‘Ringer’s’ Kristoffer Polaha: Henry’s a D-Bag, But Viewers Will Soon See Why
Kristoffer Polaha on 'Ringer' (Michael Desmond/The CW)
On the new CW thriller "Ringer," Kristoffer Polaha has the enviable job of playing Sarah Michelle Gellar's lover ... kind of. The juicy drama revolves around a desperate woman named Bridget who assumes the identity of her twin sister Siobhan in order to escape from trouble, only to discover a whole new set of problems. One of those problems is named Henry — who has been having an affair with Siobhan, despite being her best friend's husband. (Got all that?)
Polaha, a former star of "Life Unexpected," dropped by Yahoo! Studios for an episode of "omg! Now," and we ambushed him on his way out to ask him whether Henry really is the dirtbag he appears to be (and to reminisce about 2008's gone-too-soon sitcom "Miss Guided").
You're on "Ringer," and your former "Life Unexpected" co-star Britt Robertson is on "The Secret Circle." Is it a coincidence you're both still with The CW?
The show was originally slated for CBS, but Mark Pedowitz, the president of The CW, looked at this show and said, "I think it's a much better fit for our audience," which is a smart move because it's a serialized show. So while CBS does great with procedurals, this you have to watch and you have to keep watching — you kind of have to know what came before. The CW audience is really good about that. Like "Life Unexpected" — that story was unfolding week after week, developing characters, so you got pulled back. But, yeah, Brittany is on "Secret Circle" and I'm on "Ringer," so it's like the show goes on.
With serialized shows — especially one with a plot as complex as this one — a big concern is always the question of how long you can keep telling your story and still have a satisfying ending. How many seasons can "Ringer" run?
It depends on how the writers approach the material, but it's ripe for storytelling because you're tracking Bridget and you're tracking Siobhan. So while the focus right now is all on Bridget, we keep checking in with Siobhan. You've got a whole other character that you can jump into and basically tell the reverse side of the story.
So while the initial rocket fuel is propelling the story forward, you've got two sides of that secret to tell. That in itself is like two seasons right there. [Laughs] I'm like breaking it down into seasons: "That's easily two seasons right there." And then it depends, too, on how they want to broaden the world of the characters surrounding Bridget and Siobhan — like my character, Henry, or Ioan Gruffudd's character, Andrew, or Nestor Carbonell's character, Machado.
I mean, my theory is that long-arc storytelling should have a really clear beginning, middle, and an end, because otherwise it becomes redundant, you know? You want to keep telling interesting stories. So, you know, five years? I give it five years.
Check out Polaha on "omg! Now":
What's it like going from playing a fairly likable character on "Life Unexpected" to playing a guy like Henry, who's sleeping with his wife's best friend?
He's a total douche bag. You know what? This is the first time I'm gonna answer this way, because it's the first time the question's been phrased to me that makes me think this way. Baze, if you think about what Baze did, he got a girl pregnant in high school and he just totally disappeared — which is a pretty low-down thing to do.