Eliza Dushku will get the chance to celebrate 20 years of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" right in her backyard when Boston Comic Con returns to the Seaport this summer.
The Watertown native, who portrayed the badass slayer Faith in the hit series, will make appearances at the convention on August 12 and 13 along with her former co-star James Marsters, aka the always moody vampire Spike. The 36-year-old actress is pretty pumped for her geeky homecoming.
"Boston is my home," Dushku says. "My favorite city, place and people anywhere."
Before the fun kicks off at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center later this year, we chatted with the "Buffy" star about the show's legacy, her favorite spots to check out in the Seaport and if she'd ever team up with Joss Whedon again for the upcoming "Batgirl" solo flick.
Since you’re a local, do you have any favorite spots in the Seaport that you’d recommend to attendees during their stay over Boston Comic Con weekend?
I’ve just only recently moved home, and the Seaport district is certainly booming these days! LoLa 42 is new and delicious, and badass Southie homegirl foodie goddess Barbara Lynch's restaurants, Menton (fancy) and Sportello (fun) are great. I’m reading Barbara’s book, “Out of Line: A Life of Playing with Fire” now and she’s just fantastic. My friends tease me for how much I eat and joke that my three brothers and I must have tapeworms. We really put food away, with joy.
Cosplaying is a big part of the whole comic con experience. If you ever got the chance to dress up for an event like this, which character would you choose, and why?
I love dressing up as my "Buffy" character Faith, fans who know her and identify with her are the best, in my humble opinion. Not that I’m biased or anything. The question remains if I’d still be able to pull off my "Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back" diamond thief catsuit at 36 years old. I kinda think so.
Your “Buffy” co-star James Marsters will be making an appearance at this year’s Boston Comic Con as well. How excited are you to celebrate 20 years of the show with your old pal in Boston?
20 years, my gosh, it’s still so hard to believe it’s been that long! I’ll never forget running to Contempo Casuals at the Arsenal Mall in Watertown, at 17 years old, to buy a Faith outfit and a bag of silver punk jewelry for my audition tape. I had no idea, of course, at the time that would be the beginning of something that has been such a defining part of my life. James/Spike is great, the rapport he has with fans is electric and heartwarming at the same time. The fans love their bad boys and girls from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," that’s for sure! But Faith and Spike were just written out so beautifully in the series. The arcs, twists and turns. They were at once evil and so relatable. I have thousands of fans who tell me Faith saved their lives, shaped their identities, helped them understand who and what they were and are. It’s extraordinary.
As we watch more and more powerful female characters take to the screen, do you think Faith and Buffy helped play a part in setting the stage for "Wonder Woman," "Black Widow," "Supergirl" and "Captain Marvel"? What do you want Faith’s legacy to be?
It’s become clear to me across my 25 plus years in Hollywood, reading female roles, watching what’s out there, that Joss Whedon and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" definitely helped set the stage for the powerful female roles and characters we’re seeing today. I was never really the ultra-feminine nor girl-next-door (to say the least), and it could be confusing to see only that portrayed in film and TV during my adolescence. I love that my teenage niece can find Wonder Women out there today, I’m going to try and get her to watch "Buffy" with me someday soon too. Faith’s legacy just is, and depending on who you ask, she empowered people by way of being her. With her past, her scars, her wounds, her M.O. and all.
Speaking of powerful female heroes, Joss Whedon is said to be helming the "Batgirl" solo movie. Would you be down to play her opposite your fellow Bostonian and brooding Batman, Ben Affleck?
I’d say I’m officially a woman, not a girl today, guys.
In a battle of Boston superheroes, who wins: Ben Affleck’s "Batman" or Chris Evans’ "Captain America"?
Boston loyal, I don’t throw people under the bus, sorry.
Last year, your documentary on Albania debuted on PBS. Any upcoming plans to get back into documentaries or other projects you’re working on?
Our documentary, "Dear Albania," has been one of the things I’m proudest of in my career. We’ve had an incredible (and still ongoing) run on Netflix worldwide, and Albanians everywhere (including our father, Philip Dushku!) know that my brother, Nate, and I devoted those years of our life to make that one-hour special, about our father’s homeland, the best representation of our people, our history, our culture, we possibly could. Every time I watch it my heart swells. Our father and his siblings grew up in the South End, Albanian immigrants, most people didn’t have a clue where their parents and ancestors came from or what their culture was like. Today, as Albanians, have something to point to with "Dear Albania" - other than the terrorists in the "Taken" movies - and be proud of. And the fact that I was able to orchestrate it, fills me with the sense that I’ve done something especially important in my life, for my Albanian ancestors, family and people.