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Eliza Dushku (Echo) - Dollhouse
Eliza Dushku was born on 30 December 1980. She is best known for her recurring role as as Faith on Buffy the Vampire Slayer as well its spin-off series Angel. She has also starred in Tru Calling and Dollhouse. Her big screen appearances include True Lies, The New Guy, Bring It On, Wrong Turn and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. We caught up with Dushku as season two of Dollhouse was released on Blu-ray and DVD...
Sci-fi-online: In Dollhouse you get to play a lot of characters, all very different. It's well known that Joss Whedon created the show with you in mind, so how did he pitch the idea to you?
Eliza Dushku: It sort of came from a four-hour lunch with with Joss.
Joss went, "You're a lot of people." And I think he also noticed that more often than not I was sort of being cast as the leather pants tough girl, you know, really sort of my guard was up and that was where I came from in a way.
Coming out of high school I did Buffy right away and I was in that tough fiercely protective, I'll kick anyone's butt that tries to scrutinize me or tell me who to be or put me in a box. And as I have recovered from high school every year, I'm a little more open about playing different characters and playing vulnerable characters and playing characters that, you know, can be beat down as well as doing the beating.
SFO: Were there any characters you played in Dollhouse that you felt the most comfortable with? And were there any where you felt uncomfortable?
ED: It depends. It definitely depends. I think absolutely there is a level of trust with Joss and the cast and the crew even that we've had with on the show both seasons because I feel comfortable going those places and going to some of the more vulnerable, raw places and when I don't feel entirely comfortable, it's - you're more likely to get the bold, the strong, the resistant person. So when I'm in my comfort zone I can be quite lovely.
SFO: How do you prepare for your action scenes.
ED: Gusto, baby. I just step up to the line and I hate - I remember in the Buffy days I used to watch the fight scenes on TV after we shot them and every time my stunt double was in I thought everyone could notice that it was not me as much as I could. So I wanted to do as much as I could so I didn't see that wig flipping around [laughs]. I wanted to climb in. And also it is so much fun, you know, it's a great stress reliever to just beat the bag out of someone on a Monday morning. And it's just - it's physical. You get your endorphins going.
I'm a competitive kid. I did grow up with brothers, and so it beats sitting behind a desk or playing sort of the same character every day. It switches it up. How do I prepare? I just show up and I take direction.
SFO: Being the main character in a show must be a lot of hard work. Do you enjoy that kind of tension?
ED: I enjoy it. I mean, sure there are times where I'm exhausted. There are times where I sort of miss my life and I don't get to travel as much as I would like or be an aunty to my niece and nephew; I'm busy. But I also am well aware after having been in this business for 18 years that, you know, that you kind of have to strike while the iron is hot and the iron feels pretty hot right now. So work now, rest what I'm dead.
SFO: For those that haven't seen season two of Dollhouse yet, can you tell us how the show differs this year?
ED: The first season we really built up the Dollhouse. We showed a lot of the glitz and the glamour of the engagement. And we showed the motorcycle rides and the dancing and the laughing and the fun. And, of course, with that, with the Dollhouse is fun; there is actually the flip side, which is the pain and the moral dilemmas. And this year when we find Echo she's absolutely started to absorb things from, from not just the engagement, but things in the Dollhouse and she is remembering things in the past as Caroline.
She becomes her own character. And everyone around her in turn is also reacting and growing and regressing because of that. And so we've really sort of built up the Dollhouse in the first season. And the cracks are starting to show and it is sort of crumbling down in a lot of ways, and we still have these different engagements.
I go into GI Jane combat mode and I infiltrate a big military group. But when I come back to the house the relationship with Fran and with Adele and Harry and with Paul has gotten so much more layered because Echo isn't just a dumb doll now. Instead of people saying, I like broccoli, she is feeling and expressing and also figuring out who she can trust. She is toying with people and everyone is sort of toying with each other. So the Dollhouse has gotten pretty frightening.
SFO: In season two there's less emphasis on the engagements that she goes out on.
ED: Yeah, the engagements are still there, but her conduct in or around them is what starts to change. The glitching takes on a whole different level because the glitching is actually, you know, each time everywhere she is going in a way she's thinking of ways to bring down the Dollhouse which is a problem in itself for the higher-ups.
SFO: A lot of shows now always have the DVD release in mind whilst in production. Did you do stuff within the production of Dollhouse that was specifically geared towards DVD or is it all after the fact?
ED: I don't really know because I feel like we, of course, make the show for the viewers and the fans first and foremost. And I think - I don't think we're favouring the DVD with the stuff but I think with all Joss's shows what is so fascinating about them and what sort of feeds the fan craze is that there are nuances in every show. And there are - you can watch the show three times and pick something up each time you watch it from the characters or from the sets or from, you know, little things that, yes, Joss probably does to get into people or get people thinking and coming, breaking off into big, giant theories about world corruption.
SFO: What about the relationship between Echo and Paul? How does that evolve in season two?
ED: It is not unsexy. There was a chemistry there and last season he spent the entire season trying to get into the Dollhouse now that he is in and he's Echo's handler, you have to use your imagination until you see what happens.
Dollhouse: The Complete Season 2 is released through Twentieth Century Home Entertainment from 11 October 2010.