Before we begin, though, a little spoiler-free scoop: For what it's worth, I've seen the first three episodes of the show, and I can tell you that I really, really liked the pilot a lot. The other two... well, let's just say I was slightly less sold on those, but the show is absolutely, without a doubt worth checking out. It's an action show that actually has something to say and, given the time and patience to grow, definitely has the potential to be as amazing as everything else in the Whedon-verse. Now, onward, Q&A!
Was the fact that you were essentially a different character in every episode what drew you to the show?
Eliza Dushku: Well, Joss and I came up with the show together and we were talking about what kind of show would suit me right now in my career and in my life. Basically, Joss and I have had a 10-plus-year friendship at this point, and he knows me very well, and he knows how hard it is for me to sit still for five minutes, not to mention for an entire episode, so the premise of the show was sort of based on my own life and on keeping things moving and on keeping me active and having the chance to play and jump around in between these characters every week and sometimes multiple times every show. That was planned from the get-go.
So you're just wound so tight that you couldn't be a character that's slow and methodical?
ED: You're putting words in my mouth there. I've never said I'm wound so tight; I just have a lot of energy and I just have sort of an appetite for people and stories and telling different stories and being in a different place and traveling and just experiencing different emotions. One thing that Joss gave me in this project is the ability to sort of show some other colors of mine that other creators and other writers, directors, executive producers haven't given me in the past, but he has seen them in me and wanted to give me the stage to act them out.
The show is being described as game-changing and mind-blowing. What about it is making people describe it that way?
ED: Well, it's provocative. It's disturbing in some ways. It's controversial. We're dealing with altering and programming people, and I think that that's a very sensitive topic, but I think that it's relevant. And I think that it's exciting, because I've always wanted to do work that has to do with us evolving and questioning -- making people uncomfortable, I guess. That's sort of what interesting storytelling is to me, is asking different questions and taking a closer look at desires and fantasies and taboos and sexuality, and these are all things that Joss and I initially discussed in our infamous first lunch, when we were talking about making a show. They were things that I knew he, as a creative genius -- which I truly believe he is -- had the ability and the imagination to create with me, and at the same time roll in a story that just puts those parts together tightly, cleverly, with drama and humor and pain and joy. Obviously, anyone who's known his work in Buffy, and then anyone who knows him as a person, knows that he's just all of those instruments. That's, I think, what makes this such an extraordinary show.
Given that the clients of the Dollhouse are expecting their fantasy girl, are we going to see any episodes from a client's perspective where they learn that that's a curse instead of a gift?
ED: Absolutely. I mean, I think that's sort of the point. One of the main themes in this whole story that we're telling here is that objectification hurts...
Did you like being the bad girl, or did you like being the sweet girl? Was there a certain type of personality that you particularly enjoyed playing?
ED: Yes. No. It surprised me, because on the one hand it's awesome and exhilarating to be the sexy assassin, but at the same time I've been surprised time and time again how much I also really enjoy playing... like, I play this blind cultist, and it was just so different than anything, than any skin I had ever been in, and I really, really enjoyed it. It was challenging, and yet it was, like, liberating to have the opportunity and to see the world -- not see the world, but to be in the world in these different skins. That was a particularly special episode, as was being the personality of a 50-something-year-old woman in my own body. That was another one that's coming up that was very interesting. I don't know if I have a favorite, but they've all had their own special nuances and places for me.
Four years from now when you're working on Season Five, do you think that there will still be places you haven't gone yet with the concept of Echo?
ED: Absolutely. I mean, I think, look at how much we as human beings have evolved in a day. There's constant evolution. If you think about how many desires and how many scenarios... Apparently, from day one, Joss has had a five-year plan for the show and we've talked about what some of those are. I think that's one of the things that's so exciting about this show, is that it's so open for endless possibilities.
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