(The New York Times, December, 2005)
By JOE DZIEMIANOWICZ
'Go big or go home!' is the motto that steers babe-tastic actress Eliza Dushku, whether she's dealing with demons ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel"), dead folks ("Tru Calling") or De Niro ("This Boy's Life" and "City by the Sea"). The philosophy is now guiding her in her latest venture — Off-Broadway. Dushku, who turns 25 next month, makes her New York stage debut tomorrow at the Century Center for the Performing Arts (111 E. 15th St.) in Bert V. Royal's "Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead." The play is an "unauthorized parody" of the "Peanuts" gang — Charlie Brown, Lucy (who inspires Dushku's character), Linus, et al. It fast-forwards the tots into their troubled teen personas — and manages to use the F-word 57 times. Salty "Peanuts," indeed.
Considering its dead beagle, same-sex kisses and other quirks, did you have qualms about doing a play that blatantly blasphemes beloved cartoon kids?
It's definitely twisted, because these are characters we know and love, but it's also deep and tragic and hilarious. It's reminiscent of high school to me. I grew up in Boston and went to public school, so in that sense, the play is very real.
You've done lots of films and TV — why a play at this point?
People have said that I always play this black-leather-pants-wearing, big-busted tough chick, but I like to try different things. Still, when I was approached with this [play], my first instinct was "No f—ing way." Being onstage, live, where you can't cut and go back and do another take, is just terrifying. What better reason to do it. I've learned so much about losing inhibitions.
You, inhibited? Readers of the lad magazine Maxim might be surprised to read that you're at all uptight.
What are you trying to say, that I'm sexually provocative (laughs)? Yes, I posed for Maxim. I'm very comfortable with my sexuality. I don't try to be gratuitous, but at the same time, I think my body is part of my whole deal, baby.
Beyond Off-Broadway, what's next for you?
I just finished an independent movie, "Nobel Son," with Alan Rickman, Danny DeVito, Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen. I play this poet and artist who helps kidnap the son of this physics Nobel Prize winner. She's dark and kind of a wacko.
Back to those black-leather pants. Do you wear a pair in "Dog Sees God"?
No. In one scene I'm in institutional wear. I don't know how sexy that is, but there are also handcuffs. That might bring in its own crowd.