KEEPING TRU TO THE FAITH
The Julius Schwartz room was already packed to standing-room-only capacity and soon she was given a fitting introduction to the audience. "Eliza Dushku has quickly become one of Hollywood's most sought-after young actresses, following the success of feature films like "Bring it On", Eliza stared in a wide range of movies including "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" with your very one Kevin Smith and "City by the Sea" with Robert De Niro, She can currently be seen in the Fox "Tru Calling" series which you may or may not know just got picked up for another season. (applause) And I just want to say if I knew there was that pretty of a girl in the city morgue I'd be dying to get in myself. (groans from the audience) Ladies and Gentleman, Eliza Dushku!" On to the stage Eliza appeared with another wave and her classic smile and bright eyes and only the slightly recognizable Boston accent. "Hi, what's happening? It's good to be here, thank you guys so much! I'm feeling the love in the room for sure," she stated approaching the mic. "We just got renewed yesterday so I was in New York with Mr. Jason Priestly, who I have an enormous crush on, is coming back so he was in New York with me. We were doing the whole announcement, ceremony thing with Fox, so I hope you guys watch again this year, it's getting hot. I think the show's gonna be cool this year." With a variety of questions to come and a ton of laughs to follow, Eliza began with the speechifying. But here, nobody would breeze out!
Talkin' 'Bout The BIZ ~
Audience: What attracted you to the script for the film "Wrong Turn"?
Eliza Dushku: It was just busted and crazy. I had these visuals of me and this hot guy, Desmond Harrington, running through the woods; rain and blood. And I just thought it was gonna be hot. (laughs)
A: How did you feel about the movie, "Bring It On Again"?
ED: I didn't see "Bring It On Again", my bad. People think I'm nuts, you guys wouldn't believe, I haven't seen any movies. I was a kid that grew up and didn't have a TV in my living room. We had one hidden TV that my brothers and I just found and had upstairs that we could go watch. My mom was Ms. 'Let's talk about current events,' and 'Let's talk about Rwanda.' My friends were like, 'We're so not coming over.' (laughs) We didn't see movies; we didn't watch a lot of TV so I'm bad with movies. I missed "Bring It On Again", but if it's a classic I'll see it down the road, I'm sure.
A: In movie or TV films, are there any director's you'd like to work with?
ED: I don't really know because honestly I've never wanted to be an actress. When I was younger, I wanted to be a doctor; I wanted to be a lawyer, a teacher; all these different things. Every job is just surprising to me still, someone will want me to do their project because I never thought that I'd do it. I feel lucky and I try and identify with these characters and make them as real as possible. But there are awesome directors like Scorsese, Michael Mann, Coppola's a legend, so any of those would do (laughs). You know, if they'd call, maybe I'd make some time. (she joked)
A: Having done the film, "The New Guy", would you like to do more comedies?
ED: Right now, we just wrapped on the first season of "Tru" a couple of weeks ago, so I think we go back really soon. There are a couple projects that, hopefully with timing and stuff, there's one specific that I want to do this summer, but I can't really talk about. I'd have to beat you all up several times. I think some of these faces just got excited. (laughs) I like comedies, I mean it always makes the grass always greener; when you're on a comedy you're like, 'Wow, I'm feeling really goofy right now, I really should probably be doing something dramatic and more serious,' and then when you're on a drama you're like, 'I'd do anything to see someone falling down the stairs right now.' It's fun to mix it up. Comedy is hard though, it's really hard to know how if it's gonna take or not. Like "Bring It On", we didn't know it was going to be like that, I though it was pretty funny, but we didn't really know as we went along and so it was kind of a nice surprise that it came out as it did.
A: Do you want to get back at Ashton Kutcher for Punking you?
ED: I wouldn't know how and I think I'm just gonna let that one go. (laugh) He definitely, they had me for sure. I heard a rumor that my mouth was a little foul and I apologize for that but I was freaking out. We were shooting the season finale of Buffy when they did that to me and I was supposed to be on set in 20-minutes. I said, 'Can I just call someone?' and they're like, "No, don't you dare call anyone. The paddy wagon's on the way. You're getting sent to the clink.' And I'm thinking, 'I wonder if Buffy bails people out of jail?' (laughs) Big problem. So I'm sweating and I got a little bit feisty I hear. Good times with my truck driver mouth. (laughs)
A: Do you have advice for actors trying to get into the business?
ED: I'm the wrong person to ask, I'm just a pool of knowledge right now (laugh). I tripped and fell into it, literally. I tripped and fell at my brother's audition when I was so young. I felt really lucky but I never took any acting classes. I never did anything like that. I wouldn't really know; I just know that it can be really tough. You have to have some seriously thick skin and anyone out there who does make it - keep your head! It drives me crazy how many people I see who go bananas. On the first day they walk in, so humble and kind, and then all of a sudden you see these actors doing stupid things. But that's my advice if you get there, you can lose it so fast by acting that way, so you have to keep it real, just be human.
A: What should you 'not' do as an aspiring actor? (from a guy wearing a "F*** Censorship" t-shirt)
ED: Don't wear that shirt you got on to your first audition, buddy! (laughs) What does it say? Actually, maybe do! (laughs)
A: Do you want to do theater?
ED: I kind of have stage fright in a major way. It sounds silly but when kids did plays my mom was really embarrassed. I couldn't, I'd get up onstage and I'd just geek out. So in Pinocchio, I was a fish. I held this cardboard thing and I came out in the scene where he gets eaten by whale and I was in the way, way background with a fish cutout. My mom was like, 'Great.' I could never get myself to say words up on a stage because I would get freaked out.
A: How was it working with De Niro?
ED: De Niro is the man! I love him to pieces and he also has a hot son that I just ran into yesterday in New York. Raphael. I'm like, 'Guh! Future husband!' (laughs) He's awesome and has been so good to me.
The Joss-verse ~
Audience: I was talking to Joss [Whedon] last week and he said that you are the first actor he knew would become a movie star and seeing how that Sarah [Michelle Gellar] and Alyson [Hannigan] have made movies, how does that feel?
Eliza Dushku:: Well, dear Joss, please don't stop! (laughs) What else did Joss say? (laughs) He's my buddy and I love that guy. I think the first season on [Buffy] I was 17-years old, I had just come from Boston and I was a real novice and I think he was kind of amused by what a wiseass I was. I think so we just really hit it off. And he also wanted to throw me a few tips and guide me a little bit on how to be an ultimate professional. So he's my buddy. That's really awesome, it's always cool when he says nice things, I adore him, he's the man.
A: Would you do a new Buffy spin-off?
ED: I don't know, it's one of those things where the show was ending and I chose to do "Tru Calling" right now. Who knows what the future holds but I played Faith off and on for six years, I have a mad love for the girl don't get me wrong, but I wanted to try something a little bit different. You know what I mean? (applause)
A: What did think about how Joss ended Angel?
ED: I missed it, I haven't seen it yet. I've been traveling all week and just a couple hours ago I was in New York doing the Upfronts and stuff. But I ran into David Boreanaz recently, we had a little party and everyone was hanging out and he seemed like he's in good spirits. I said it about the Buffy cast as well, I know them as friends and as professionals and I'm always just proud of them. I think they did an awesome job and I think they really gave it to the fans and that was their driving force the whole time. They really worked their tails off. Joss and all the writers as well, so I heard it was pretty epic. Did you guys think it was good? (applause) What you were hoping for as a final? Because the Buffy season finale, I thought was incredible, personally.
A: Did you enjoy your kissing scene with David Boreanaz?
ED: Hell yeah! (laugh) Except when he had the vampire teeth in and I didn't know we weren't supposed to really kiss, so I went for it, I'm method; what do you want? (laugh) We're kissing and that tooth went right through my tongue and I was just, 'If this is a long shot can we take his teeth out 'cause my tongue just got like punctured.' Everyone was quiet and the director was like, 'Wow, so you're really using the tongue, huh Eliza?' and I was like, 'What do you mean? Buffy doesn't kiss like that?' (laughs) It's a little embarrassing to be honest.
A: Who did you like kissing the best?
ED: I kissed D.B. Woodside [Principal Wood], that didn't suck either.
A: What about the girl in the film, "Soul Survivors"?
ED: I think we drank a little bit of booze before we did that one. That was a little awkward for me, personally.
A: Do you have a scene or a performance that you are really proud of?
ED: It's hard for me, I can't really watch myself because I'm my worst critic. I'm sometimes my best friend, like I'll be, 'Oh, she's cute right there,' or I'll be, 'Oh my God, I can't watch!' But in terms of emotionally, when we were doing the Angel scene in the alleyway, that was kind of intense. I remember really getting into it and that was a lot and I liked the way it turned out. There were scenes in "City by the Sea" too that I felt good about.
A: Alyson Hannigan said that she felt her missed opportunity on Buffy was not having Willow and Faith hookup as a couple.
ED: Yeah, it's so weird, Aly was always hitting on me. (joking) I was like, 'Come on sister! Step off. I can't.' No, Aly is cool. I was just over in London and saw her in her play; she was so good. I was peeing my pants laughing - she was so funny. She is such a sweetheart, Alexis [Denisof] was there and they are so cute together. I dunno, maybe she just -- if it were that way, she just fancies me like that. I'm flattered. (laughs)
A: What was your inspiration in playing Faith?
ED: I guess it drew from fear and when you're really afraid and the different ways that people cope with that. The ways you have to cope with it as opposed to how you would cope with it if you didn't have to deal with repercussions. When she was flipping out and going nuts and stuff, that was almost really cathartic to me because I got to flush that out. I've had a pretty good life, but not a perfect life and there have been a lot of times where loneliness or fear or anything else. I'm a human being so it's actually kind of cool to be able to flush that stuff out through the character. Also, reading different letters from fans that really broke my heart but that where inspiring at the same time from young women who dealt with really painful situations and the way they identified with Faith and why. That actually really added to how I played her as it went along. It added different ideas for me and it was intense.
A: What do you think of Charisma Carpenter doing "Playboy"?
ED: I don't know; different folks, different strokes. I mean it wouldn't be my thing. My three older brothers, they would beat me silly and grandma, let's not forget about grandma she's like, 'Ohh!' Didn't Kim Basinger do her "Playboy" spread and then the next year she won an Oscar? I think it depends on the person. What do you know about that? (joking) Is it career ruining or career enhancing? She's had the baby and she looked rockin'? Go Charisma.
Tru Calling ~
Audience: How do you get along with everyone in the cast on "Tru Calling"?
Eliza Dushku: We all get along really, really, so well. Zach Galifianakis [Davis], I hate him to pieces but he's the funniest dude I've ever met in my life. We have this awesome love/hate relationship where we just cut each other down all day long in the most loving way.
A: I didn't like when they brought in Jason Priestly.
ED: I like him. I liked him before and I like him now. He's always been cool in my book.
A: Does Zach still tell you you're getting fat?
ED: Yeah! (laughs) I'm telling you, I'll be drinking a cup a tea right at Craft Service and he'll be like, 'Hmm, I see someone's eating their way to cancellation!' (laughs) We'll be, 'You're fat, I'm fat.' And he tells me I'm a terrible actress right in the middle of my close-up. He's a pretty terrible human being, (laughs) but I love him, I love that.
A: Do you like doing TV series or movies more?
ED: They're different and they're the same in some sense. The hours, the speed; you go really fast in TV, which a part of me likes, but a part of me also -- your head starts to spin a little bit and sometimes you feel like, 'What's my name? Who am I?' you just trip out. Also it's kind of fun to mix it up and play different characters but at the same time I really [enjoyed] playing Tru this year. It's cool because I started figuring things out about her, things we had in common as I got to play her for eight months. I feel by the end we were starting to get a really cool character going, so it's different but I want to do both.
A: Can you tell us a little bit about next season on "Tru Calling"?
ED: Well, with Jason [Priestly] the Evel Knievel coming in, Tru's opposite, I think there's gonna be a lot of tension and like in the season finale, I liked that whole bit about, 'Oh it's on, you have no idea what you've started,' because now there's gonna be some fighting' words and some fighting' attitudes happening. I think that's a really cool way to stir things up. I like it when things get stirred up.
A: What's your favorite episode of "Tru Calling"?
ED: I liked the multiple-rewind day-one because it was really fast paced and there was a lot of stuff going on in that one, different people dying. I liked the murder-in-the-morgue episode too. It was cool with the bullet and that whole Matrix-y thing. And the season finale was awesome because it was like finally, finally Tru started to have some calling. She was stepping up and regaining her power a little bit, which I thought was hot. I like strong women as some of you might know.
A: You had said that you were looking for something more permanent with "Tru" after doing movies. You were recurring on Buffy and now you are the lead on "Tru", so was this first season more than you expected?
ED: No joke, yeah, it's a lot. It's intense. I always say I can't complain, I think actors -- we're super lucky but I can whine sometimes at like 5 in-the-morning or 8 in-the-morning on a Saturday when everyone's getting up and going to Starbucks and I'm driving home from work with full fledged make-up and I feel like Crack-head Sally from working all week for a lot of hours. (laughs) That sometimes freaks me out but I have mad respect for Sarah and Dave and all the people and anyone who leads a show like that, because it's defiantly a lot. My ADD's gotten a little better in the past couple years, (joking) but I like to be always moving and doing something so it kind of works out good.
Life or Something Like it ~
Audience: What were your favorite cities while traveling in China?
Eliza Dushku: I really liked Beijing were we first flew in, Shanghais was really cool but then we went to some really remote places as well. It was kind of cool because we were the only Americans who had ever gone in there, we felt different walking in the streets of these villages in inner-Mongolia where we were definitely out of our element but I kind of like that.
A: I've done a lot of reading about your e-Bay charity, can you tell us more?
ED: My father and my brothers worked a lot through this, or were involved in this camp in Boston, it's called Camp Hale. It's a really awesome camp for inner-city kids who don't have any money. My brothers worked there different summers and I used to go there a lot - I was the only girl in the whole camp - but we wanted to try and raise the money to also open up a girls camp because it just really saved my father's life at one point, way back in the day and I've seen how great it is. I've been up in Vancouver and I've been so busy that we were trying to set up a foundation, then there were a few problems along the way that -- there are a lot of haters out there for some reason, who cause the drama, stir things up so we wanted to reformat and start again; actually probably in the next couple of months where I have some time. We can set the foundation for it and do all the legal stuff right, because there are a lot of people counting on it. So it's a really cool thing, and I encourage people who want to support it to get into it.
A: Who do you look up to?
ED: My mother, honestly, it sounds cheesy but my mom is an amazing woman. She has always kind of been...I've always wanted to be just like her because she's that cool.
A: Do you want children?
ED: Absolutely, I love kids for sure. My mom had me when she was 40 and that was a big mistake, huge, (laughs) but it turned out ok and I love that she's older. She's so wise and so knowledgeable. I'm definitely gonna wait until 30, because I want to have my 20's for me. My other idol is Oprah. I love Oprah. She is so dope!
A: Are you single?
ED: Yep, are you? Yeah, I am. It's hard to date when we're shooting this show - there's a whole lot of 'no time'.
A: It's not hard to date you!
ED: Put your money where your mouth is! (joking) I have a puppy too that takes up a lot of my time now, Max Factor. He's my boy.
A: What does your last name mean and what is your nationality?
ED: I'm an Albanian Danish (she jokes) and that's Albanian. It think it means in Bulgarian 'unbelievable lover'. Someone told my mom that and I'm not even sure. My mom was in Bulgaria and she was like, "Hi, I'm Judy Dushku," and the guy was like "Ohhh!" (laughs) My mom was like, 'What? What am I missing?' Someone was like, 'You know what that means.' But in Albanian, I think it means, 'Oak Tree'. I prefer the Bulgarian translation.
A: Was this your first Meet & Greet and how is it?
ED: I did a Comic Con convention in San Diego with the other cast of "Tru". It's not my first but it's certainly the best though. (applause) It's really cool, the people are really supportive and I appreciate it. A lot of people come and say really nice things and people are super thoughtful. And all you guys are gracious and cool and I appreciate it!