It’s not easy being green. That said, Eliza Dushku does make it sound pretty darn cool. The actress is currently getting her mean and green on, by voicing the role of She-Hulk in Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. for Disney XD. It’s just another notch in a lengthy résumé that has made her a goddess amongst the geeky crowd.
That’s right; this isn’t Dushku’s first role to have a bit of a cult fanbase. Not. Even. Close. The former child actor has appeared in countless movies, TV shows, and video games. She also had quite a nice following for Fox’s defunct supernatural series, Tru Calling. Of course, most GeekMoms (and GeekDads) probably know the actress best for her work with Joss Whedon on TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the spin-off Angel , and the sci-fi series Dollhouse.
However, this self-proclaimed tomboy has more superpowers than you know. She’s voiced classic characters such as Catwoman and Holly Mokri and now she’s crushing it in the role of She-Hulk, Bruce Banner’s cousin who transformed after receiving some of his blood during an emergency transfusion.
I got the chance to talk to Dushku about her insanely popular characters, a day in the life of a voice actor, and her comic book-filled upbringing.
GeekMom [Rachel]: I know that Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. has had a few sneak peeks. What has the reaction been so far?
Eliza Dushku: I try not to read too many reviews. I get my own reviews from fans that I like to hear from, whether it’s on Twitter or fans from Comic-Con. I think so far, people are pretty amped! They’re excited. We’re in the countdown here, with the premiere on Sunday.
GM: Were you familiar with the character of She-Hulk before you took on the role?
Dushku: Of course! She’s kind of legendary. Obviously, there are a lot of different She-Hulks and Hulks. The mythology for every one of these characters goes back in such detail. You can look at Wikipedia and find 10 pages of She-Hulk. She was with The Avengers, then she was with S.H.I.E.L.D., and then she was with the Lady Liberators. One of the things that I love about her is what a freedom fighter she has consistently been. She was a lawyer and she’s a real good guy. She’s out to do what’s right. She maintains this humanity and empathy.
In this Disney version, which is aimed at a younger audience, I love the way that they introduce her. She’s a stuntwoman in Hollywood and yet she’s a little frustrated, to say the least. Because she’s green, she always ends up being used with green screen and nobody ever sees her and embraces her for her! When her cousin asks her to join the crew to fight bad guys, she doesn’t have to hide or be ashamed of who she is. I think that’s a great message and a great way for She-Hulk to be reintroduced to a new generation.
GM: You sound like a comic book fan.
Dushku: A little bit! I have three older brothers and my dad had a baseball card and comic book shop when I was growing up.
GM: Do you think the show will appeal to fans of the comic books or are they shooting for a whole new audience?
Dushku: I think we’re absolutely geared to both. It’s enjoyable for me! I’m obviously not the target demographic, but I could see myself with a bowl of cereal and my pajamas on a Sunday morning, hanging out for 10 episodes in a row, if I could. It’s absolutely the Hulk that we’ve come to know from all of these comics and the mythology.
GM: What is the target age for this show?
Dushku: I can tell you that I have a 4-year-old nephew in Boston and we showed him the first teaser trailer. Talk about eyes wide; he was just bouncing off the walls after seeing it. He kept saying, “Show me again! Show me again!” He’s on the young side, but I’ve got guy friends who are 40 and obsessed with Disney XD shows. It’s hard to say other than—it’s for everybody. Disney XD is in 78 million households. You’re going to get the kids and the moms are going to be all about watching She-Hulk. When my nephew saw the trailer, he said, “Auntie Eliza, it’s good that they have you because there’s a lot of things that girls can do that boys can’t do.”
GM: How does a day of voice acting work compare to a day of TV or movie work?
Dushku: It’s different. I’m guessing people might think that it’s a walk in the park comparatively or they might think the opposite. I think they’re both right. Of course, you’re in a nice air-conditioned room and you’re stationed at your podium with your script. You’ve got the group in there and everyone is sort of chill. On the other hand, you’re going through a 30-minute script that’s 100 pages of a story that’s so action-packed and it’s so full of twists and turns, fight sequences, humor, and fight dynamics. Emotionally, it can be really exhausting, but at the same time, you’re in that air-conditioned room in pajamas! [laughs]
Some days are more packed than others. It’s a different kind of work that I’m increasingly enjoying. I really value the chance to get to learn from a lot of these legendary voice-over actors that I’ve been blessed to work alongside: Fred [Tatasciore], Clancy [Brown], Ben [Diskin] and Seth [Green], as well as the directors and writers. It’s pretty sweet.
GM: You’ve done a lot of insanely popular projects in the past. If you could Kickstarter any one of your former projects, which one would it be and why?
Dushku: Honestly, I feel like that comes more from the fans. I would see what the fans would nominate. Every single Joss Whedon show, whether it was prematurely cancelled or not, I think people want to resurrect it. They just want more, all the time! I’ve been blessed to have done three series with him. People have said that they want to see a Faith spinoff. There have been quite a few, but that’s something that the fans nominate because they really drive the Kickstarters.
GM: You’ve voiced other comic book characters before. So, who would win in a fight: Catwoman or She-Hulk?
Dushku: You’re not going there, are you? We’re here for Hulk promotion, so I’m going to go with She-Hulk. Totally, hands-down; she’s the strongest woman in the world!
Check out the premiere of Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. on Sunday, August 11, during the Marvel Universe block on Disney XD.