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March 22 2005

Sarah Michelle Gellar talks about acting. SMG interview published earlier in german papers is now available as a transcript. Topics include "The Grudge", "Southland Tales" and acting in general (pdf viewer req).

As there was a rumour about "SMG's Romantic Comedy" recently, I find her thoughts about movie roles for women especially interesting:

(Typecasting:) It’s not even that so much, it’s just that I don’t know if in films the three-dimensional female characters are as prevalent. They’re harder to find. I mean if one more person asks me today: How come you don’t make a romantic movie? But the truth is: I find it very clichéd, I don’t understand what is interesting about watching a woman pining away for a man and do silly things to get his attention, I don’t appreciate that, I think we’ve come way past that. You get a movie every once in a while like »Pretty Woman« where a woman stands alone or Bridget Jones where there’s an individual, that I find interesting, but those a very far and few between.

Thanks for that TactGuy, I have been looking for a translation of that interview, I thought it was one of the better interviews in the Grudge series of promotions, the journalist seems to be both quite knowledgeable and a fan of SMG's work.
Well, if a girl doesn't want to talk about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, then a girl just won't. That said, this really is one of the most indepth interviews I've ever read with SMG - sometimes she is so quick with the retorts and the one-liners that you're left wondering whether there's anyone behind them. An especially interesting statement, given her opinionated personality, is when she insists that her role is to fulfill the director's intent - obviously, that is why her work with Joss was so fruitful even when they had disagreements.
Her Asif Kapadia project sounds fascinating. I'm really looking forward to it.
I liked her comments on romantic movies and hopefully it will mean she will avoid starring in any poor films. Although personally I wasn't a big fan of 'Scream 2' or 'Scooby Doo' so perhaps that isn't always true.

I remember a few months ago when The Grudge was released SMG was on Jonathan Ross here in the UK, but the interview was pretty worthless, it basically consisted of her telling a long story about needing to go to the toilet when she was in Japan. Although to be honest the show is unfortunately more about the host making jokes as opposed to getting an insightful conversation.

Wonder why she didn't talk about Buffy? I realise it may get annoying getting asked the same questions, but if there are interesting questions than I feel she should as it was a big start to her career and has a large dedicated fan base. After all, almost every other actor or crew memeber ever involved with Buffy or Angel is happy to talk about it, so I feel she should too, it's not like it needs to be the only thing she is ever asked but it is important.
Wonder why she didn't talk about Buffy?

She doesn't appear to have been asked any direct questions about BtVS. That aside, it does seem that Gellar doesn't just want to be remembered for Buffy for the rest of her life. There are all sorts of ways in which we could choose to interpret this, but it is understandable that she wants to put some distance between herself and her signature role.

It may be that in years to come, if Gellar's film career really gets established, she will become more inclined to talk about BtVS. Mind you, were she to become a major film star (which I don't think will happen, to be honest) journalists would probably stop asking her about Buffy.
Always intrigued by SMG's perspective on things. She comes across as so intelligent. I do get the sense she's often frustrated that the questions she gets in interviews aren't more thoughtful, but this one was better than many I've read, in spite of the near-verbatim transcription.

The comments about Method and non-Method acting are interesting. I wonder exactly what AB meant by what she said: "I'm an actor, I don't channel." (The example of body odor made me laugh. If it's hard to project smelling bad, just imagine the actors working with you who have to pretend to be smelling how bad you smell! ;) I understand the concept of 'channeling' as it's used in this context probably means 'literally bring the character down into yourself, the actor, as if it was an entity or actual person inhabiting your body', but isn't any kind of acting 'channeling' to some degree, if the character is truly believable?

Maybe I don't get the distinction very well. Is there an actor in the house who can explain the difference a little better?
I'm not an actor, but funnily enough I was just reading something related in The Complete Slayer last night. Apparently, James Marsters was The Method man on Buffy, and there's a quote where he talks about SMG making fun of him for it and his own doubts about the practicality of maintaining a character on screen and off for the weeks or months required on a television series (as distinct from movies). This was in the context of playing crazy, stinky Spike in season 7.

As I understand it, the "on screen and off" maintenance of character is the main difference between Method and non-Method actors, but that may be a little simplistic.
Also not an actor but I did recall reading a quote from Lord Olivier on the subject of method acting and Googled away to find it here.
Basically, on watching what Dustin Hoffman put himself through (no food or sleep for days) in preparation for a particluar scene, Olivier said "Hasn't the dear boy heard of acting?"
I guess there are two very definite schools of thought on how best to approach the subject!
A bit harsh there, I think, WWBD, regarding the quickness of Sarah's retorts in interviews (you "wonder whether there's anyone behind them"?) What, she's scripted, or just a blank page? Either way, I think this misses the point that she's a feisty, interesting interviewee who's entertaining to watch. I also saw the Jonathan Ross interview, Razor, and I thought the loo tale was funny - difficult enough to get a word in with Jonathan Ross, let alone be able to tell a funny story with few interruptions! That said, knowing JR to be an avid Buffy fan, I was a bit disappointed that he didn't ask one question about this; I was rather looking forward to some insider stories there. Still, some interviewees on that show only manage to get about 8 words in, so it proves our girl can think on her feet, and with some style:)
Really worth reading.

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