THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR
By STEVE HALL
In an article about Buffy Vampire Slyer's Sarah Michele Gellar, Gellar is said to welcome "other strong TV heroines such as Xena, Warrior Princess and Kim Delaney's Detective Diane Russell on NYPD Blue".
Buffy the Vampire Slayer came to the TV critics press tour looking like the Queen of the WB - and being treated that way by network executives. It wasn't because Sarah Michelle Gellar, 21, arrived armed with a stake and ready to kick-box some network-suit keister. Executing that move would have been difficult in four-inch open-toed high-heels with gray silk butterflies perched on them, expensive-looking gray skirt and long jacket, a black blouse less low-cut than anything she's ever worn on the show, and diamonds glittering on her ears, neck, wrist and two of her fingers. She looked like Buffy the bank-account slayer. No, WB executives treated Gellar regally because they consider her the first star of the WB. Since Buffy premiered almost three years ago, the early critical favorite continues to reap massive publicity - Entertainment Weekly recently named it the best show on TV in 1998 - and grow in popularity. In November, it tied with Dawson's Creek as the WB show most popular with 18- to 49-year-olds and ranked second (behind Dawson) in viewers aged 12 to 34. A movie crossover She's also the first WB star to cross over into hit movies. Last year she starred in Scream 2 and I Know What You Did Last Summer. Scheduled to be released in March is Cruel Intentions, a modern-day retelling of Dangerous Liaisons set in Manhattan (with Gellar in the Glenn Close role). Coming up is Simply Irresistible, about a romance between a hard-luck chef (Gellar) and an uptown suitor (Sean Patrick Flannery). Simultaneously starring in movies AND a TV series would have been unthinkable five years ago, because movies were considered the more prestigious medium. Gellar never understood that. "More Americans watch TV than go to movies," mused the actress, poised and articulate after 16 years in show business. "Most Americans have televisions in their homes. They don't necessarily spend the money to go to the movies. It always surprised me that they don't use television stars to cross over because people know them and they have a built-in audience. " Fame brings changes Even so, the combination of the two hit movies and Buffy last year catapulted Gellar, a 1994 Emmy winner for her role as Susan Lucci's daughter on All My Children, to a new level of fame. The upside: She was able to buy a house. The downside: It's impossible to go anywhere now without being recognized. "Last year at this time, I was afraid," Gellar said. "Everything was new. Going out and being recognized was new. And then it's just something that becomes part of your job and most of the time it's nice and people have nice things to say. " That attention is sweeter because of the fact that Buffy is a role model of empowerment, saving the world from demons and monsters while worrying about the prom, boys and acne. "Growing up, the shows I watched were Facts of Life, Growing Pains and Family Ties," Gellar remembered. On Growing Pains, "Tracey Gold played a character that was supposed to be very, very smart, and she was always pretending to be dumb because she wanted the guys to like her. Mallory (Justine Bateman) was the popular girl on Family Ties and she couldn't add two and two. "It's hard for girls to have somebody to relate to," she said, adding that she welcomes other strong TV heroines such as Xena, Warrior Princess and Kim Delaney's Detective Diane Russell on NYPD Blue. "The wonderful thing about this trend is that young girls have something to look up to, that they can take care of themselves. " Plans to stay Gellar, who feels Buffy "has come into its own" in its third season, vowed to stay with the show as long as creator Joss Whedon is aboard and has interesting stories to tell, despite her burgeoning film career. "I remember what it was like to be a struggling actor and going on auditions and not knowing if I'd be able to pay the rent," she said. "I'm grateful for where I am. " That said, she is nervous about what happens on Buffy once David Boreanaz - who plays the slayer's hunky Undead lover Angel - is spun off into his own series this fall. "Part of the success of Buffy is David's and my relationship on camera and off," she said. "He's incredible. He's grown so much and I trust him more than any guy that I've ever worked with. " Any wish list for a new boy toy for Buffy? "I'm hoping (Shakespeare in Love star) Joseph Fiennes will be replacing David next year," Gellar joked.
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