Eliza Dushku


  1. Cameron Diaz, Gangs of New York, 2000.  For Martin Scorsese, casting was easy. In 1978, Dan Aykroyd-John Belushi were Amsterdam and The Butcher.  Or, Mel Gibson-Willem Dafoe. By 1984, Malcolm McDowell-Robert De Niro. Finally, Leonardo DiCaprio-Daniel Day Lewis. Much harder to locate the real prim pickpocket Jenny Everdeane. For the brothers blue, she would have been Jane Fonda. When Buffy The Vampire Slayer got into Sarah MIchelle Gellar’s way, Marty checked Christina Applegate (from his 1990 Cape Fear auditions), Kate Beckinsale, Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku, Heather Graham, Bryce Dallas Howard, Alyssa Milano, Natalie Portman, Christina Ricci, Winona Ryder, Mena Suvari… and chose Sarah Polley. Except the suits insisted on a “bankable star.” As if Scorsese-DiCaprio-Day Lewis weren’t enough. Diaz’s six week contracted lasted six months – and did her no good at all! 

  2. Jordana Brewster, The Fast and The Furious,  2000.  Vin Diesel ‘s sister, Mia Toretto,  was written for Dushku but she passed.  Jessica Biel auditioned, as did Kirsten Dunst, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Bijou Phillips and Natalie Portman. Brewster  then didn’t make another film  for three years and eventually  re-franchised in  chapters 4, 5, 6 and was filming #7 when co-star Paul Walker as killed in an off-duty  car crash on November 30, 2013. At age 40. He was not driving.

  3. Jessica Alba, The Dark Angel, TV, 2000-2007.  James Cameron’s latest tough gal,  Max Guevera,  was created  for his True Lies star, but Eliza kept her  Faith in Buffy The Vampire Slayer, 1998-2003.  Enter: Jessica, 18, splendid, as a genetic engineered soldier-assassin, escaping US Government control and searching for other genetics on the lam. When the series was canned in mid-cliffhanger Cameron started work on something called… Avatar.

  4. Kate Hudson, Almost Famous, 2000.
    Looking for his Penny Lane groupie in his semi-autobiographical look back to his Rolling Stone reporter daze, auteur Cameron Crowe saw 48 of LA’s bright young things… Christina Applegate, Selma Blair, Lara Flynn Boyle, Neve Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Claire Danes, Cameron Diaz, Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku, Jenna Elfman, Jennie Garth, Maggie Gyllenhal, Alyson Hannigan, Angie Harmon, Anne Heche, Katherine Heigl, Jordan Ladd, Kimberly McCullough (busier as a TV director these days, High School Musical: The Musical – The Series, etc), Rose McGowan, Bridget Moynahan, Brittany Murphy, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laura Prepon, Lindsay Price, Christina Ricci, Rebecca Romijn, Winona Ryder, Chloë Sevigny, Marley Shelton, Tori Spelling, Mena Suvari, Uma Thurman, Liv Tyler, Lark Voorhies.  Plus the English Saffron Burrows, Anna Friel, Thandiwe Newton and Rachel Weisz, Madrid’s Penélope Cruz, the French Charlotte Gainsbourg, Canada’s Natasha Henstridge, Ukrainian Milla Jovovich, Scottish Kelly Macdonald, Israeli Natalie Portman, German Franka Potente, Australian Peta Wilson and Welsh Catherine Zeta-Jones.  And the winner, Canada’s Sarah Polley, simply split. (Silly girl).  Crowe then chose Kate  (previously booked  for Anita) because “she seemed more like a free spirit.”  But, but, butChloë  was the freest spirit in all Hollywood. As she proved two years later in The Brown Bunny… in a way the others would never have dared.


  5. Rose McGowan, Charmed, TV, 2001-2006.    After auditions by the many, exec producer Aaron Spelling decided that Shannen Doherty’s replacement would be Rose as Phoebe, Piper and Pru’s half-sister (long lost, of course) Paige.And not Faith from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, TV, 1998-2003, and its spin-off, Angel, 2000-2003.  Rose McGowan was the first actress to blow the whistle on producer Harvey Weinstein as a serial rapist – and, indeed, on Hollywood’s everlasting rape culture. 
  6. Jennifer Garner, Daredevil, 2002  “How did I become Action Girl?” asked Garner.  Because 22 other girls were not punching their weight in TV’s Alias every week. They were Jessica Alba, Jolene Blalock, Neve Campbell, Penelope Cruz, Portia de Rossi, Eliza Dushku, Claire Forlani, Angie Harmon, Salma Hayek, Katie Holmes, Milla Jovovich, Nicole Kidman, Lucy Liu, Mia Maestro, Rhona Mitra, Bridget Moynahan, Natalie Portman, Kyra Sedgwick, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon.  Plus the Norwegian ballet dancer Natassia Malthe, who became Typhoid in Garner’s 2004 Elektra spin-off.   Garner reportedly KOed the blind hero, Ben Affleck, in one scene – he still married her three years later!
  7. Kirsten Dunst, Spider-Man, 2002.
  8. Liv Tyler, Jersey Girl, 2003.     Kevin Smith’s 11th askew vision… He created Maya for Dushku and then changed gear because she more resembled Ben Affleck’s daughter instead of his girlfriend… she’s tiny.
  9. Rachael Leigh Cook, The Final Season, 2007.    Eliza simply passed Polly Hudson to Rachael.
  10. Scarlett Johansson, Iron Man 2, 2009.    Scarlett proved her commitment to becoming Natalie Rushman aka Natalie Romanoff aka Black Widow – by dying her blonde tresses… scarlett. Those who did not included two Jessicas (Alba and Biel), plus Gemma Arterton, Emily Blunt, Eliza Dushku.  Plus Angelina Jolie, who led Marvel’s The Eternals, 2019, after  Natalie Portman won Jane Foster in the Thor franchise.

  11. Ashley Williams, Bird Dog, TV, 2010.    “We have mutually & amicably decided to part ways,” said Eliza’s twitter news.  “No worries/fears/tears!”  Ashley was quickly drafted in as the cop whose new partner is her dad. Behind their titular call sign, they’re being tested – as cops and family.
  12. Kimberly Caldwell, Deception, 2011.  Dushku had been here up Horror Avenue before (she was Faith in Buffy and Angel). She passed Paige Matthews totheTexan… for her movie debut. 
  13. Rachel Weisz, The Bourne Legacy, 2011.  Three was enough for Matt Damon. (Until 2015…!)  The studio did not agree and kept the franchise alive by rebooting Jason Bourne as Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner)  – another victim of US secret service’s  Program.  Weisz won Dr Marta Shearing from a dozen other hopefuls: Eliza Dushku, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Milla Jovovich Kristin Kreuk, Diane Kruger, Jennifer Lawrence, Blake Lively, Michelle Monaghan, Elizabeth Olsen and three Kates: Beckinsale, Bosworth and Mara.  Why? Because as Chicago critic Roger Ebert pointed out she spends more time on-screen than is usual for women in actioners, is not just around for sex and “her performance stands up strongly beside Renner’s.” Bravo!


 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  13