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411mania.com Interviews: Eliza Dushku
Posted by Jeffrey Harris on 03.28.2014

411mania recently got the chance to speak with geek queen actress, Eliza Dushku. Dushku is now appearing in the brand new Machinima Prime short, Gable 5, in which she stars as a young woman taken captive by a nefarious scientist named Professor Gable (James Morrison, or Bill Buchanan of 24 fame), who is using unwilling human participants in sick, brutal experiments in order to harvest their emotions. Dushku got her big break way back in 1994, playing Arnold Schwarzenegger's daughter in the hit movie True Lies. Since then, she's also starred in such films as Bring It On, Wrong Turn, and Soul Survivors. On TV, she famously played the vampire Slayer Faith Lehane on both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. She also starred in Tru Calling and Dollhouse. More recently in animation, she voiced Catwoman in the Batman: Year One animated movie and the DC Showcase: Catwoman short. She's also playing the one and only She-Hulk in the Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. animated series. Here's what Eliza had to say about her latest project:

Jeffrey Harris: How did you get involved with Gable 5 and how excited were you to work with director Kevin Tancharoen?

Eliza Dushku: I got involved with the project via Kevin via his sister, Maurissa [Tancharoen], who worked, of course, on Dollhouse with Jed [Whedon] and Joss [Whedon] and myself. So it's the extension of the Whedon family, and I knew how talented he was and bringing the Mortal Kombat world back was so impressive. And then he was partnered with Machinima, and that speaks for itself. I loved the story, and I loved the – it's sort of a little Dollhouse-esque, this idea of deconstructing humanity and psychology into a scientific world where we can play with the variables and change the outcome. I thought that was sort of a no-brainer, no pun intended. And then there was a call for a physical game, which I consider myself to be. And so without further questioning, we dove in and I got to kick some serious…you know…what I love to do most.

Jeffrey Harris: Not just kick, but you impale a guy with a meat hook!

Eliza Dushku: I impale a guy with a meat hook. Yes I do.

Jeffrey Harris: There is a lot of badassery going on with you in this short.

Eliza Dushku: I like it.

Jeffrey Harris: It appears that in this story, Professor Gable, played by James Morrison, is trying to harvest the chemicals of human emotion. Do you know what emotions they are trying to siphon off of your character?

Eliza Dushku: I think there are so many emotions that could be harvested from that moment where they zap me and harvest me with this man torching my sister. I think all of those emotions [the five emotions are: temptations, panic, fear, rage, and regret] are in there. I think that's what is interesting that they are recreating this scenario, and I think all of those things are coursing through my character in that moment those things have come to dominate her life. She's filled with rage, with panic. It's all in there. How do you separate those things in a test tube later is what I find to be pretty interesting to explore…

Jeffrey Harris: When they pitched this to you, did they pitch this to you as a short, or do you and Kevin want to do more with this character and world, like a web show or anything more?

Eliza Dushku: They pitched it as a short. They pitched it as a short with a lot of possibility. And so Kevin and I absolutely spoke about how this could be the beginning of something big and interesting. And that door is now open that could be picked up and run with.

Jeffrey Harris: Don't you think your character should get revenge on James Morrison for torturing you like this and doing these sick experiments on you? Don't you think you deserve a little revenge?

Eliza Dushku: I mean, what do you think?

Jeffrey Harris: I want to see your character give it back to this guy. And I think you agree with me.

Eliza Dushku: Yeah.

Jeffrey Harris: I think we are in a really interesting moment right now with digital media where outlets like Machinima are producing shorts and programs with really talented people like yourself and Kevin working on them. And we're seeing it happen in a lot of places. What do you think of this new age of media? It's kind of like the wild west.

Eliza Dushku: Absolutely, it would be presumptuous to think that you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, but I joined Twitter I think during the second season of Dollhouse and it's absolutely the wild, Wild West. But I think that's so exciting to me. It's such a direct form of expression, and there's so much opportunity. There are so many more eyeballs and discussions and groups that you can dip your toes into in the interweb space. And through, as you said, producers like Machinima and peers of mine like Chris Hardwicke and Felicia [Day], it's given artists and producers an opportunity to take great ideas—every movie idea doesn't have to be recycled at this point when you have so many great minds that want to and now have the ability to produce their brainchild and have it be seen.

Jeffrey Harris: I feel like now we can take a lot of the middleman out and get the content straight to fans and viewers.

Eliza Dushku: I've never been a huge fan of the middleman. I like things coming straight from the—I like one-on-one, and I think fans too, the way this is taking off is that fans get that one-on-one. And there is something that is new, and invigorating, and addicting about that. I think to take out the translator, the guy in between that—at times the studios can be wonderful but they can take the creator and say, "Well, I don't know if you try to sell it to the audience this way. So we think that you should change this or change that," and you don't necessarily get the full effect. So I love the creative freedom and taking the reins off the horse.

Jeffrey Harris: I've also been loving your work as She-Hulk in Hulk and the Agents of SMASH and how you've developed She-Hulk over the course of this show. How much have you liked getting to play this version of She-Hulk?

Eliza Dushku: Thank you. I've been loving it too and massively enjoying it and massively enjoying my whole family: Fred [Tatasciore, who voices the Hulk] and Clancy [Brown, who voices Red Hulk], and the writers and our director; it's just been a dream. It's again a way for me—I'm a little ADHD and have a hard time staying focused in just one area. I'm always spinning wheels, and I like to taste other plates. And to build up in the voice-over world with Catwoman in Batman: Year One and now playing iconic She-Hulk in a space where it's fun to have my little, five-year-old nephew watch the show and say, "You know Auntie Liza, I'm so glad that there's a She-Hulk with all these guys. There are just some things that girls can do that guys can't." *Laughs* I'm like, "Right on, kid. You're getting it."

Thank you to Eliza Dushku for taking the time to speak with us. Gable 5 is now available on Machinima's YouTube channel, or you can watch the video in the above player. Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. airs on Disney XD.


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