Fans of Sarah Michelle Gellar have double the reason to tune in to her new drama on The CW, “Ringer.” In this relationship-driven thriller, the former “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” star plays identical twins — Bridget, a former addict who is on the run after witnessing a murder, and Siobhan, a New York City socialite with a seemingly perfect life. When Siobhan goes missing after the estranged sisters had just begun to reconcile, Bridget assumes her twin’s identity, only to learn Siobhan was hiding more than a few dark secrets of her own. That essentially means Gellar is playing three characters in the series — Bridget, Siobhan, and Bridget-pretending-to-be-Siobhan.
She’s got a clear favorite: “Whoever has the best wardrobe at the time,” Gellar jokes. Of course, it’s a little more complex than Gucci versus Gap. Gellar relates playing the sisters to parenting children since “you have to love each one individually and understand [the one you’re playing at the time],” she explains. “So when I’m Bridget, I feel that all of Bridget’s motivations are hers and Siobhan is wrong. And when I’m Siobhan, everything Bridget does is wrong. I try to get into the head of each of them.”
Acting-wise, it’s not a new challenge for the 34-year-old, who played multiple characters in “Buffy” using the “old-school split screen” method. But technology has come a long way since that supernatural series went off the air in 2003.
“There’s so much more that’s available now between face replacement and the stop motion cameras,” Gellar enthuses. “So during the pilot, we played with all of them like kids with new toys to figure out what works best.”
But, she stresses, “Ringer” isn’t all about fancy camerawork. “Ultimately what you find is, even though there is all this technology, you want the heart of the scene, and the heart of the scene is two people talking to each other. So we try, each time the twins are together, and do one shot where they touch each other or they cross over each other. But on the whole, it’s more about the communication.”