Early in the pandemic, we experienced the complete run of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” in the home, my child and partner having their first-ever experience with the series.
While you’re watching “Do Revenge,”the brand new Netflix film which features the vampire slayer herself, Sarah Michelle Gellar, together with the charismaticMaya Hawke of “Stranger Things,”Camila Mendesof “Riverdale” and an all too-brief appearance by Sophie Turner, my tweenwalked in to the room. Taking the chance to call-back to your Buffy binge, I told him that the star of BTVS is in this film about high schoolers. Scanning the screen eagerly he asked, “Which student is she?”
Nope. She’s the Headmaster. Gellar is back school but this time around, she’s in control.
Buffy is forever. Sort of. Asa lot morerevelations concerning thealleged abusive behaviorof it adaptation’s creator, Joss Whedon, have already beenmade public, it’s hard to see the show in a similar way. But its central character, reluctant tamer of dark forces and avid wearer of leather pants, Buffy Summers, is timeless.
It’s hard to obtain out of Sunnydale. It’s harder in order to avoid typecasting.
Except time progresses. Also it did without Gellar. Despite early roles in successful films like “Cruel Intentions,” “I UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING YOU Did Last Summer” and “The Grudge,” a few of Gellar’s movies didn’t achieve this well. Remember “The Return” or “Simply Irresistible”? Not. The majority of her parts, even yet in “Scooby-Doo,” were horror-tinged or scary-adjacent, further and forever linking her with the Hellmouth. It’s hard to obtain out of Sunnydale. It’s harder in order to avoid typecasting.
In 2013, ten-years following the series finale of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Gellar starred alongsideRobin Williamsin a David E. Kelly series called “The Crazy Ones.” That series was cancelled after just a year. It will be the fantastic Williams’ last role. In August 2014, Williams, who it had been later revealed hadLewy Body Dementia, died by suicide. And everything changed for Gellar. She toldPeople, “I simply said, ‘I have to have a break’ I have to be here for these early formative years of my kids’ life I needed that break to function as parent that I needed to be.”
Camila Mendes as Drea and Sarah Michelle Gellar as ‘The Headmaster’ in “Do Revenge” (Kim Simms/Netflix)Eight years have gone by and Gellar is back. And importantly, she’s back a role that’s different enough from her previous ones concerning ensure it is feel fresh; but similar with techniques that hearken back again to her role as Buffy Summers in BTVS andKathryn Merteuil in “Cruel Intentions.”
“Do Revenge” appears like the clear heir to Amy Heckerling’s “Clueless,” though it had been apparently based more on Alfred Hitchcock’s film “Strangers on a Train” with Patricia Highsmith’s original novel thrown set for seasoning (“The cost of Salt,” obtain it?). In “Do Revenge,” high schoolers at a tony, private school, Drea (Mendes) and Eleanor (Hawke) become unlikely allies if they swear a pact to obtain revenge on each other’s enemies. It is a difficult movie to conclude because that it is a lot more twisty than that.
“Channel that anger into getting what you need,” she advises, such as a girlboss cross stitch.
What isn’t complicated is Gellar’s role. Because the Headmaster atRosehill Country DaySchool, Gellar’s character goes only by her title. In her first appearance, she spins around and requires a beat as though to state, yeah we realize. We realize this entrance is really a stunner. We realize Gellar looks fantastic in the Headmaster’s pure white power suits, understated jewelry and neutral heels. Her office wouldn’t be out of invest “Emily in Paris” using its elaborate, gold curlicued desk and bone-colored couches. She’s a bar cart in her office with a china tea service at the top and what appears just about to be whisky on the low shelf. Her fresh flowers are white.
TV Tropesdescribes this monochromatic touch as “The Rich Have White Stuff,” playing upon the archaicidea that only the wealthy could afford to help keep their clothes and possessions pristine. Having briefly taught senior high school, I can’t think about a worse color for school furniture, however in a world where in fact the uniforms appear to be sherbet-colored outfits from “Madeline,” you will want to?
Maya Hawke as Eleanor in “Do Revenge” (Kim Simms/Netflix)No you might dare screw up this Headmaster’s couch or her suit. She does not have a hair or jewel out of place when she strides in to the kitchen of a school function in a satin pantsuit with a bowed train on the trunk just like a unicorn tail, or shines a flashlight right into a greenhouse, “X-Files”-style. She prunes her bonsai when she’s “especially vexed.” She hates being wrong.
The Headmaster manages to be an authority figure who commands not merely respect, but adoration. She’s aloof but nonetheless aspirational, more glamorous thanMiss Minchinor the best,Katherine Brookeof “Anne of Green Gables.” She makes school administration look cool. Sexy. And easy.
The Headmaster only directly talks with scholarship student Drea, both reprimanding, advising and showing her grudging admiration for the lady. Even though Headmaster’s background isn’t delved into, it really is clear they have both survived.”Channel that anger into getting what you need,” she advises, such as a girlboss cross stitch.
Want an everyday wrap-up of all news and commentary Salon provides? Sign up to our morning newsletter, Crash Course.
Within an interview with Entertainment Weekly, “Do Revenge” directorJennifer Kaytin Robinson says she wrote Gellar’s Headmaster role with her previous one asKathryn in “Cruel Intentions” quite definitely at heart.
“I simply heard her and sat there and literally considered Kathryn from Cruel Intentions,” Robinson thought to EW. “Like, if she was the headmaster of the institution, what advice would she give?”
Gellar does a whole lot with hardly any, the part (designed for herwith her input) more cameo than character. But just what a cameo it really is. And the film, gives us phrases certain to call home on in campy history like “revenge mommy,” also gives dark humor to the Headmaster. She muses on her behalf gift for nurturing young talent: “Well, not directly nurture, but, you understand, I can view it, and I delegate the nurturing.”
Gellar was always the strongest in offbeat comedy such as this, flashes of humor which made her Buffy role one for the ages, regardless of whatWhedondid or does. Perhaps this can herald a fresh era on her behalf; she’s a lead role on the Paramount+ show “Wolf Pack,” where she’ll also executive produce, something she’s figure out how todo with her projectsto be able to have significantly more control. Perhaps she’ll speak openly concerning the past (or simply not; as she toldTHE BRAND NEW York Times: “I don’t win by telling my stories, emotionally, for me personally. I look at individuals who tell their stories, and I’m so impressed. However in this world where people get torn apart, and victim blaming and shaming, I simply keep my stories in here.”). But Gellar is here now in our senior high school again, battle-hardened, grown.
“Most of us have hard truths to cope with,” the Headmaster counsels Drea, and Gellar could possibly be advising her younger self too.