(The Sacramento Bee, May 12, 2002)
The New Guy is the latest teen film to hit theaters. Though the movie doesn't bring much new to the genre, Eliza Dushku is a bright spot as the sexy head cheerleader who falls for the new guy at school.
Dushku has a long list of screen credits, including This Boy's Life (1993), That Night (1993), True Lies (1994), Bye Bye Love (1994), Journey (1995), Race the Sun (1996), Bring It On (2000) and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001). Of course, legions of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans know her as the dark-spirited Faith.
I had a chance to catch up with Dushku in San Francisco the other day and ask her a few questions.
Do you feel limited as an actor, playing teenagers in teen movies?
I'm not that far off from being a teenager, so I'm not completely against doing teen movies. I like to keep it mixed up - do a comedy and then do a drama.
In "The New Guy," you dance around in swimsuits. Was that awkward on the set?
No. I purely attribute my being comfortable (with that) to my three older brothers and being a tomboy my entire life. I felt so comfortable on the set.
Would you ever do a nude scene?
Never. You've got a better of chance of seeing God.
You were raised a Mormon. What was your family's reaction to seeing you in a bikini (on the big screen)?
My grandmother doesn't return my phone calls. My brothers kinda go, "Oh, Sis, put some clothes on!" But for the most part they're all super-supportive.
What was it like working on "The New Guy"?
The whole environment felt so free and creative, and (the director) let everyone just do what they wanted. A lot of the lines and moments in the movie were actually improvised.
Two cheerleader movies so close together. Were you a cheerleader in high school?
No, I used to make fun of the cheerleaders probably because I knew that I could never be one, probably out of my own insecurities because I wasn't popular in high school.
You have a huge fan base after being a regular on "Buffy."
Yeah, it can be creepy, but it's also flattering. I don't know how I can feel anything other than gratitude and appreciation.
Is there a possibility that Faith might be coming back to "Buffy"?
The story lines are so intricate and (planned so far ahead) that they could say to me, "Could we schedule you for an episode in September?" It would be hard for me to say, "Yes, I'll be available in September" because if a movie script comes along tomorrow that I'm just nuts about, then it's kinda like, "OK, are you ready to start in two weeks?" It's hard to schedule, but I would love to go back to "Buffy" because I love the people.
There have been rumors about a "True Lies 2." Can you tell us anything about it?
I can tell you a whole lot of nothing, because I have heard rumors but I haven't seen anything with my own eyes.
Have you turned down movie roles that you wish you hadn't?
Do you care to say which ones?
Not really, because that's just a little embarrassing for all parties involved. One thing I can say is that Tobey Maguire called me up and said, "Eliza, I'm doing this screen test for 'Spider-Man.' It's going to be like the biggest screen test of all time, and I was wondering if you could come down and read the girl's role."
We went down and I did it. It was definitely his test, and I really wanted to be respectful of that. So I wore something very neutral and kinda tried to just be the voice. Looking back, I should have gone in there and knocked (director) Sam Raimi's socks off. But I still think I did the right thing. It wasn't my day; it was Tobey's day.
How did acting professionally affect your social life, like with your friends and at school?
It got kind of annoying walking through the halls and having all the boys go, "What's up, movie star?" I didn't do a lot of the press around movies that I did when I was younger. I think that I escaped before Hollywood could ruin my life. But yeah, it was pretty cool.