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Courtesy of Sony Pictures
October 9, 2004

While promoting her film The Grudge, which she shot on location in Japan, Sarah Michelle Gellar was kind enough to also answer a few questions about herself and some of her interests.

The Interview

MEDIA: Now that you don't have to deal with the long hours on Buffy, what do you do in your spare time?

SARAH: Anything I want to, you know? I mean, right now, I actually have absolutely no spare time! [laughs] But I spend a lot of time with my friends in New York. I'm born and raised in New York, and for eight years, I barely got to spend more than a week a year at home. I get to see my friends get married and see their children and I get to read books for pleasure, which is something that was so difficult on the show. Travel a little bit.

What kind of books are you into?

Anything, I love to read.

Any favorites?

Oh, goodness. Ummm...my favorite I've read recently was a book called The Time Traveler's Wife. That would definitely be, recently, the one that I loved the most. But I read anything. I love biographies, I love fiction. I'm not much a romance novel girl.

Having started acting at such a young age, is there anything that you would like to have done differently?

I wouldn't do anything differently. Working in this business afforded me opportunities that I never would have had. I don't think I would have known what an airplane was. We couldn't afford to travel. I went all over the world, I met all these fabulous people, and I found something that not only did I love, but I was good at and could be successful at. And to have that kind of direction at a young age is really amazing. I've watched a lot of my girlfriends finish high school and then go to college and then wander aimlessly and be very depressed because they hadn't found what they loved yet. And I'm very lucky because I get to get up every morning and go to a job that I love. And not everybody can say that. I mean, there are days I don't love it, but that's just usually because I'm cranky!

What types of roles are the most appealing to you?

For me, I just need roles that challenge me. I need roles that I have something to do. I've done it, I can't be scenery. I get bored out of my mind! I came from a television show that focused on women that were strong and funny and athletic. And television is where women really do lead the way. But in films, we're still working our way up the hill, and a lot of times, we're relegated to the girlfriend, the wife, the sister, whatever. I can't do that. It holds no interest to me.

Would you say you have a particular interest in action horrors or thrillers?

This is a genre where women really get great opportunities, and where also some of our most famous women seem to keep flocking to. The obvious is Naomi Watts in The Ring. But then you think about Halle Berry--after she won the Oscar, she made Gothika. Or Charlize Theron, her first choice after she won the Oscar was Aeon Flux. Or Gwyneth Paltrow's biggest success lately has been Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Why is that? That's because that's where women really get to flourish. I don't know why that is, I don't know why women superhero movies don't seem to do as well as women thrillers. Comedies just make more money when it's Adam Sandler than if it's a female. It's just the way the moviemaking business seems to go. But I don't know why.

If you were unable to get the roles you're looking for, would you consider resigning from acting?

Are you trying to tell me something?! [laughs] Ummm...probably. I mean, it's not rewarding. Life's too short, and if you're not doing what you love, then why do it? I learned that lesson.

Did you work out a lot while doing Buffy?

I actually work out more now, because when I was on the show, I never had time! [laughs] I actually visit my gym more now than I did then. Working on that show was a work out in and of itself. I didn't need to go to the gym.

What type of exercising do you do?

I like Pilates. I'm not much of a yoga person. I like working out with weights, and I just discovered running. I actually used to think I hated running. I thought the only thing I wanted to run for was to catch my bus. But I actually like running. I really think I'm getting to know California now. I've lived here eight years, but all I knew was how to get to my set and back to my bed. I didn't really know what it was like to live here. You learn to do more and more outdoor things when you live here just because it's so beautiful, and why be inside?

Do you feel that you are under pressure to look good all time?

It's so weird coming from Japan, because America is a youth oriented society. Everything is look younger, what is new, what is hot, throw away the old. And Japan is the opposite. They revere their elderly, as well you should because wisdom comes from experience. And it is so weird to live in Hollywood. Constantly, who had plastic surgery? Who had Botox? So yeah, there certainly is a pressure. The pressure I put on myself is to be healthy. I don't eat a lot of fried foods, and when I do, I'm lethargic. I don't have the energy the same way. I'm not saying that I'd pass up some tempura every now and then or a good dessert!

What do you think of plastic surgery, and would you consider it in thirty years?

By the way, God bless you for saying "in thirty years." God bless you! I can't comment now what I'm going to do ten, fifteen years from now. What I just can't stand is when people's face changes. It's so disappointing to me. Faces are interesting, you know? Faces are what make us unique, and expression is what makes us unique. I didn't speak the same language as my director. If I couldn't read his expression, like if he was all Botoxed out, God only knows how this movie would have come out!

Would you consider yourself a slave to fashion?

I prefer the term "fashion whore" actually! I prefer that term.

What sort of things do you like specifically about fashion?

I love jewelry. I love clothing. I'm a girl! I'm the first to admit it, I'm a girl.

What do you do to keep your skin looking healthy?

[rough voice] "Smoke a ton of cigarettes, drink a lot of alcohol, you know!" [laughs] I drink a lot of water and I don't smoke. I don't wear makeup on days I don't have to. And I'm a product whore, as well as a fashion whore.

When are we going to see you having a baby on the cover of Us Weekly?

[laughing] When I eventually do get pregnant, let's all pray it's not on the cover of Us Weekly, okay? Let's pray that maybe by the time I have a baby, actors will be afforded a little more privacy during those times! [laughs] Let's just say you won't be seeing it in the near future.

Good, good, good...

[agitated] "Good"? You think I shouldn't have... [joking] I'm just giving you a hard time! [mischievous] I'm just giving you a hard time...

Do you think you'll be working with your husband Freddie Prinze Jr. onscreen again?

Probably not. Scooby was a rare experience. When I was on the show, no matter what movie he was going to do, it was going to take him away. And I didn't have the luxury of visiting. I worked till 6:00 a.m. Saturday mornings, and I was back at work on Monday morning at 6:00 a.m. So I couldn't go anywhere. And this movie afforded us a time to be able to be together. It also afforded me to be able to do a movie on my hiatus, because I could do it while I was doing the show because it was Warner Brothers, which is something that I didn't often get. And the movie did not hinge on our relationship--let's face it, it's a movie about a talking dog! It does not revolve around chemistry! [laughs] In fact, the second movie, we barely even worked together on it. But as an audience member, I don't like seeing couples onscreen together. I always think that Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones had the right idea with Traffic because they were in the same city at the same time, they were both passionate about the project and could share that passion, but at the same time, they were never in a scene together. [laughs] So I think that's probably the only way.

Does it help having a spouse who is also in the acting business?

I think so. It's a very strange life that we lead, and there's a lot of travel involved. We experience some very strange experiences, and I think it would be very hard for someone else. But also, especially with our tabloid society, I think it's got to be so difficult if the other person isn't used to it. It certainly does then call that much more attention. I think that if someone falls in love with someone that's not in the business, it's almost bigger news. And I think that has to be incredibly jarring to those people. So to have the support from someone that knows what the experiences are like...I mean, it only helps.

You're a very active advocate for various charities. How did you get involved in that?

I started because my mother taught me a long time ago that even when you have nothing, there's ways to give back. And what you get in return for that is tenfold. But it was always hard because I couldn't do a lot. I couldn't do much more than just donate money when I was on the show because there wasn't time. And now that I have the time, it's amazing.

Do you have a particular charity that is your favorite?

I couldn't pick one. I can tell you a couple of my favorites. I love working with the breast cancer charities. I've had a lot of people in my life directly affected. I love the young cancer survivors' coalition, because people don't realize how many young breast cancer survivors there are. And I work a lot with a place out here called Project Angel Food which delivers healthy meals to people stricken with AIDS. And that's a great charity because you can go in the kitchen and cook. There are so many things you can do actively. You can deliver the meals. I also work a lot with Habitat for Humanity, another one where you actually get to physically do something, where you get to go and build these houses. I like working with things where you can directly affect someone in particular. I love the Make-A-Wish Foundation. When I was on Buffy, I used to drive them crazy. I would always be like, "Let's bring someone else out to the set!" I forget that it's not just as simple as bringing someone to the set, that these kids have to come with their families and their doctors. I'm just all, "Bring 'em on!" And my crew on Buffy...I will say this about them: they were the most gracious. We would have Make-A-Wish kids all the time, and they would let them roll the camera and do the sound, and it was just really great to watch.

What will you be doing next?


Thanks for your time.

Have a good day, you guys!

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