Eliza Patricia Dushku (pronounced ; born December 30, 1980) is an American actress who appeared in several Hollywood movies such as True Lies, The New Guy, Bring It On, and Wrong Turn. She is also well known for her acting on television, such as her recurring appearances on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel as Faith, as well as the main character, Tru Davies, in the series Tru Calling. She also produces and stars as Echo in the series Dollhouse, created by Joss Whedon (with whom Dushku worked on Buffy and Angel), which premiered February 2009 on Fox.
Life and career Edit
Dushku was born in Watertown, Massachusetts, the daughter of Philip R. Dushku, an administrator and teacher in the Boston Public Schools, and ex-wife Judith "Judy" (née Rasmussen), a political science professor at Suffolk University in Boston. Dushku's father is Albanian American and her mother is Danish American through both of her grandfathers and English American through both of her grandmothers. Dushku attended Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill, and graduated from Watertown High School. She was raised a Mormon, the faith of her mother (though she is not actively practicing). She has three older brothers: Aaron, Benjamin (Ben, born February 5, 1976), and Nathaniel (Nate, born June 8, 1977, in Boston, Massachusetts), the latter of whom is a model and actor. Her parents divorced when she was still an infant. In 2005 she visited her father's family in Albania after being personally invited by the president. While there she also visited the Albanian Community in Kosovo and got an Albanian Eagle tattooed on the back of her neck.
Early career Edit
Dushku came to the attention of casting agents when she was 10. She was chosen at the end of a five month search throughout the United States for the lead role of Alice, playing with Juliette Lewis in the film That Night. In 1993, Dushku landed a role as Pearl alongside Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio in This Boy's Life, a role that she said opened a lot of doors. The following year, she played the teenage daughter of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis in True Lies. She also had parts as Paul Reiser's daughter in Bye Bye, Love, as Cindy Johnson with Halle Berry and Jim Belushi in Race the Sun, as well as roles in a television movie and a short film. Dushku took some time off from acting to finish her junior and senior years of high school. She was accepted to the George Washington University in Washington, DC and Suffolk University in Boston, where her mother serves as professor of government and previously served as dean of the campus in Dakar, Senegal.
Later roles Edit
After completing high school, Dushku returned to acting with the role of Faith on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a Slayer much more troubled than the main character Buffy Summers. Though initially planned as a five episode role, the character became so popular that she stayed on for the entirety of the third season and returned for a two-part appearance in season four, after which the remainder of her original story arc was played out as part of the first season of the Buffy spin-off series Angel. Repentant and rededicated, Faith returned as a heroine in a number of further episodes of Angel and in the last five episodes of Buffy. Dushku was inundated with piles of fan mail from legions of prisoners. She said that:
In 2000, Dushku starred in Soul Survivors, reuniting her with Race The Sun co-star Casey Affleck. She followed that up with the cheerleader comedy Bring It On with Kirsten Dunst. In 2001, she appeared in The New Guy with DJ Qualls and City by the Sea with Robert De Niro and James Franco. The latter film garnered attention from a wider adult audience and several good reviews. The same year, Kevin Smith invited Dushku to be a part of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, where she co-starred with Shannon Elizabeth, Ali Larter, and Ben Affleck.In 2003, Dushku appeared in Wrong Turn, a horror film in which she had the starring role, and The Kiss, an independent comedy-drama. Starting that same year, she also starred in a new Fox TV series, Tru Calling, where she played the main character, medical student Tru Davies. After having a grant pulled out from under her, Tru is forced to take a job at a local morgue where she discovers her power to "re-live" the previous day over again and uses it to bring murderers to justice. Dushku turned down a role in a spin-off of Buffy The Vampire Slayer which would have been about Faith. She has had many roles as a "bad girl" in movies and relishes the opportunities. In an interview with Maxim in May 2001, Dushku says of her roles, "It’s easy to play a bad girl: You just do everything you’ve been told not to do, and you don’t have to deal with the consequences, because it’s only acting." Dushku starred in an off-Broadway production entitled Dog Sees God from December 2005, playing "Van's sister", a character paralleled with Lucy Van Pelt from the original Peanuts comic strip on which the play production is based. She quit in February 2006 along with several other members of the cast among rumours of alleged abuse from the producer, which were later dismissed. She played the lead character on Nurses, a hospital comedy/drama for Fox. This was the second Fox pilot in which she has been cast, but will not be broadcast. She appeared in the Simple Plan music video, "I'm Just a Kid", as the band's love interest, as well as Nickelback's video for "Rockstar". Dushku has landed starring roles in two video game productions. She voiced the role of Yumi Sawamura in the English language version of Yakuza for the PlayStation 2, which was published and developed by SEGA, and released in September 2006. Dushku also stars as Shaundi, one of the lead characters in Saints Row 2, which was developed by Volition and published by THQ. It was released (in North America) on October 14, 2008 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
Current projects Edit
On October 1, 2005, she announced at Wizard World Boston that shooting had begun for Nobel Son in which she would star with Alan Rickman, Danny DeVito, Bill Pullman, and Peter Boyle. The movie was released at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival. Another project is On Broadway, an independent movie filmed in her native Boston. The movie is receiving great reviews and a few of them highlight Dushku's performance. It is currently being shown in many independent film festivals and has already won six awards. Variety announced on August 2, 2006 that Dushku would co-star with Macaulay Culkin in Sex and Breakfast, a dark comedy written and directed by Miles Brandman. The movie was released in Los Angeles in November 30, 2007 and on DVD in January 22, 2008. She starred in Open Graves, a 2008 horror-thriller about a satanic game co-starring Mike Vogel. She will play the main character in The Thacker Case and The Alphabet Killer, both based on real-life events and upcoming thrillers, one of them directed by Rob Schmidt with whom she had previously worked on Wrong Turn. Both movies will be released in 2008.The Alphabet Killer contains Dushku's first topless scene. She also appeared, along with Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman, Chris Pine and Rachel Taylor, in Bottle Shock, a drama about Napa valley wine. The film was directed by Randall Miller, who helmed Nobel Son. On August 26, 2007, Dushku signed a development deal with Fox Broadcasting and 20th Century Fox. Under the pact, the network and the studio develop projects tailor-made for the actress. They also approach her with existing pitches and scripts. Consequently, it was announced on October 31 that Dushku had lured Joss Whedon, famous for creating the Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Firefly series, back to TV, as they agreed to create a new show called Dollhouse. Dushku will play the main character, 'Echo', and serve as a producer on the show, which aired on Fox during the 2008-09 TV Season. In an interview, Dushku talked about how Dollhouse, and her reconnection with Whedon came about:
Personal life Edit
Dushku resides in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, California. Dushku is the CEO of her production company Boston Diva and serves as a producer on her recently released Fox sci-fi series, Dollhouse. She is an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox. Throughout her career, Dushku had refused to appear in nude scenes, saying that people have "a better chance of seeing God than seeing me naked." She did briefly appear partially topless in the movie The Alphabet Killer. She also posed naked for promotional pictures for Dollhouse and for a photoshoot in the May 2009 issue of Allure magazine. She had dated former L.A. Dodgers pitcher Brad Penny (currently with the Boston Red Sox), but in February 2009 she announced on the Howard Stern radio show that they had broken up.
She was twice nominated in 2004: for a Teen Choice Award at the Teen Choice Awards for Choice Breakout Star - Female for Tru Calling and for a Saturn Award by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films at the 30th Saturn Awards for Best Actress in a Television Series for Tru Calling.
Maxim Magazine named Eliza 6th on the Hot 100 Women of 2009.
Special appearances Edit
- The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (1 episode, "9 May 2002", 2002) .... Herself
- HypaSpace (1 episode, #1.113, 2002) .... Herself
- Extra (1 episode, "21 October 2003", 2003) .... Herself
- Late Show with David Letterman (2 episodes, "#9.205" and "7 April 2003", 2002-2003) .... Herself / Herself as Guest
- The Late Late Show (3 episodes, "9 November 2002", "20 January 2004" and "12 April 2004", 2002-2004) .... Herself
- HypaSpace (1 episode, "#1.113", 2002) .... Herself
- E! News (2 episodes, "20 May 2003" and "19 October 2005", 2003-2005) .... Herself
- Late Night with Conan O'Brien (4 episodes, "23 May 2003", "20 November 2003" and "17 January 2006", "12 February 2009" 2003-2009) .... Herself
- Last Call with Carson Daly (1 episode, "25 November 2003", 2003) .... Herself
- Jimmy Kimmel Live! (2 episodes, "23 February 2004" and "6 August 2008", 2004-2008) .... Herself
- On Air with Ryan Seacrest (1 episode, "23 February 2004", 2004) .... Herself
- The Sharon Osbourne Show (1 episode, "26 February 2004", 2004) .... Herself
- Richard & Judy (1 episode, "19 April 2004", 2004) .... Herself
- Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards '04 (2004) (TV) .... Herself
- Teen Choice Awards 2004 (2004) (TV) .... Herself
- The Tony Danza Show (1 episode, "#2.73", 2005) .... Herself
- Live with Regis and Kelly (2 episodes, "2 December 2005", 2005, "12 February 2009") .... Herself
- Euro Video Grand Prix (2006) (TV) .... Herself and Presenter
- The Howard Stern Show (1 episode, "February 12, 2009", 2009) .... Herself
- The Bonnie Hunt Show (1 episode, "April 21, 2009", 2009) .... Herself