(Metro Café, May, 01, 2004)
60 SECONDS EXTRA!: According to FHM, Eliza Dushku is the 26th Sexiest Woman in the World, but she’s just as famous for playing the mysterious Faith in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Her first major role was in This Boy’s Life, with Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio, but you may also remember her as Arnie’s daughter in True Lies. She currently plays the lead character in Tru Calling on Sky One.
Is it daunting to have a show resting on your shoulders rather than being part of the cast?
Physically yes, psychologically no, because I’ve always said that I wanted to try everything, and it feels like an accomplishment. But, physically, I gained a lot of respect for Sarah Michelle Gellar and Rose McGowan [of Charmed] and other women who headline shows. We were doing 16 hour days every day Monday to Friday for eight months, and I’m in every single frame of every single shot. I would whine sometimes when I was driving home at eight o’clock on a Saturday morning feeling like a crack-head going to bed while everyone else was waking up to start their day.
When you worked with Leonardo DiCaprio, could you tell he was going to be a star?
I was 11, so the honest answer is no. I was barely aware that I was working with one of the dopest actors of all time, in Robert De Niro. Him and Ellen Barkin were, as far as I was concerned, just these eccentric, weird actor-y people. Leo was about four or five years older than me and we definitely had a sibling love-hate relationship. At one point he was being a really nasty little brat and cursing me out, saying swear words that I hadn’t even heard before, and I started crying: ’Why are you so mean?’ So I told the director and he said to Leo: ’She’s just starting middle school, don’t you think she’s getting enough teasing there?’ I think Leo got a soft spot for me. He asked what was going on at school and he gave me quick, witty comebacks I could say.
Well, for one, having my wonderfully unique last name, there’s always someone trying to tease you about it, so he asked what I said to that, and I told him: ’Well, I just cry.’ He said: ’You can’t just cry.’ So he had me practising saying: ’You think I’ve never heard that before? Did you just make that one up yourself?’ He just taught me how to stick up for myself.
Is it true Schwarzenegger bought you a scooter?
He bought me a little motorised Go-Ped thing. I don’t think anyone made it clear that maybe they weren’t made for 14-year-olds. My best friend and I ended up getting hit by a car, and my mum called Arnold from the hospital - he sent a huge bunch of flowers.
Does it feel weird now that he’s Governor of California?
Yeah, though I’ve been in Vancouver for the past eight months, but I’ve just got back and I’m finding what California’s like for myself.
I believe you’re not entirely in line with his politics.
This is true. I was on this TV show Access Hollywood and I had someone say: ’OK, you’re on in five seconds. We just want you to say: ¿Hey Arnold, this is Eliza, rooting for you, you have my vote.¿ OK, go Eliza!’ And I had to say: ’Whoa, wait a minute, are you high? Haven’t you checked my political views? I’m a Democrat.’ And they were like: ’Well, aren’t you guys friends?’
According to FHM, in 2002 you were 58th sexiest woman in the world, in 2003 you were 48th, this year you’re 26th. What’s your target for next year?
I don’t know. They’ve been nice to me even though I haven’t done a photo shoot for them. I did one for Maxim and my brothers had something to say about it, so I haven’t done another.
What did your brothers say?
They said: ’Did you really have to? Our friends read that magazine, did you have to take your clothes off?’ So maybe if we could put together a really classy shoot, I’ll be higher in the ranks next year. There have been some cool shoots, where the women look like they’re having fun and not like they’re about to be shot.
What would constitute a ’classy shoot’?
OK, the shoot has to be in a tropical location, it’s gotta be fun, they should get some of their hot, smart, good-looking men readers and put them in the shoot with me, or at least bring them to the location. We can come up with a list of our deal points, and you can tell FHM to get in touch with me.
That’ll get you in the top ten no problem.
It’s a win win situation: I get in the top ten, they get a photo shoot.
Have you been asked to adjudicate the Miss Albania contest?
Apparently, though I don’t know if it’s going to happen. There are two famous Albanians living today. One is Jim Belushi, whose brother was John, and they were the original Albanian celebrities. I guess I was the next Albanian celebrity, and it’s really flattering that they are proud of me, because I’m proud to be an Albanian. We’re supposed to be strong and stubborn and strong-willed. I like it whenever people find I’m Albanian and they go: ’Ooh, the crazy Albanians’, [laughs] because in New York the Albanians and the Italians had some serious feuds. The Albanians just showed up and started claiming neighbourhoods and they were fearless. The Italians were saying: ’We were here first,’ but the Albanians were just known to be a little bit prickly and ’Well, we don’t care.’ I’m definitely proud to be an Albanian and I want to get over there but I don’t know if it’ll be this year at the beauty pageant.
Are you still selling autographed film memorabilia for the Eliza Dushku Foundation?
Yeah, my father and my brothers were all involved in this camp in Boston, because my father was an elementary school teacher at an inner-city school. Actually, he taught Bobby Brown, and I ran into Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston at the Vanity Fair Oscar party a couple of years ago and I was wondering whether to bring it up, and Bobby Brown was actually the one to say: ’Your name, that name, I recognise that name!’ And I said: ’This is going to sound crazy but my father taught you.’ He was jumping around going: ’Yes! I remember him.’ Because, literally, we’re the only Dushkus in America. But, anyway, there’s this camp outside Boston for these kids and my father had started a foundation to raise money, and I got involved. I’m trying to open it up to girls, because it’s all boys at the moment. All my brothers were counsellors there and the kids are great, they just don’t come from homes with a lot of money. I’ve always loved kids, and I’m just a kid at heart (not that I’m old now). We’re going to set it up a bit better later this year, we need to go through some legal things in the first place.