Eliza Patricia Dushku, born December
30, 1980) is an American actress best known for her roles on television,
such as her recurring appearances as Faith on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and
its spinoff series Angel, as well as the main character, Tru Davies, in
the short-lived Fox series Tru Calling. She currently produces and stars
in the series Dollhouse as Echo, created by Buffy and Angel creator Joss
Whedon. She has also appeared in several films, including True Lies, The
New Guy, Bring It On, Wrong Turn and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.
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 of Danish and English descent. 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 Kosovo and got an Albanian Eagle tattooed on the
back of her neck.[
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.
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:
I've been getting fan mail from maximum security penitentiaries and death
row. What are the authorities thinking of in playing a show with young
teenage girls to Death Row inmates? They write everything — disgusting
things that you don't even want to know about. And they send me pictures —
'Oh, here's a picture of me before I was incarcerated!' — and there's some
guy sat on the sofa with a bottle of beer and a moustache, and a big gut.
It's so creepy. Way more creepy than Buffy.
In 2000, Dushku starred in Soul Survivors, reuniting her with Race The Sun
co-star Casey Affleck. One reviewer described the film as "84 minutes of
everyone's wasted time." She followed that up with the hit 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 if one of the deceased asks for her help to change what has
happened. 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. She also was the voice talent for the role of
Rubi Malone, the main character in the game WET. She appeared at Spike
TV's 2008 Video Game Awards in December 2008.[
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. A reviewer described Dushku as "charming" and giving
the character "an edge." 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. The film earned mixed reviews, but reviewers praised
Dushku's performance, commenting "Eliza Dushku commands the screen but
cannot reconcile the script's conflicted and increasingly idiotic
agendas." 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 played the main character, 'Echo', and served as a producer on the
show, which aired on Fox during the 2008–09 TV Season. One TV reviewer
said Dushku "does wonderful things to a tank top, but her grasp of this
vague, personality-changing character is a bit of a muddle." In an
interview, Dushku talked about how Dollhouse, and how her reconnection
with Whedon came about:
I invited Joss Whedon to lunch after I did the business deal and decided
that Fox, we'd had a cool relationship in the past and I wanted to do
something else and I wanted to get back into a television show. I had him
on the brain for sure but I hadn't called him yet, but I sort of took a
leap of faith and set things up with Fox and then called Joss. We went to
a four-hour lunch where I just sort of used my womanly wiles. No, we've
become such good friends, kind of like brother and sister and kind of like
he was my watcher, my handler from when I first moved out to L.A. when I
was 17 and I was a little bit of a wild child. He's watched me and helped
me and taught me over the years. I told him how bad I wanted and needed
him back and he accepted and here we are.
Dushku described Whedon as "my favorite genius ... favorite friend ... big
brother ... and the only person out here I've ever wholeheartedly trusted,
because he's never let me down." Dollhouse was renewed for a second
season. The producers cited their confidence in the strength of Joss
Whedon's fan base and high DVR numbers as their reasons for keeping the
show. FOX cancelled Dollhouse on November 11, 2009. The show officially
wrapped filming on the second and final season on December 16, 2009.
Dushku has been announced as the voice of contract killer "Rubi Malone" in
the upcoming action video game Wet, alongside fellow actors Malcolm
McDowell and Alan Cumming. Dushku secured exclusive rights to make "The
Perfect Moment" and enlisted the help of Ondi Timoner.
Dushku provides her voice for Noah's Ark: The New Beginning and will also
appear in the film Locked In set for release in 2010.
Dushku resides in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, California.
Dushku is the CEO of her production company Boston Diva and served as both
lead actress and a producer on the short-lived FOX cult hit, Dollhouse
created by Joss Whedon. She is an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox.
She had dated baseball pitcher Brad Penny, but in February 2009 she
announced on the Howard Stern radio show that they had broken up. Dushku
is currently dating former basketball player Rick Fox.