Eliza Dushku: ‘The Gable 5,’ ‘Dollhouse,’ life as a ‘convention junkie’

March 28, 2014 | 4:18 p.m.
Eliza Dushku in "Gable V." (Machinima)

Eliza Dushku in “The Gable 5.” (Machinima)

Eliza Dushku, best known to fans for her Whedonverse turns as Faith in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and Echo in “Dollhouse,” is tackling another brainy, gutsy character in a topical short film that launched Thursday on Machinima called “The Gable 5.”

(Fans can watch the short here, but note there is some strong language.)

Directed by Kevin Tancharoen, whose credits include the “Mortal Kombat” online miniseries and the movie “Fame,” “Gable 5″ centers on a corporation that has discovered how to isolate and repress chemicals created by the brain that produce panic, fear, anxiety, temptation and rage. Dushku appears to be a test subject — she arrives onscreen (without a back story) and expertly takes on multiple armed assailants, suggesting some improved reflexes.

Hero Complex recently caught up with Dushku to talk about “Gable 5,” its relationship to “Dollhouse,” her fascination with human psychology and her continuing interaction with fans.

Eliza Dushku in "Gable V." (Machinima)

Eliza Dushku in “The Gable 5.” (Machinima)

Hero Complex: How much did you know about your character in “Gable 5″ in terms of her back story prior to shooting?

Eliza Dushku: Kevin Tancharoen … we’ve known each other and had interesting and fun talks about this and about who this character was going to be and what the back story was. We get glimpses of a sort and understand enough of everything in the short for it to play out. What’s exciting to me is that it works as a short and it draws you in, but it’s a big world and maybe somewhere down the road there can be more.

HC: You’re no stranger to physical roles. Was there anything different that you did to prepare to play this character?

ED: I try to keep myself ready and game for these physical roles because you never know when they’re going to pop up, and it’s just sort of who I am and it’s definitely my wheelhouse. As far as prepping for it, there wasn’t a lot of prep time — I’m always prepped and ready to go.

HC: What do you think of the short’s declaration that by eliminating five emotions — panic, fear, temptation, anxiety and rage — you can eliminate and control war?

ED: I think it’s thought-provoking and fascinating. I’m actually looking to go back to school, and one of the areas that’s so interesting to me — and obviously it played out in the show “Dollhouse” — are these deep crevasses of our brains and our emotions that make us tick, and what those combinations and variables are that are looked at in projects like this and projects like “Dollhouse.” As far as what I feel about it — I feel that it’s all money. If you could end world war, especially in these times today, what would that look like? I think the exploration of that is very exciting. I feel like there’s a lot of cool places that we could go with it — places that we didn’t get to go to during our short time on the “Dollhouse” run.

Boyd (Harry Lennix) and Topher (Fran Kranz) prepare Echo (Eliza Dushku) for her next engagement in "Dollhouse." (Greg Gayne/Fox)

Boyd (Harry Lennix) and Topher (Fran Kranz) prepare Echo (Eliza Dushku) for her next engagement in “Dollhouse.” (Greg Gayne/Fox)

HC: So how much does “Gable V” remind you of “Dollhouse”?

ED: There are parallels for sure. I just think that one of the things that everybody gets about “Dollhouse” in hindsight is that it was hard to get to know and root for the main character every week when so much of her time was spent in that sort of numb, vegetable state. As much as I think that it was a genius idea, and I love Joss [Whedon] and love what we were able to do on “Dollhouse,” this is a nice alternative setup to be able to explore some of those dark areas of our brain and our psyches that make us tick and do the things we do — and, on a bigger frame, what makes humanity and being humane or not humane.

HC: Do you follow the comic book extensions of characters you’ve made popular, Faith in the “Angel & Faith” and “Buffy” books or Echo in the “Dollhouse” comics, since they are directly related to the shows?

ED: I follow them through the fans, so I follow it quite a bit. It’s been so awesome to be at these fan conventions. It’s no longer just San Diego Comic-Con. There are comic-cons now in every major city in the States, and they’re traveling around the world. I love going to the conventions and meeting the fans that take a show like “Buffy” or take a show like “Dollhouse” that didn’t have as many years on the air as “Buffy” and they follow it into the comics world and continue to stand by these characters and grow with the characters. I’m turning into something of a convention junkie because I feel like I’m amongst my people. These guys are just as passionate about it as I am, so I do follow them through my fans and with my fans. Spending my weekends hanging out with Stan Lee and the cast of “The Walking Dead” on top of being around all these fans — I’m kind of like a kid in a candy store.

– Jevon Phillips | @LATHeroComplex

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