Eliza Dushku talks 'Buffy,' 'Dollhouse' and playing Joss Whedon's Wonder Woman
(CBR) On a rainy Friday afternoon at the 2014 Emerald City Comicon, fans crowded the Grand Ballroom of the Seattle Convention Center to express their love of Faith – which, in this case, refers to actress Eliza Dushku’s former character on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” At a panel moderated by another “Buffy” alumnus – actress Clare Kramer (a.k.a. Glory) – Dushku discussed her career, present endeavors and plans for the future. She also took time to answer some questions from the "Faith-ful."
One of Dushku’s earliest roles was that of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s daughter in the James Cameron film “True Lies.” She indicated that this was where she discovered her love of “physical” roles. Even though she cracked her ribs while performing the infamous “Harrier Jet Scene,” Dushku realized she enjoyed this type of acting, much to her mother’s dismay.
Her big break on “Buffy” came right as she was finishing high school. Dushku was planning to attend college in Boston, but her agent gave her a call and asked that she videotape an audition for a show one of his clients was doing – that “client” being Sarah Michelle Gellar. Dushku said she read the script and then hurried down to Claire’s at the mall. She purchased some dark makeup and a few tough-looking accessories, laid her audition down on tape and got the part. While this altered her graduation plans, the actress was happy to announce that she would finally be attending college this fall.
The next role discussed was that of Tru Davies, Dushku’s character in the television show “Tru Calling.” She explained that she really enjoyed the role and the production team, but was disappointed when the network abruptly cancelled the program, as it left many loose story threads. She also fondly reminisced about her former costar Zach Galifianakis, saying, “At the time, nobody knew who Zach Galifianakis was. And now he’s ‘Between Two Ferns with President Obama.’ He was one of the best parts of that show, and he helped me raise my dog Max.”
After this, Dushku was asked many questions about “Dollhouse,” which she helped create and starred in, and which brought her back to working with “Buffy” creator Joss Whedon. The actress recalled having a “four-hour lunch” where she told Whedon what she wanted to do with the show. She felt she accomplished what she set out to do, but said, “Playing a different character every week was fun and crazy-challenging.”
Dushku also said that Whedon especially wanted to push her abilities in the show. One thing he told the actress was: “Your comfort zone lies in your hair, and I’m going to take you out of it as much as I can.” She recalled an entire episode where she was forced to wear an updo, and said she found it “super-awkward and uncomfortable.”
As for the show coming to a close in less than two seasons, she was disappointed but understood. She appreciated the fact that the network gave them enough notice to create an ending for the show. With regards to this, one fan wanted to know if Dushku was informed that Boyd was the show’s “big bad” when they first started filming in Season One. The actress said she wasn’t aware of it, but preferred it that way as it aided her acting. And once she did find out this revelation, Dushku said it was fun to see the seeds that Whedon had been planting at different points in the show.
Talking about the end of “Dollhouse” led Dushku to mention her latest endeavor, “The Gable 5,” a web series on the YouTube Machinima channel. She feels the show has quite a bit in common with “Dollhouse,” as it takes place in a dark future and has similar themes. She explained, “It’s something that’s interesting to me – this idea of deconstructing humanity to alter humanity…[My character] has all these emotions and she’s facing this defining moment – this defining loss in her life – and she wants revenge.”
The show was presented to Dushku by Kevin Tancharoen, director of “Mortal Kombat: Legacy” for Machinima. After talking together about her character and the world he intended to create – plus the fact that the show would be on Machinima – the actress said she eagerly hopped on board. She encouraged everyone in the audience to see the pilot which is online now and free to view. Dushku said she believes she even broke her personal record for most kills per minute in the episode.
As this panel was taking place at a comic convention, it was only appropriate that one audience member asked Dushku if she ever wanted to play a superhero. Considering that the actress has voiced Catwoman and She-Hulk in animated shows – and the fact that she’s friends with “Avengers” director Joss Whedon – this notion didn’t seem like a stretch to the fan. He even mentioned a rumor he heard that indicated Dushku was once in consideration for the lead in the Wonder Woman script Whedon had written some time ago, prior to his Marvel success.
The actress said she would love to play a hero or villain, and that the studios have her number if they’re interested. As to the Wonder Woman rumor, she stated, “Joss and I had a really candid conversation about it, and he said, ‘You know, little Dushku, I love you, but you’re not really Amazonian…’”
The crowd let out a disappointed “Aw…” upon hearing this, but the actress didn’t seem disappointed in the least. She said she just talked to a director about a role today, she has “The Gable 5” that’s airing on the web and she has school coming up. In addition, she mentioned her nonprofit – THRIVEGulu – which she’s very passionate about and also keeps her busy. And with all the aforementioned noted, the actress gave the audience an energetic smile and wave as the panel came to a close.
Copyright © 2014 Comic Book Resources. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.