Sarah Michelle Gellar: 60 Questions For Sarah

Q: Your contract with "Buffy" is up next year. Do you want to continue after that?

A: It's too early to answer that. I don't want to be that show that runs for eight years but people say of it, "It should have ended five years ago." It's important to me to go out on top.

Q: It's been pointed out that the show develops relationships between women in rich, complex ways rarely seen on TV. Do you think that's so?

A: Absolutely. The show is metaphors. Some people get them, and some don't. Some people think it's pure fluff entertainment, but when you watch it, you can see what we're really saying. There's something in the show that everyone can relate to.

Q: Do you have a favorite episode?

A: I loved the prom episode, where Buffy wants to be a normal girl and go to the prom, but she doesn't have a date and has to slay vampires. I loved the Buffy and Faith body switch. I loved the one where Buffy had to kill Angel, because she had to save the world by sacrificing the man she loved. We're doing a cool episode now where Buffy winds up in a mental institution.

Q: Did the ratings go up for the silent and musical episodes?

A: We have this running joke that we could do an all-naked Buffy and the ratings would still be the same.

Q: What do you think accounts for your popularity among prison inmates?

A: Hot chicks doing battle. It's like acceptable porn.

Q: Is a woman kicking ass sexy?

A: Incredibly sexy. The time when men wanted a mousy woman who stayed at home is gone. Men are turned on by a powerful woman, especially a physically powerful woman. I'm a little person, and to see this five-foot-two, 100-pound blonde girl kicking ass is exciting.

Q: How upset were you when your head started appearing on someone else's nude "body on the Internet?

A: It's hard. It hurts me. I don't understand why there are no laws against that.

Q: You don't talk about your father, who walked out of your life when you were a child. Would talking about him upset your mother?

A: He's not a part of my life. My mom always told me I'm a person first and an actor second. I've been good about keeping my private life private. Every journalist wants to be the one who gets the story. If I tell them it's not a subject I want to talk about, they'll press me. I expect it. When I say, "I've said all I can say"--they keep pressing. So you say one thing a little more, and it becomes the hook on the story. That's hard. I'm lucky that Freddie is in the public spotlight, so he's used to it. But my mother, this is not the life she chose, so it's got to be hard for her.

Q: You were pretty harsh when you said: "Just because you donate sperm does not make you a father. I don't have a father. I would never give him the credit to acknowledge him as my father."

A: It spurred interest, yeah!

Q: Let's move on to your mother. How much did she sacrifice on your behalf?

A: Everything. She was a nursery school teacher, but you can't have a steady job when your child has to travel. Everything she did was to get me to this place. She gave me more than 10 parents could ever give me. I can't stress enough what a gift she has been to my life.

Q: Why was Heathers your favorite movie as a teenager?

A: At that time movies for teenagers were silly, and Heathers was smart. Poor Shannen Doherty--she's one of my best friends. I just torture her all the time reciting lines from Heathers. I was 13 when that came out. I was an esoteric child--I loved everything from The Princess Bride to Dangerous Liaisons.

Q: Earlier you said you wanted to get into the nitty-gritty with James Toback. Are there any other directors who might help bring out your nitty-gritty?

A: I'd love to work with Baz Lurhmann one day. I've loved him ever since Strictly Ballroom.

Q: Any actors you particularly would like to work with?

A: I want to work with Bruce Willis in a shoot-'em-up Die Hard movie.

Q: Is there anyone in your profession who would cause you a momentary lapse into silence?

A: Not with actors, but I'm a big Knicks basketball fan. I was tongue-tied when I met some of the Knicks--Ewing at the time, Camby, Houston.

Q: What about Jackie Onassis? Would she have tied your tongue in knots if you would have had the chance to meet her?

A: My mother used to teach at the parish where Jackie Onassis worshipped. Every year on the anniversary of Jack's death, Jackie, John and Caroline Kennedy would go. I would take the day off from school to go on my own, just to see her. Talk about presence--Jackie Onassis was royalty in every sense that I imagine royalty to be.

Q: Who are your idols in your own profession?

A: Jodie Foster. Annette Bening. I love Alan Rickman. I met Olivia Newton-John last year--she came to my birthday party in Australia. Talk about idols from childhood! I worked with Valerie Harper when I was young and she remains incredibly strong in my mind. And Stockard Channing--I was 12 when I did [the Neil Simon play] Jake's Women with her. Nicole Kidman is someone I worship on every level. And for years I've loved Julianne Moore. At the Knicks playoff game, she had the seats next to us and I told her, "I can't think of anybody better to replace Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling in Hannibal than you." It was cool.

Q: How long do you think it will take before you start getting those kinds of offers yourself?

A: To replace Jodie Foster? Oh, goodness, I have a long way to go.

Q: What feature of yours would you change if you could?

A: My knees and my elbows. And my bladder. I know it's not a feature, but I'd really like a different bladder. For every bottle of water, I have to pee three times.

Q: Tell me about your tattoos.

A: I have a Chinese character on my ankle that is a knife dangling over a heart. I have the symbol for sincerity on my left side. And I have a new one--two purple dragonflies on my lower back.

Q: How hip are tattoos?

A: I don't get them because they're hip. There's very little we do in life that is permanent, but when you put something on your body, like a tattoo, that's with you. The first one was when I started doing interviews--so I put on the symbol for sincerity, which reminds me to mean what I say and say what I mean. The heart and the knife was at another point to remind me to walk my own path to be rewarded for it in the end. And the dragonflies are something Freddie and I share, our love of dragons and dragonflies.

Q: Do you consider yourself a religious person?

A: I consider myself a spiritual person. I find religions on the whole very interesting. I've been to every kind of denomination: Catholic, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist. I've never been to Mormon--that's definitely not my thing. But I've taken bits and pieces from everything. Religion is about where you find your strength. Some people need a structured, organized, community-type feeling. I'm not that person.

Q: Do you believe in God?

A: You just jump right in. Yeah, I believe in an idea of God. It's my own personal ideal.

Q: Do you pray?

A: I actually do, usually every night before I go to sleep. Sometimes it's, "I hope I sleep eight hours straight," and sometimes it's, "I hope the world finds peace." Depends on the day you catch me.

Q: If you could ask God a question, what would it be?

A: Oh, my goodness. I want to understand sickness, what we take from it, what we're supposed to learn from it; why people have to leave us because of illness. And why people feel the need to kill and murder, because there's a reason it's here.

Q: What are your fears?

A: Flying. Breaking glass. Crowds.

Q: What's the best advice you've ever received?

A: On a personal level, my mom telling me to be the person I want to be. And to do anything I set my mind to. On a professional level, one of the old directors we had on "Buffy" told me to watch everything because I could learn so much on the show. I've done every single job on the set. I've held the boom for a scene. I've pulled focus. I love cameras.

Q: You know you're at the age now where you could consider doing a remake of Breakfast at Tiffany's, playing Audrey Hepburn's part, Holly Golightly.

A: That would be an honor.

Q: You probably only have a few years left to do that.

A: You're Mr. Backhanded Compliment Man! Next time I do "Saturday Night Live," I'm going to do a sketch called that and it's going to be you! You're going to watch and say, "Oh, my God, I inspired Sarah to do a skit."

Q: The words one magazine used to describe you were: professional, together, focused and nurturing. What four different words would you use?

A: Content. Really happy-- that's one word. Creative.

Q: How about hot?

A: I'm not going to describe myself that way, no way!

Q: How about cold?

A: How about nice? I know that's a boring word, but it's something that's really simple, and I pride myself on being a nice person. And a good person.

________________________________________

Lawrence Grobel interviewed Halle Berry for the Dec./Jan. issue of Movieline.

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