Trend > Culture > Why Sarah Michelle Gellar Turned Down The Role Of Cordelia Before She Got Buffy – /Film
Why Sarah Michelle Gellar Turned Down The Role Of Cordelia Before She Got Buffy – /Film
Why Sarah Michelle Gellar Turned Down The Role Of Cordelia Before She Got Buffy - /Film,The producers on Buffy the Vampire Slayer wanted Sarah Michelle Gellar to play Cordelia, but she was afraid of being pigeonholed as the mean girl.

Why Sarah Michelle Gellar Turned Down The Role Of Cordelia Before She Got Buffy – /Film

It’s hard to imagine the smash-hit series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” without Sarah Michelle Gellar as the titular lead. But believe it or not, the actor was almost cast in a totally different role in the series. After an Emmy-winning stint as the mean girl on the soap opera “All My Children,” the “Buffy” producers had a hard time seeing Gellar as anything other than the hellmouth’s resident ice queen, Cordelia Chase. Thankfully, she held out for the brave-hearted protagonist, but it almost cost her both roles on the show. She ended up scoring the part she wanted in the end, but she was up against some stiff competition — including the actor who ended up playing Cordelia!

When the “Cruel Intentions” star first got the call to audition for “Buffy,” she had just wrapped a movie in Australia and was excited to stay in the country for Carnival, she revealed in a 2002 interview. But when Gellar’s manager told her she would lose her chance to audition for the CW series if she didn’t fly home immediately, she decided to come back to Los Angeles early. She was elated when producers called and asked her to screen test for Buffy, but then she got another phone call that nearly made her walk away from the audition altogether.

“[…] They called me about three days later and said you know what, we changed our mind,” she recalled. “And I was like, okay. ‘We don’t want you to test for Buffy, we want to test you for Cordelia.’ I said I need to think about it. I had just come off three years of playing this stereotypical bad girl character, and I thought if I do this now will I ever be able to do anything else?”

She didn’t want to be typecast as the bad girl

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Gellar almost turned down an audition for “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” because the producers wanted her to play Cordelia and she was afraid of being pigeonholed as the mean girl. However, a second look at the script made her change her mind.

“But then I sat back and I read the pilot again and there was something really special about it,” Gellar continued. “And I said, you know, I don’t have a job. It’s just a pilot. If it doesn’t turn out well it won’t get picked up, I don’t have to worry about it, it’s the WB [now The CW], it was kind of an unheard of network at the time — ‘Okay I’ll go and I’ll screen test.'”

Ironically, once she was cast as “Buffy,” it was hard for other casting directors to see her as the HBIC, and she had a difficult time convincing them to give her the role of Kathryn in “Cruel Intentions.” But before all that, Gellar didn’t just audition for the role of Cordelia — she actually landed the part. Nevertheless, the casting directors were still having trouble finding their leading woman, and they offered Gellar the chance to come back and audition for Buffy.

“And that’s a very risky thing to do,” she continued, “because sometimes what happens is, they say you have this job, but then they see you as something else, but they don’t really see you as that, and you could really risk losing both roles.”

Thankfully, Gellar took that risk and ended up landing the role that would become a huge high point in her career. Still, even after she agreed to screen test for Buffy, the audition process was so grueling that Gellar almost walked away from the show altogether.

The actor who played Cordelia originally auditioned for Buffy

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A lot of “Buffy” actors have testified to the toxic environment on the set of the show, but as it turns out, the audition process was also difficult to endure. The star of the series said that she auditioned for Buffy for a total of about seven hours over the course of a week. After all that, they asked her to screen test. Gellar agreed, but only on one condition — which wasn’t met.

“I said well, I’m only gonna do it if I get guarantees that I’m gonna go to the network automatically, and they said ‘We won’t give that to you,'” she added. “And I said fine, I’m stepping back, I can’t do this anymore, I’ll be Cordelia. They said please, please, please come, so I came to the studio on Friday, and I had to wait til Monday to go to the network.”

After over a week of auditioning, Gellar finally landed the role. But of course, the “Wolf Pack” star wasn’t the only one in the running for the lead. The studio was also considering Charisma Carpenter, who went on to play Cordelia Chase.

“I went in and read for Buffy,” Carpenter recounted in an interview with Newsweek, “and [executive producer Gail Berman and series creator Joss Whedon] said, ‘Can you prepare Cordelia’s dialogue, go in the hallway and prepare those lines, and come back and read for Cordelia? We think you might be better suited for that.’ So I did.”

She almost lost the role because she was late

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The series creators had a feeling that Carpenter would be a good fit for Cordelia, but they still needed her to screen test for the network executives at Warner Brothers. The actor got held up at a shoot for another show and was so late that it almost cost her the part.

“I was so delayed that they were going to leave,” Carpenter went on. “Back then it was beepers, I remember getting a 911 beep from my agent saying, ‘You have to get there!’ I had to wait to respond because I was in so much traffic, I get off on Boron, at a payphone at this liquor store that’s still there. I call my agent back and she says, ‘They’re going to leave. Where are you?’ I said, ‘I’m five minutes away’ — I was probably 15 more minutes away— and I said, ‘Tell them to go order a pizza, they’re not leaving until they see me.'”

It might have appeared a little unprofessional to show up late, but Carpenter was auditioning for a high-maintenance high school queen, after all. Looking back, the actor saw it as her first real moment in character as Cordelia and thought that it may have even helped the executives see her in the role.

“I think that was sort of a Cordelia moment,” Carpenter added. “I just feel like, before I even walked in the door, I got the part.”

Carpenter is glad that she was Cordelia, not Buffy

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Even though Carpenter originally auditioned for Buffy, she’s happy she didn’t end up scoring the lead role. As she once explained to the BBC:

“I think that the way it turned out is the way it was meant to have turned out. I’m extremely pleased that I wound up with the character that I have for a myriad of reasons. Number one: because we got to see her growth. Number two: I got to do the spin-off [‘Angel’] with David [Boreanaz], so you couldn’t ask for more there. Number three: I don’t know that I would have been ready for that kind of fame if I’d gotten Buffy. So, I think [Buffy] went to the right person.”

Carpenter has since spoken out about the workplace abuse she suffered at the hands of Whedon, the creator of “Buffy” and the aforementioned spin-off “Angel.” However, she remains a fan of Cordelia and has even reprised her role in the new Audible spin-off series “Slayers: A Buffyverse Story.”

Despite getting passed over for Buffy and mistreated on the set of “Angel,” Carpenter still remains proud of the work that she did on “Buffy.”

“I’m very grateful to have been part of a historic show that is critically acclaimed,” she told Newsweek, “that was revolutionary in so many ways — how we brought storytelling through humor, drama, action and special effects. It hasn’t been paralleled.”