That's how it happens: You're tired and you know you're kicking someone, and you actually make contact because you're exhausted or you're not taking the proper safety precautions.