Sarah Michelle Gellar is glad the Cruel Intentions reboot was canceled.
Actress Sarah Michelle Gellar recently spoke with the New York Times about why she decided to pass on the supposed Cruel Intentions reboot for NBC. Peacock gave the series an order in February 2016 but ended up canceling the reboot in October of the same year. The actress initially signed on to reprise her role of Kathryn Merteuli but eventually dropped out.
“That was a whole crazy time. Nothing against NBC, but Cruel Intentions is straight streaming. On the first day, I was like, ‘This isn’t working.’ It’s just not a network show. And if it is a network show, it’s not my Cruel Intentions. So, I was actually grateful.”
The Cruel Intentions reboot was said to have taken place more than 15 years after the 1999 film. The teen romantic comedy was directed by Roger Kumble and starred Sarah Michelle Gellar, Reese Witherspoon, Ryan Phillippe, and Selma Blair. The small-budget feature was picked up by Columbia Pictures.
Cruel Intentions focused on Sarah Michelle Gellar’s character Kathryn and Ryan Phillippe’s Sebastian in a game of sexual conquest. The film grossed $76 million at the box office on a budget of roughly $10.5 million. Since its release, the teen comedy has gone on to become a cult classic amongst cinephiles.
The film currently stands at 54% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on reviews from 114 critics. Legendary film critic Roger Ebert praised it when it was first released, noting that it was “smart and merciless of the original story.” Fox previously tried resurrecting the project with their own television version with Manchester Prep, a prequel series that didn’t have Sarah Michelle Gellar.
The prequel series only shot three episodes and never made it to air. It ultimately was recut into a direct-to-video film called Cruel Intentions 2. Amy Adams took over Sarah Michelle Gellar’s role as Kathryn in the sequel.
Following her role in Cruel Intentions, Sarah Michelle Gellar continued to appear in other projects. Perhaps one of her more famous roles was starring in the live-action adaptations of Scooby-Doo and as Buffy Summers in the hit show Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Gellar played the character Daphne Blake.
IMDb TV, Amazon’s premium free streaming service, announced in October 2021 that they were developing their own take on Cruel Intentions. Phoebe Fisher and Sarah Goodman were set to write the project for Sony Pictures Television and Amazon Studios. While Sarah Michell Gellar at that time wasn’t announced to be attached to the project, the original film’s producer, Neal H. Moritz, signed on as executive producer.
After weeks of negotiations, Sarah Michelle Gellar decided to sign on to the project for NBC. The actress confirmed the news via a throwback photo of herself with Roger Kumble and Neal H. Moritz on Instagram. While it looked as if everything was moving forward, the network decided not to move forward.
According to a 2016 report from Deadline, NBC walked away from the project, and Sony Pictures TV decided to shop it elsewhere. The report noted that NBC intended the series for a summer run. However, lengthy on-and-off discussions about the Sarah Michelle Gellar cult classic reboot went nowhere.
In the 1999 original film, Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Kathryn is vying for control of Valmont International and the soul of Sebastian Valmont’s late brother, Bash Casey. After discovering his late father’s legacy in a journal, Bash is introduced to a world filled with excess. In addition to there being a direct-to-video sequel, a third film was also released in 2004.
Whether or not a new Cruel Intentions sees the light of day remains to be seen. As of now, fans of the original 1999 teen comedy know that Sarah Michelle Gellar will not be involved. The actress recently appeared in the Kevin Smith comedy Clerk 3 and in the Netflix film Do Revenge alongside Stranger Things star Maya Hawke.