Sarah Michelle Gellar is used to walking the red carpet and fielding reporters’ questions about everything from what she’s wearing to her latest role, but the actress decided it was time to change things up and be the one asking all the questions at the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards.
As part of the Unilever Project Sunlight campaign, Gellar interviewed stars like Cate Blanchett, Matthew McConaughey, and Jane Lynch — not about hair, clothes, and jewelry — but about what they’re doing to make the world a better, more sustainable place.
The actress, 36, talked to Parade.com about her vision for a bright future, motherhood, trading quips with Robin Williams on The Crazy Ones, and more.
How was your experience as a red carpet reporter?
“It was such an interesting opportunity. That whole [awards] weekend is such a strange weekend in Los Angeles. I like to think I live in the real world and we have the situation in Ukraine and the awful weather that’s ben happening, and yet all these celebrities are walking down the carpet talking about their nails in the manicure cam, and I think there are a lot of us that have so much more to offer. Cate Blanchett had to talk about her dress and jewelry all weekend, but she was so excited to get to talk to us about living sustainably and providing a better future. She has three children, so she gets it.”
What made you want to get involved with Project Sunlight?
“I love what I do and it’s really fun, but let’s be honest, I’m not curing cancer here as an actress! And if there’s something I can do to better the world we live in than that’s my real purpose. I have two children and my children are going to have children one day hopefully, and we need to protect the world for them and living sustainably is really the only way to do that. We’re all just one person, but when you put us together it’s a pretty incredible group.”
How has motherhood changed you?
“I think you look at the world differently. The one thing I say to people when they’re about to have children is that you go from you being the primary thought in your life to every single second of every day, you’re thinking about these other beings, whether you have one child or six children.”
What are some ways you live sustainably?
“I try to buy locally sustainably food, I’ve always recycled, and one of the first things I did when I moved to Los Angeles was to start a garden so I could grow my own vegetables and eat them. My daughter also has a garden and she grows all her own vegetables. They started show-and-tell at her school and when I asked her what she wanted to bring, she said, ‘I want to bring vegetables from my garden and let all my friends eat them!’”
You also recently wrapped the first season of The Crazy Ones. How has that experience been?
“It was so incredible. I’ve been doing this a long time, but I’ve never had an experience like this. I was able to have my fulltime outside life, separate from what I do, and then come to work and be creative with some of the kindest, nicest, most talented people I’ve ever come across in this business. It’s been such a joy and I pray we can have this conversation after I wrap season 10!”
How do you get through takes with such a funny cast?
“It’s impossible not to laugh. I keep joking that one day we’ll release a crazy DVD of just bloopers. I think it would be hysterical.”
Robin Williams plays your dad on the show. What has it been like working with him?
“I went into it and I’m thinking, ‘Ok, here I am working with Robin Williams, the legend — Juilliard-trained, Oscar winner, one of the top 10n standup comics of all time, but what’s amazing about Robin is that he has no idea that that’s how people see him. He’s just Robin. He’s Uncle Robin to my children and to my husband. He treats everybody on set with the same respect and he goes out of his way to make everybody comfortable. He’s the kindest. There are not enough words to describe the love and adoration that I have for this man.”
You recently snapped a photo with your Buffy the Vampire Slayer costar, David Boreanaz and his Bones costar Emily Deschanel. What’s the story there?
“There’s a connection that David and I will always have and we’ve always remained in touch, but what was so much fun this year was we were working on the same lot, so when I had a break I would walk over and watch them tape a show or try to steal food from Bones catering because they had way better catering than we did. I guess that’s a tenth season kind of thing. And David knows I’m purely motivated by food!”