When casting the prim and composed prep school headmaster for Netflix’s teen romp Do Revenge, writer-director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson (Someone Great, Thor: Love And Thunder) had only one person in mind: Sarah Michelle Gellar.
“She was my first dream choice,” Robinson says in a new interview with IndieWire. “And it was one of those things where you don’t think she’s going to do it. I was like, ‘Yeah, of course, let’s offer it to her and see what happens.’ You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. But when she said yes, I was flabbergasted and so excited.”
For her candy-coated Hitchcock-influenced adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers On A Train, Robinson called upon Gellar’s hallmark character, Kathryn Merteuil, from the 1999 flick Cruel Intentions. She became the voice inside Robinson’s head as she wrote Gellar’s principal role.
“I just heard her and sat there and literally thought about Kathryn from Cruel Intentions, like, if she was the headmaster of the school, what advice would she give?” Robinson says.
Gellar’s appearance in Do Revenge was kept relatively under wraps until yesterday when star Camila Mendes shared a clip featuring a razor-sharp focused monologue delivered by the ultimate revenge-executing mean girl.
In addition to Cruel Intentions, Robinson laces in nods to Clueless, Heathers, Jawbreaker, and 10 Things I Hate About You. These inspirations come from her looking out at the Hollywood landscape and seeing a lack of biting, campy teen dramas—all with stellar needledrops.
“I’m obsessed with high school movies,” Robinson says in a profile with New York Times. “But, very specifically, this type of film that I just feel like doesn’t get made anymore.” We agree.
Do Revenge premieres exclusively on Netflix on September 16.