These days, if you need to watch a woman kick some serious ass, look no further than Eliza Dushku.
Sure, she went mano-a-mano with Sarah Michelle Gellar as Faith, the villainous slayer on "Buffy The Vampire Slayer," but lately she's been voicing some of the most iconic women in comics -- from Catwoman in the "Batman: Year One" animated movie to her current role as She-Hulk in Marvel's newest animated series, "Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H."
If that wasn't enough, she kicks ass in real-life too; she runs her own production company (Boston Diva Productions) and raised money over the holiday season in support of former African child soldiers with her Crowd Rise Holiday Challenge, benefiting her non-profit THRIVEGulu.
HuffPost Canada TV spoke with her to discuss her history of strong female roles, her place in geek culture, and why it's important that not just Hulk, but She-Hulk SMASH!
HuffPost Canada TV: You have a history of playing some very strong female characters. Is that by design?
Elisa Dushku: I do and I guess it is, sure. That's just been how it has shaken down, from who I was as a young'un to who I became.
That's awesome, because we always hear from actresses in Hollywood who say there aren't a lot of roles out there for strong women.
I think there are more and more. That has certainly been true in the past, but I feel like we're coming into a new time.
You've definitely carved your own niche on the comic book and cult shows. What attracts you to playing superheroes like She-Hulk?
Well, I grew up with all boys and my father had a comic and baseball card shop, so as kids we were really into reading comic books and escaping into these worlds. It was a very natural fit as I progressed. Then, the nerd culture got so gigantic in the last few years and it's been this cool thing. This mix of nostalgia and then all of these worlds that we remember from our childhoods are coming back in full effect, colour and size. Now these roles are appearing and -- having the opportunity to play She-Hulk? I mean, no-brainer! C'mon!
It's incredible now to have my four-year-old nephew be able to watch the show. You know, I told some other interviewer that my little nephew said, "It's really important, Auntie Eliza, that there's a girl in the Hulk family and that you're She-Hulk because there's just some things that girls can do that boys can't," and I was like, "That's right kid, you got it." I love helping it live on.
That's great. Then again, you are still the only female member of the team, so are you at all concerned about tokenism on the show?
Tokenism? Wow. There are other females that come on to the show, whether it's other villains or in other storylines of the week, but it's definitely boy-heavy. I think if there were room for another Hulk family member to be introduced, it would be a bold and awesome move to have it be another woman. For now, I'm glad there's a woman in there and she doesn't get treated like a girl. She's really competitive and she's just as in the mix as the other hulks.
Plus, there's this reality-show feel to it because you hulks get to speak directly to the camera. Is that an aspect you enjoy about the show?
I do. I don't have as many confessionals as Hulk and I have to say, I think we're all a little envious because they're so fun. They're so clever, and when they come in you get to see Hulk like, "Rawwww!!!," freaking out, and then you see him in the confessional going, "My feelings were just really hurt." Love that back-and-forth. I've had a few and I love that too, but mine are usually with She-Hulk going, "I mean, please. Everyone is so full of it," because she's just crazy competitive and funny to me. She reminds me of me so much. Yeah, I hope I get more confessionals as the seasons go on.
You've been able to play such iconic roles like She-Hulk and even Catwoman. These are marquee roles in geek culture and you've played major roles for both major comic book companies. Is there a difference between working for Marvel and DC?
I love it. I love being able to voice these iconic characters. I can't say there really is [a difference between working for Marvel or DC]. They're both awesome. "Batman: Year One" was an awesome group of people. To be able to do voiceover work with Bryan Cranston and such a great group of people was amazing. I have a pretty sweet deal.
You're also producing things with your own production company Boston Diva Productions. What's it like shepherding things behind the camera?
It's great, and it's a whole new level of challenging that I didn't know so vividly until I was in it. I produce things with one of my three brothers. My brother Nate is my producing partner ,and we've had an amazing time with our most recent Albania documentary that we put picture lock on in the next couple weeks. That was a real passion project, being Albanian, getting my Albanian citizenship and telling the story of this country that's been so misunderstood and so mysterious for so many years. I think we've come to a place where we're really proud of what we're going to be putting out there.
OK, you know I have to sneak a "Buffy" question in. Word on the street was you were going to do a Faith stand-alone series after "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" wrapped, but then talks broke down. Was this true or just a rumour, what really happened?
It was coffee talk. We talked about a Faith show over coffee and a little bit of lunch. The ultimate decision was between Joss [Whedon], myself and I believe Tim Minear at the time. "Buffy" was so iconic and it was coming to an end, the "Angel" spin-off was already out there and we'd been with that character for so many years, but it just didn't organically happen. That's the real story that all the rumours are based off of.
Hear Eliza Dushku as She-Hulk on "Hulk And The Agents Of S.M.A.S.H." premiering on Teletoon Friday, January 10 at 7:30 p.m. EST/PST, with new episodes airing every subsequent Friday at the same time. The first season has already aired in the U.S. on Disney XD.
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