Sarah Michelle Gellar ‘still doesn’t get taken seriously’ by men on set and had ‘burnout’ in Buffy


Sarah Michelle Gellar has admitted that she ‘still doesn’t get taken seriously by men’ on film sets as she makes a return to the industry.

The actress, 45, who was catapulted to fame with her starring role in Buffy The Vampire Slayer, has been looking back on her career which she took a break from in 2014 following the death of her friend and co-star Robin Williams.

In a brand new interview following the launch of her Paramount+ series Wolf Pack, she has spoken about the burnout she experienced being a teen on the fan favourite 90s series.

Candid: Sarah Michelle Gellar has admitted that she 'still doesn't get taken seriously by men' on film sets as she makes a return to the industry

Candid: Sarah Michelle Gellar has admitted that she ‘still doesn’t get taken seriously by men’ on film sets as she makes a return to the industry

Speaking about moving to the west coast of the US after graduating from high school in New York at 16, Sarah told The Guardian about the pressure of working on the series with little free time to be young.

She admitted: ’22 episodes burn everybody out, not just the writers… Now we live in a world where TV can be eight to 10 episodes, and not murder you.’

After finishing up as Buffy Anne Summers when the show came to an end in 2003, Sarah’s most notable role was as Sydney Roberts in sitcom The Crazy Ones in 2013.

Leading alongside Hollywood royalty Robin Williams, the series finished in April 2014, and it was his first regular TV role since Mork and Mindy in the 1970s.

Teen star: The actress, 45, who was catapulted to fame with her starring role in Buffy The Vampire Slayer (pictured in 1997), has been looking back on her career

Teen star: The actress, 45, who was catapulted to fame with her starring role in Buffy The Vampire Slayer (pictured in 1997), has been looking back on her career

They were the leading two of the CBS series, as Robin, playing Simon Roberts, ran a creative agency with his daughter Sydney (Sarah) while ‘struggling to maintain various facets of their lives’.

But only four months later, 63-year-old Robin took his own life, and it was something that caused a ‘reset’ in Sarah’s life.

She explained: ‘When we lost Robin, it was this whole reset for me: “Everything’s going by really fast, and I’m missing it”. When I did the pilot for The Crazy Ones, my son was two months old – it was nonstop, and I needed to be at home for a while.’

And despite being in the industry for over 25 years, Sarah revealed that men on sets still do not take her seriously.

Returning to the limelight: In a brand new interview following the launch of her Paramount+ series Wolf Pack (pictured at the premiere this month), she has spoken about the burnout she experienced being a teen on the fan favourite 90s series

Returning to the limelight: In a brand new interview following the launch of her Paramount+ series Wolf Pack (pictured at the premiere this month), she has spoken about the burnout she experienced being a teen on the fan favourite 90s series

Star role: Sarah took a break from her career in 2014 following the death of her friend and co-star Robin Williams, who she starred with in The Crazy Ones in 2013 (pictured together at the show's press tour) - he died only four months after the final episode)

Star role: Sarah took a break from her career in 2014 following the death of her friend and co-star Robin Williams, who she starred with in The Crazy Ones in 2013 (pictured together at the show’s press tour) – he died only four months after the final episode)

‘I still don’t get taken seriously by men on sets,’ Sarah said. ‘I still feel the need, sometimes, to read [out] my résumé, like: “How many of these shows have you done? How many experiences have you had at 2am with 250 extras, a late shot, a stunt – all of these things? I not only have produced it, but I’ve also been in it. Listen to me, because I know where I’m coming from”.’ 

It comes after Sarah said she rose to fame during a time when it was ‘difficult’ for young actors on set.

The actress has recently returned to the limelight with her role in the new supernatural drama Wolf Pack and said she wants to create a ‘safe’ environment for the younger actors on the show. 

Speaking on The Graham Norton Show last week, Sarah added that she wants to ‘protect’ the cast, which comes after claims of bullying on the set of Buffy The Vampire Slayer became public in recent years. 

Interview: It comes after Sarah said she rose to fame during a time when it was 'difficult' for young actors on set

Interview: It comes after Sarah said she rose to fame during a time when it was ‘difficult’ for young actors on set

Asked about being an executive producer on the series, she said: ‘It is important to me to be able to protect the material and, more than that, I can protect the cast. 

‘I came up in Hollywood at a time when it was difficult for young actors. It’s still not perfect but I can help create a safe work environment.’

Graham asked the star if she hesitated before joining another teen drama, with Sarah admitting she initially didn’t want to do the show.

She said: ‘I had no intention of reading it, but then we got deeper in the conversation around mental health, which is very timely. The werewolves are a metaphor for teenage anxiety.’

Show: Sarah added that she wants to 'protect' the cast, which comes after claims of bullying on the set of Buffy The Vampire Slayer became public last year

Show: Sarah added that she wants to ‘protect’ the cast, which comes after claims of bullying on the set of Buffy The Vampire Slayer became public last year

Sarah also discussed her time on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, which aired from 1997 to 2003 and brought her global fame.

The star joked: ‘People love to remind me that it is 20 years. I love that people still reference it, but I don’t need the actual date and passage of time so people realise how old I am!’

In 2021, allegations of ‘toxic behaviour’ on the set of Buffy emerged, directed at the show’s creator Joss Whedon.

Actress Charisma Carpenter originally hit out at Whedon in a lengthy Twitter post, claiming he called her fat and killed her character off after she had a baby.

Interview: The actress has recently returned to the limelight with her role in the new supernatural drama Wolf Pack (L-R Claire Foy, Sarah, M Night Shyamalan, Rob Beckett and Sam Smith)

Interview: The actress has recently returned to the limelight with her role in the new supernatural drama Wolf Pack (L-R Claire Foy, Sarah, M Night Shyamalan, Rob Beckett and Sam Smith) 

Sarah said: 'It is important to me to be able to protect the material and, more than that, I can protect the cast'

Sarah said: ‘It is important to me to be able to protect the material and, more than that, I can protect the cast’ 

The actress, 50, who portrayed Cordelia Chase on the show for three seasons and in its spin-off Angel, made the allegations in a Twitter post.

Charisma said she decided to speak out to show solidarity with actor Ray Fisher. Fisher previously accused Whedon of ‘abuse’ and ‘unacceptable behavior’ while on the set of Justice League in 2017.

She said: ‘For nearly two decades, I have held my tongue and even made excuses for certain events that traumatize me to this day. 

Speaking out: Carpenter claims Whedon would regularly make 'passive-aggressive' threats to fire her throughout the filming of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel

Pictured: Whedon in 2019

Speaking out: Actress Charisma Carpenter originally hit out at Buffy creator Joss Whedon in a lengthy Twitter post, claiming he called her fat and killed her character off after she had a baby

‘Joss Whedon abused his power on numerous occasions while working together on the sets of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.

‘While he found his misconduct amusing, it only served to intensify my performance anxiety, disempower me, and alienate me from my peers.’

Citing a series of ‘disturbing incidents’, Charisma claimed her interactions with Whedon, 56, triggered an unspecified ‘chronic physical condition’ that she said she still suffers from today, some 20 years later.

‘Last summer, when Ray Fisher publicly accused Joss of abusive and unprofessional behavior toward the cast and crew during reshoots on the Justice League set in 2017, it gutted me,’ she continued.

‘Joss has a history of being casually cruel. He has created hostile and toxic work environments since his early career. I know because I experienced it first-hand. Repeatedly.’

The Graham Norton Show, BBC One, Friday 27th January 10.40pm. Also available on BBC iPlayer. 



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