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Eliza DushkuBuffy’s Bad Girl Goes All Martha Stewart and Saves the Day
By Kristin Veitch
Saturday 6 September 2003, by Webmaster
She’s been a cheerleader and a vampire slayer—and now, she sees dead people. But one thing never changes as 22-year-old Eliza Dushku morphs from role to role: This is one tough chick.
Earlier this year, the former Buffy the Vampire Slayer badass turned down the chance to headline her own Faith spinoff, choosing instead to star in Fox’s spine-tingling new drama Tru Calling. She plays Tru, a med student who takes on the midnight shift at a morgue and discovers she has a sort of, um, sixth sense for helping the deceased: She can go back in time to prevent their demise.
The show has generated early buzz as (in Dushku’s words) "Six Feet Under meets Run Lola Run," but she almost didn’t take the role.
Why the initial hesitation? I always said no, no, no to TV because of the contract—because of the six years. I really want to go back to school. I mean, with a professor as a mom, we didn’t have a TV. Every morning when we went downstairs, it was like "What’s happening in Bosnia?" We talked about that stuff all the time, and that’s interesting to me. But at the same time, if the show were to go seven years, I would be, like 27 or 28 years old. Big deal, I can still start my life there.
Are you nervous at all about headlining a show? I have a little bit of what my family likes to call Impostor Syndrome. I think it’s going to get found out any day that I don’t know what I’m doing out there. I never really took acting lessons. I tripped and fell into this. I was really lucky to be in the right place at the right time.
And now you’re making a name for yourself as a bodacious badass. How’d you get so tough? I grew up a tomboy in Boston. I have three older brothers—my mother raised my brothers and me as a single mom—and she was a full-time teacher, so I hung out with the boys every day. With boys, you have to stick up for yourself and be like, "Hey, buddy." You develop a little bit of a mouth. My mom even washed it out with soap once. I said a curse word at, like six, and I got a little Dial soap in the mouth.
Is it true you were raised in the Mormon faith? I kind of fell out of Mormonism at a young age. My brothers and I were not completely rebellious, but I remember driving to church in the minivan on Sunday—church is three hours long if you’re Mormon—we would stop at a red light, throw open the slider [door] and run for the hills. My mother would be screaming!
What are you most looking forward to with your new gig? Consistency. I like knowing where I’m going to wake up and go to work. I just bought a puppy, and I’m feeling very domestic. Just channeling Martha Stewart left and right these days.