Known for her iconic role as Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Sarah Michelle Gellar is once again taking on the supernatural with her new show Wolf Pack.
Having described some behaviour on the ’90s hit drama as toxic, she told Sky News that now she’s an executive producer, she wanted to use her influence to ensure the only monsters she fights are on screen.
“I needed to have a set that was communicative, that was collaborative, where everybody had a voice,” Gellar explained.
“And, you know, when I was growing up in this industry, we were told not to, and if we did, we were difficult.
“And I think this isn’t a Hollywood thing – when you’re new in a job, you don’t want to make waves, you accept a lot of stuff that should be unacceptable, and I needed to have the power to change that and to be on the set that I wanted to be on, and not just that I wanted to be on, that everybody wanted to be on.
“Look, we get to play make believe, it’s really fun, but there’s long hours involved and there’s dangerous stunts and there’s, you know, all sorts of things, and I needed it to be a safe place for everyone.”
On Wolf Pack, Gellar is no longer one of the youngest people on set. Her character is an investigator looking into a wildfire that has seemingly awakened a mysterious creature – and in the process changed the lives of two teenagers.
But learning from her own experiences, the star took practical action to ensure younger cast and crew on Wolf Pack were comfortable during filming.
She said: “I was like, here’s my cell phone, call me – and I think it was easier for them to speak to me if something was bothering them.”
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She added: “It’s hard when it’s your producer, boss, network and everyone has a bottom line – I don’t have one, I’m here to make all of this work and work well.
“And by the way, not just for the actors – I said that to the crew, too, to the production assistants: If you’re too tired, and the hours are too long, let me know. There’s Uber now, there’s a really easy way for people not to get in car accidents when they’re working, it’s nothing to a production to call an Uber and guess what? If production won’t pay for it, I’ll get you an Uber.”
‘The scariest things in life emotionally scare us’
It’s 20 years since Buffy ended and Gellar says she was drawn back to the genre not by mythical creatures, but what they represent.
“To me, the scariest things in life are what emotionally scare us, and that’s what this monster is that metaphor for and really dealing with anxiety,” the actress explained.
“You know, that’s a word we throw around a lot right now, we’re all feeling it, we’re bombarded with news 24/7, and what it does and this constant stream of information.
“The idea is that anxiety is actually your body running at peak condition, but we don’t know what to do with that, so when you harness that, you can actually make that your superpower – and if we have the tools to really deal with anxiety, what would we be capable of?”
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How star got through COVID
But she admits she nearly didn’t get involved with Wolf Pack at all – initially saying no when asked to look at the script, joking that it was “animal instinct” that took over when she eventually relented.
“The idea of the pack to me just really hit home. It was the right time, you know, we were just coming out of COVID where if it wasn’t for my pack, my pod, if you will, I wouldn’t have gotten through it,” Gellar said.
“And what it’s like when you don’t have that and how lonely that feels.
“I surprised myself when I said yes, it surprised Jeff [Davis – the show’s creator], it surprised my team – it was a very just emotional response to material that meant something to me.”
Wolf Pack is streaming now on Paramount +