Sarah Michelle Gellar says audiences still hold ‘backwards way of thinking’ on female-led Marvel films

Sarah Michelle Gellar has suggested that audiences still have a “backwards” view on female-led superhero films.

In the Nineties, Gellar carved out new ground on TV as the lead in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in which she played a powerful high-school student fighting against vampires and demons.

However, in a new interview, the 45-year-old claimed that audiences were unwilling to accept women leading in action-packed Marvel films.

“Genre is where women can really succeed and hold an audience,” she told The Guardian.

“Every time a Marvel movie tries to do a female cast, it just gets torn apart… Unfortunately, audiences weren’t as accepting. There’s still this mentality of ‘the male superhero’, this very backwards way of thinking.”

In 2019, Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel was hit by a sexist smear campaign, in which trolls posted fake negative reviews on the superhero film’s Rotten Tomatoes page, causing its score to plummet.

It comes after Gellar spoke in a recent interview with The Independent about being labelled as a “difficult” woman earlier in her career.

“A lot of times on sets, you’re told not to make waves,” she said. “‘Just do the job.’ ‘You’re replaceable.’ And in Hollywood, and when you’re specifically a young female and you speak up about things, you’re labelled as ‘difficult’.

Sarah Michelle Gellar in ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ (UPN)
Sarah Michelle Gellar in ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ (UPN)

“But now I’ll wear that with pride, if ‘difficult’ means that I expect everyone to come with their 100 per cent A-game.”

She continued: “If you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, and you’re doing all this work and someone’s late on something – it’s OK to not be OK with that. But it does get you that label, which I think is unfair.”

Gellar also discussed the “pushback” from her team against taking her role in the 1999 erotic thriller Cruel Intentions, should it damage her image from Buffy.

“They kept saying, ‘We don’t get it, it’s so ridiculous – she’s such a bitch and you’re the superhero,’” she said. “I got so much pushback. But I had two real team members back then, and let’s just say that only one of them still works with me to this day.”