Category Archives: Interviews

Laura Resnick Blog Tour and Giveaway!

The Purifying Fire

In honor of the release day (today!) of Laura Resnick’s The Purifying Fire, Laura is stopping by for the first leg of her blog tour. interviews the author below. And keep reading to enter a giveaway of the new release!

Can you tell us a bit about Chandra Nalaar?

Chandra Nalaar, a young and impulsive female fire mage who hates authority, is trying to master her enormous talent, and tends to get into trouble. She’s a planeswalker, which means she has the rare ability to travel between the planes of Magic‘s many-dimensional Multiverse, so that her adventures occur in various different worlds.

During the course of The Purifying Fire, Chandra becomes the target of assassins, pursues a mysterious artifact, gets captured by a mad vampire prince, confronts a powerful cult and reluctantly teams up with an enigmatic stranger who she’s pretty sure is trying to collect the bounty on her head.

All in a day’s work for a fire-wielding planeswalker.

What did you enjoy most about writing for the series?

There are a lot of very creative concepts and terrific art in Magic, and it was great fun to leaf through the game’s (thousands of) cards in search of inspiration for various allies, adversaries and settings for my character to deal with.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your experience in writing.

I write an urban fantasy series (next book, Doppelgangster), as well as a traditional fantasy series (next book, The Palace of Heaven), and I’ve published about sixty sf/f short stories (latest anthology, Swordplay). I’ve also released a nonfiction book which is a collection of my columns about the writing life (Rejection, Romance, and Royalties: the Wacky World of a Working Writer). In my copious spare time, I’m finishing a master’s degree in journalism, I interned at a news bureau in Jerusalem and I recently served as president of Novelists, Inc., which is an international organization of professional novelists.

What inspires you?

As a writer? I have no idea. I know that I see and hear things every day that make me think, “What if…?” But I don’t know why my brain is wired that way, and it was only quite recently (I’m a little slow on the uptake) that I learned that the reason people are always asking where writers get our ideas is because not EVERYONE gets story ideas nearly every day of their lives. Until pretty recently, I honestly thought everyone did. (Then a few months ago, a close friend set me straight about this. Who knew?)

Who are some of your favorite authors? What books do you love?

Although I’m a fantasy writer, and also a voracious reader, I actually read very little fantasy. There are a lot of great fantasy writers, and I think it’s a genre whose writers set the bar high in terms of well-crafted prose. But I find that when I read fantasy, I feel as if I’m still working, not settling down to relax. Busman’s holiday, I guess.

In fiction, I’m a big fan of several mystery writers, including: the late Sarah Caudwell, a very witty English writer; Elizabeth Peters aka Barbara Michaels, (I recently enjoyed her latest, Laughter of Dead Kings); and Linda Fairstein, a New York City prosecutor turned suspense novelist. I also enjoy Diana Gabaldon’s Lord John mysteries, which are a spin-off series of her better-known Outlander novels. I recently read The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham for the fourth time (a great favorite, obviously; though, ironically, it’s the only Maugham novel I’ve ever been able to get through!), and I’ve been re-reading some favorite old Mary Stewart novels this year. Some novels/novelists I’ve tried recently for the first time and really enjoyed: Ten Thousand Lovers by Edeet Ravel; People Like Us by Dominick Dunne; Snobs and Past Imperfect, both by actor/screenwriter Julian Fellowes.

I read a lot of nonfiction, both for research and for pleasure. Some nonfiction books I’ve read lately for fun and really enjoyed include The Lost Painting: the Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece by Jonathan Harr; A Natural History of the Rich by Richard Conniff; Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill by Gretchen Rubin; The Dead Travel Fast by Eric Rubin; Janis Ian’s autobiography, Society’s Child.

What do you do when you’re not writing? In your spare time?

I love to cook, and I love to spend time with my friends. So my favorite thing is to invite friends over and cook for them. Cooking a meal is the antithesis to writing a book; it’s physical and sense-oriented, rather than mental and in phosphor; and people can enjoy it the day I make it, rather than a year later, when it’s finally published.

Are you working on any new projects right now?

Writing is my full-time self-supporting career, so I’m always working on a new project! Currently, I’m writing my next urban fantasy novel and my next traditional fantasy novel. My next release is Doppelgangster, an urban fantasy novel, in January 2010.

Courtesy of Wizards of the Coast, I have giveaway copies of The Purifying Fire, by Laura Resnick for five (5) lucky winners!

Contest is open to U.S. residents. To enter, just fill out the form below. To increase your chances, enter daily!
Contest ends July 17. I’ll draw names on July 18, and notify winners via email.

Good luck!

Continue reading Laura Resnick Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Ronald D. Moore Interview

Last week was able to participate in a conference call with Ronald D. Moore, Writer and Executive Producer of the upcoming Virtuality movie on Fox.

How is Virtuality different from the holodeck on Star Trek? How is this different from that sort of scenario?

R. Moore: Well, it’s a different concept. The holodeck is a physical space that you would go into and three dimensional forms were actually physically created in front of you that you could feel and touch and interact with, etc. The computer would generate them as long as you were in them. This is truly a virtual space, which is much more akin to putting on contemporary, sort of virtual headsets, but sort of taking it to the next level where you do have an experiential sort of ability to touch and sense and taste and smell things in your mind, so it’s different sort of on the mechanical level.

In terms of the story level, we’re not playing the idea that if you die in the virtual space you die in the real space. It’s not … from that sense. It doesn’t have the safety programs like it did in the holodeck where the safety is off and if you get killed in here you get killed.

It’s a very different thing.

So in Virtuality if you die inside the virtual headset you don’t die in reality?

You don’t. No. It’s more like how gaming is now. You go on-line. You play a game and you get killed and you’re kicked out of the program because you’re dead, but you’re not dead in real life.

We’re using these much more psychologically as well. It doesn’t sound like you’ve seen the pilot, but essentially the experience is that the astronauts aboard the Phaeton have, in virtual space, are sort of things that just sort of are psychologically motivated. They go in there and they do things for entertainment and to sort of pass the time of day while they’re on this very, very long-range mission, but you’re learning things about them personally and about where did they want to spend their time and when things go wrong in that space how does it then influence them in the real world. That was the thing I was most interested in.

The concept was how the virtual space impacted the real story that was going on aboard the spacecraft and vice-versa. What’s the sort of interaction between the two?

Does Virtuality allow you to have a little bit more fun with the concept of people in space, as opposed to Battlestar?

Oh, yes. It’s a much less serious situation than Battlestar was dealing with. Battlestar was literally a post-apocalyptic show where the future of humanity rode on their every decision and death was stalking them continuously. So it’s not set up in the same way. The crew aboard Phaeton signed up for what just seemed like a very straight-ahead mission of exploration and they were chosen with that in mind. They were also chosen to participate in this sort of reality show that’s being broadcast back to Earth.

So there was a conscious attempt on the part of the people who put the crew together to sort of have an interesting mix of people. There are debates within the crew themselves who was chosen just for sort of their demographic content and who was legitimately supposed to be there. Now you’ve got a groups of 12 people stuck in a metal tube going in a straight line for a decade or so and that’s going to just sort of produce a lot of tensions and frictions and manipulations and sort of cross problems between the characters. It has a stronger element of fun and suspense and sort of interesting plot terms in terms of what characters will do with one another than did Battlestar. Battlestar was very driven by the internal pressures of the huge weight that was on all of their shoulders from the beginning of the miniseries.

A little more opportunity for humor?

Continue reading Ronald D. Moore Interview

Roger Stern Interview!

Roger Stern In Store 005
(Roger Stern and Angela aka “SciFiChick”)

This past winter, I was able to meet author Roger Stern during a signing at Downtown Comics. As a fan of both his novels and comics, I was excited to meet and interview the prolific writer. I read that you were born and raised here in Indiana. Do you still consider yourself a Hoosier?

Roger Stern: Oh, in a sentimental, nostalgic way. To a great extent, much of the Indiana where I grew up has been paved over. But I still have family and friends in the area, and it’s always fun to come back for a visit.

SFC: What were your favorite comics when you were a child?

RS: Gee, there were so many. At first, of course, I read whatever my parents bought me.

So early on, I read a lot of great Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge stories…that I later learned were written and drawn primarily by Carl Barks.

But I read just about anything and everything that caught my eye. And I already knew about Superman from watching his TV series, so once I discovered his comics on the drug store spinner rack — remember when drug stores had comics spinners? — I also discovered most of the other DC comics. And then, in my sophomore year in high school, a buddy introduced me to Marvel Comics.

SFC: How did you get into the comics industry?

RS: ‘Way, ‘way back in the mid-1970s, I spent a good deal of my spare time working with Bob Layton on a comics fanzine called CPL. That work led to both of us making contact with people in the industry, and to my getting a chance to test for a proofreading job on staff at Marvel comics. I passed the test, and went to work on staff at the number one comics company in America. Along the way I got further opportunities to hone my craft, and…well, I’ve been writing professionally ever since.

SFC: What are some of the titles that you’re most proud of or enjoyed working on the most?

RS: I’ve enjoyed working on all of them, really. But SUPERMAN, the AVENGERS, and SPIDER-MAN would be among the top three.

SFC: Who have been some of your favorite artists to work with?

RS: I’m not sure there’s enough bandwidth to list them all.

I’ve been fortunate enough over the years to work with Curt Swan, Murphy Anderson, Steve Ditko, Sal Buscema, John Buscema, John Romita Junior — and John Romita Senior! — Joe Sinnott, Gil Kane, John Byrne, Marie Severin, Bob Hall, Michael Golden, Paul Smith, Terry Austin, Jerry Ordway, George Perez, Ron Frenz, Tom Grummett, Paul Ryan, June Brigman, Jeff & Phil Moy, Jason Armstrong, Steve Rude, Bruce Timm…who am I forgetting?

Most recently, I’ve been lucky enough to work with Lee Weeks, Val Semeiks, Paolo Rivera, and Kalman Andrasofszky.

So many wonderful artists! And I know I’m forgetting at least another dozen.

SFC: How did you like writing the Superman and Smallville novels as opposed to comics?

RS: The common subject matter aside, writing novels — or any kind of prose — exercises different muscles. With comics, you have the advantage of an artist bringing your story to life visually. With prose, you’re out there on your own; it’s just your words set in cold type. I enjoy the collaborative experience of working in comics. And I get a lot of satisfaction from writing prose, watching the story take form and the pages add up. Both can be a lot of fun.

SFC: How did you decide to write full-length novels?

RS: Well, that wasn’t wholly my decision. In each and every case, an editor approached me about writing those novels.

Overall, I would have to say that writing the novels has been a very satisfying experience, even though the deadlines have been a bit crazy at times.

SFC: Do you have any plans for writing more novels in the future?

RS: No real plans at the moment, but from time to time, I have thought about writing an original novel of my own. Maybe someday.

SFC: What can you tell us about your new run on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN?

RS: I don’t know that it would be fair to call it a “run.” I wrote a one-issue story that appeared in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #580, and more recently, a story for AMAZING SPIDER-MAN FAMILY, and I have another three-issue Spider-Man story in the works…and the promise of another one-issue story sometime down the line.

SFC: What villains will we be seeing?

RS: Here’s a big, fat, obvious clue: The first story in the three-parter is entitled “Something Can Stop the Juggernaut!”

SFC: What inspires you?

RS: All manner of things…a good joke, an old song, a beautiful sunset. Inspiration is all around us.

SFC: Do you have a favorite super-hero or super-power?

RS: No one favorite super-hero…almost all of them intrigue me. But as far as powers go…it would be great to be able to fly, wouldn’t it?

SFC: Thanks for your time, Roger! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

RS: Just that I have stories about to appear in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN FAMILY #7, YOUNG ALLIES #1, and CAPTAIN AMERICA #600.

And I’ll be back in Central Indiana in mid-June for an appearance and signing at the Castleton location of Downtown Comics — 5767 East 86th Street, Indianapolis, Indiana — on Wednesday, June 17, from 11:30am to 1:30pm. Hope to see you there!

Brandon Mull Interview

Author Brandon Mull writes the wonderful children’s series Fablehaven. The fourth book in the series, Fablehaven: Secrets if the Dragon Sanctuary, releases tomorrow in bookstores! recently had the chance to interview the author to discuss his latest release and upcoming endeavors.

In Fablehaven: Secrets if the Dragon Sanctuary, readers get a look at an entirely different sanctuary for magical creatures. Where do you get your ideas for your unique characters in Fablehaven?

Most of the creatures at Fablehaven and the other magical wildlife parks in the books come from different myths and legends. I borrow from Greek mythology, German and Scandinavian folklore, even Native American legends. My job as the author is to take these somewhat familiar creatures like dragons, trolls, fairies, centaurs, etc., and decide how they will behave in my books. Bringing the magical creatures to life, giving them personalities and establishing rules to help explain their natures and behavior is a blast.

Of course, not all of the characters are magical creatures. A good writer is usually a good observer, so I often create my characters using observations I’ve made of people around me. I’m not trying to transplant people I know onto the page, but rather take personality traits or quirks and combine them into new characters. And yes, part of it I simply invent. The goal is interesting, relatable characters.

There are some big secrets and twists in the book. Have you had those planned out from the beginning?

Most of the big twists are planned from the start. That way I can offer early clues. I love when a twist in book 4 can shed new light back on events in book 2 and 3. To me, those complicated set-ups and pay-offs help make stories feel deeply imagined.

According to Fablehaven: Secrets if the Dragon Sanctuary, the series will conclude with the next book. Can you tell us anything about it?

Book 5 will be called Keys of the Demon Prison. That’s all I’m revealing so far. I can say I have the story planned, and I’ve started writing it. Expect a fun, exciting conclusion.

Continue reading Brandon Mull Interview

Tricia Helfer Interview

Here’s the latest conference call transcript with Tricia Helfer, who has a reoccurring role as Carla on Burn Notice.

Watch the Burn Notice Season 2 Finale on Thursday, March 5th at 10pm/9c on USA NETWORK! In the explosive season finale, Michael learns some surprising facts about Victor’s past, and is forced to take on Carla in a final showdown.

When you joined the cast of Burn Notice, was there instant chemistry when everyone came together, or did it take some time to develop?

T. Helfer I’d say there was instant chemistry, but it was really only, I really only worked with Jeffrey Donovan. I met Gabrielle and I met Bruce and worked with him a little bit. Bruce is just such an easy going guy it’s impossible not to get along with him, and Gabrielle is really sweet. Jeffrey had actually emailed me prior to going down there the first time to welcome me and say he was excited that I was joining the show. So I went down knowing it was going to be a great cast to work with and they didn’t let me down, they were just really wonderful to work with.

What have you found the most challenging aspect of your role as Carla?

T. Helfer I think the most challenging aspect was actually similar to sort of the first question about Battlestar, it’s kind of not knowing the end. With Carla, I didn’t know who Carla worked for. I didn’t know who management was the entire time I filmed, so you’re just kind of filling in the blanks yourself, but at the same time you don’t really want to say, okay, this is who it is or make too strong of a back story yourself in case it is revealed. But that I’d say was the hardest thing is Carla being pretty much as elusive to me as the actor as she is to the audience.

Continue reading Tricia Helfer Interview

Anton Strout Interview recently interviewed Anton Strout, author of Dead To Me (2008) and Deader Still, coming February 24th.

Can you tell us a bit about Simon Canderous?

Anton Strout: I could, but then the Department of Extraordinary Affairs might send someone after me. Let’s see.. he’s just this guy with a retractable steel bat who wants to do good. Oh, and when he touches things, he can read the history of them. It’s called psychometry, and in Deader Still, he’s a bit better at it than he had been in the previous book. He was a psychometric hot mess in that one.

Where do you get your ideas for your characters?

AS: I think most are an amalgam of various traits I pick up from everything I read, watch or do. For instance, there are elements of the Simonverse that are very much inspired by Joss Whedon and his characters. I like that level of humor laughing in the face of danger simply because the only other path would lead to madness. Bits of people I know, things that I find fascinating in them, get fed into my characters and their personalities. To be particular, Simon comes from a story within John Irving’s The World According to Garp. It’s about a man who has magic gloves that let him fix the world, but he can’t feel anything. Something about that was so bitter and poetic, I had to explore the idea myself and what came out of that was Simon.

Who would you choose to play your characters in a film version of your novels?

Continue reading Anton Strout Interview

Eliza Dushku Interview had the opportunity to participate in a conference call with Eliza Dushku, star of the upcoming series Dollhouse. Dollhouse has its series premier this Friday, February 13th 9pm EST.

Can you give us a hint of any of the upcoming conflicts? And how is the relationship with Sierra is going to develop?

E. Dushku: Well, I can tell you I enter a cult of the blind cultists and they send me in with cameras implanted into my eyes and some things go down there. I can tell you that there’s upcoming contact with Agent Paul Ballard, who is Tahmoh Penikett, and there is going to be some charged stuff in those episodes.

Sierra. I don’t know. How much can I tell you? I don’t know how much I’m allowed to give up.

Are they just starting to interact?

E. Dushku: Yes. Well, again, we pick up in the Dollhouse and the dolls are starting to have these memories and develop these little flickers of self awareness and recognize one another and remember things from engagements. Of course, that’s considered a glitch in the Dollhouse system and that’s where all hell breaks loose. That’s kind of where the show expands and that’s where it gets interesting to me.

The fact that you’re essentially a different character every episode, is that a large part of what excited you about the premise of the show?

E. Dushku: Well, Joss and I came up with the show together and we were talking about what kind of show would suit me right now in my career and in my life. Basically, Joss and I have had a ten-plus-year friendship at this point and he knows me very well and he knows how hard it is for me to sit still for five minutes, not to mention for an entire episode, so the premise of the show was sort of based on my own life and on keeping things moving and on keeping me active and having the chance to play and jump around in between these characters every week and sometimes multiple times every show. That was planned from the get-go.

I just have a lot of energy and I just have sort of an appetite for people and stories and telling different stories and being in a different place and traveling and experiencing just different emotions. One thing that Joss gave me in this project is the ability to sort of show some other colors of mine that other creators and other writers, directors, executive producers haven’t given me in the past, but he has seen them in me and wanted to give me the stage to act them out.

Given that you were with the show sort of from the ground floor and, as you say, you and Joss developed it, could you talk about how the show has sort of developed from that first meeting and that first kernel into what it actually became and what we’re going to see starting Friday?

E. Dushku: Yes. Well, when we first sat down I had just sort of negotiated a deal with Fox to ultimately come up with a show to do with them and Joss was really the only person on my mind. I thought if he wasn’t going to do a show with me he at least knew me well enough to sort of guide me and to sort of help me put together the ideas that were in my head and to help me sort of figure out what kind of woman I wanted to play and what I wanted to be a part of. So when we sat down and we just started talking about life and talking about our careers and different projects, we’re really like-minded people and we were talking about sort of what it’s like for me, Eliza, waking up every day and having to somewhat be a different person every day and we were talking about the Internet and how people can get so much and with just the click of a button find anything that they want or need or desire or think that they want or need or desire and then what actually happens when they get that. We were absolutely talking about sexuality and what’s taboo and objectification and just things that are relevant to us. Four hours later Joss absolutely sort of sprang forward with the idea, with the basis for the show and said, “It will be called Dollhouse and it will be basically exactly this. It will be you with the ability to be imprinted to be someone sexy or to be anything or to be objectified every week or multiple times a week and how that affects people. We’re going to stir people up and we’re going to make people uncomfortable because that’s sort of interesting to us.”

Here we are 13 episodes later and we think we’ve done that. I mean the first show on Friday we’re super excited about. I love Ghost. I love Target. I love the first three, four, five episodes, but the cool thing is the show gets better even from there. I mean Joss is really a novelist and you have to give him chapters to tell the story. He and the other writers just – I participated on a lot of levels as producer also with ideas of my own. I mean the show just goes so deep and it’s so exciting and so thought provoking and relevant.

We changed the pilot for sort of more logistical reasons. I think that any time you’re dealing with a lot of cooks in the kitchen and FOX had sort of an idea of a pace that they wanted in the first show or in the first couple of shows. It maybe differed from how Joss originally wanted to set it up, but I think that absolutely Joss and I both feel that where we came out is exactly what we had talked about when we sat down at the first meal …

When the idea first came up. We’re telling this young woman’s story and following her and following these others as they go through these first 13 trials of engagements and of self realization and identity.

Being an executive producer of the series and helping come up with it with Joss, has that given you any new perspectives on making a TV series that you might not have had before?

E. Dushku: I mean yes; it’s sort of been what I expected. I have been in this business now for over 15 years. I sort of grew up in this business and it was just exciting and it was sort of, I don’t know, I guess I could say validating to have a friend and a partner like Joss in this and to have him acknowledge that this was something that he believed, an undertaking that I could make or take with him. He obviously has ten million things to do in a day, most importantly, being up in the writers’ room and breaking stories and knowing that this is sort of our baby and this is something that we, at that meal, decided to do together with passion and with enthusiasm and that I would be the constant and on the set every day. I have sort of picked up and learned a lot about how the machine operates. It was just more exciting than anything and it also just sort of made me that much more invested in just the fine details of the show and then just even in things, the political aspects and everything from moral on the set to making sure our crew members felt heard and looking for warning signs. There are just so many elements, but I absolutely loved it because, again, this is something that I asked for. I mean I asked for every single bit of it and I can truly say I’ve loved every bit of it, like the responsibilities, the effort, enthusiasm, the whole crew, the whole cast, everyone involved in the show has wanted it as badly as Joss and I have. Those are the people that we wanted to surround ourselves with and by and so it has certainly been challenging, but it’s been the best kind of challenging, because I mean I’ve learned so much, but I’ve also just gotten the opportunity to be more hands on than project I’ve ever worked on.

Are we going to find out exactly if there a reason that Echo is the one that is becoming more aware? Is there going to be a reasoning behind her glitch or is she just the one that we’re following because she’s the main character and we’re just following a doll becoming aware?

E. Dushku: No. I think you’re going to. Well, I can tell you that you’re going to find out sort of what kind of time frame the Dollhouse has been operating under and what maybe happened to previous dolls. I think that we just come into the story with Echo, but there have certainly been dolls before her and there will certainly be dolls after her.

Why Echo? Probably because I’m me and Joss and I came up with the idea together, so we decided to bring the story up with me sort at the head of the herd.

The show is being described in terms of sort of game changing and mind blowing. What makes it so?

E. Dushku: Well, it’s provocative. It’s disturbing in some ways. It’s controversial. We’re dealing with altering and programming people and I think that that’s a very sensitive topic, but I think that it’s relevant and I think that it’s exciting because I’ve always wanted to do work that has to do with us evolving and questioning, making people uncomfortable I guess. That’s sort of what interesting storytelling is to me is asking different questions and taking a closer look at desires and fantasies and taboos and sexuality and these are all things that Joss and I initially discussed in our infamous first lunch when we were talking about making a show. They were things that I knew he, as a creative genius, which I truly believe he is, had the ability and the imagination to create with me and at the same time roll in a story that just puts those parts together tightly, cleverly, with drama and humor and pain and joy. Obviously, anyone who’s known his work in Buffy and then anyone who knows him as a person knows that he’s just all of those instruments. That’s, I think, what makes this such an extraordinary show.

Are we going to see any episodes where the clients learn that getting what they want in their fantasy girl is more of a curse than a blessing?

E. Dushku: Absolutely. I mean I think that’s sort of the point; that’s one of the main themes in this whole story that we’re telling here is that objectification hurts …

Whether you’re the one, whichever side you’re on because that’s why we’re all different and that’s why there are certain parameters and morals in our society. When you step outside of those things and you put such control in certain people’s hands in terms of what people want and need and desire versus what they think they want and need and desire they may be surprised at sort of the Frankenstein story. You’re absolutely going to see clients wishing perhaps that they had not decided to add that extra element to their Active or to their doll I guess you could say.

Was there one character in particular when you were doing your different personalities in the episodes, maybe one we haven’t seen probably, that you liked best? Did you like being the bad girl or did you like being the sweet girl? Was there a certain type of personality that you enjoyed playing?

E. Dushku: Yes. No. It surprised me, because on the one hand it’s awesome and exhilarating to be the sexy assassin, but at the same time I’ve been surprised time and time again how much I also really enjoy playing; like I play this blind cultess and it was just so different than anything, than any skin I had ever been in and I really, really enjoyed it. It was challenging and yet it was like liberating to have the opportunity and to see the world, not see the world, but to be in the world in these different skins. That was a particularly special episode, as was being the personality of a 50-something-year-old woman in my own body. That was another one that’s coming up that was very interesting. I don’t know if I have a favorite, but they’ve all had their own special nuances and places for me.

In another interview, you said that you felt out of your comfort zone playing a woman with a 1940’s up do.

E. Dushku: Yes. You have to understand. I mean I grew up a total tomboy with three big brothers and I was sort of like this little girl running around with this mop of hair, tangled hair, climbing trees and playing tag football with my brothers. I don’t know. There’s just something about a polished, bobby-pinned, hair sprayed up do. I don’t know; the composure and the sophistication. It’s thrilling and it’s fun for me to play and now that I’ve done it once I kind of am excited to try it on again, but it definitely threw me at first. It was something that was out of my comfort zone, but from the very get-go Joss told me that he intended on taking me out of my comfort zone as much as possible on this show, so I welcome it. I welcome it. I’m up for any challenge and any uncomfortable scenario he wants to throw … because that’s what this is about.

What would you say is the main theme or message that Dollhouse is going to explore?

E. Dushku: I mean without over simplifying it too much I’d say it’s sort of about not the search for one’s true identity, but it’s about sort of identifying what makes us who we are and our thoughts and our surroundings and what happens when you start to allow other people or a big corporation or a mass of people; I think objectification is a huge theme of the show and just sort of how and why we are authentic individuals and what helps make us sort of – I guess I’m now getting so philosophical it’s just getting so big in my head, but just what it means to be an individual and to have that toyed with or to have that taken from you and what that means and how we come out and how strong our sense of self is at the end of the day no matter up against what, any kind of technology or any kind of tampering, like what makes us who we are. There you go; I got it out.

Four years from now, if you’re working on season five, do you still think that you’ll have places to go with this character? Do you think that there will still be places you haven’t gone yet with the concept of Echo?

E. Dushku: Absolutely. I mean I think look at how much we as human beings have evolved in a day. There’s constant evolution. There’s constant, if you think about how many desires and how many scenarios; apparently from day one Joss has had a five-year plan for the show and we’ve talked about what some of those are. I think that’s one of the things that’s so exciting about this show is that it’s so open for endless possibilities.

You’re dealing with so much. It’s human. It’s mankind and it’s thoughts and it’s thoughts and wishes and desires; they’re by the millions, by the trillions.

What are the best and worst parts about getting to play such a variety of people, yet playing a single character as the base?

E. Dushku: Well, the base character, Echo, is in a word, simple or in a few words, she’s simple. She’s blank. She’s had her personality and memories erased and she’s … child with no inhibition, no fear. She’s sort of a blank slate and it’s exciting in the sense that every week there’s sort of a new star of the show and it’s whatever character I am imprinted to be.

We found sort of early on that one of the challenges was each character, when they’re introduced, sort of needs a good scene full of story. You basically need to sort of give this character’s background and we found that it was nice to get me in the role in some of the easier scenes first, before having me step on set in the outfit as the person with five pages of dialogue explaining who I am. There was something about sort of easing into it whenever possible and when locations permit and shooting schedules. It’s nice to sort of get in the skin and find something to latch on to that makes that person distinct as opposed to forcing it and using the dialogue or the scene or exposition to tell the story. I mean I some how, I, Eliza, am a really adaptable person. I was just sort of raised that way. It’s sort of like throw me in the water and I can hopefully learn how to swim and survive and get very comfortable very quickly, but there is that initial sort of shock to the system and so we figured that out early on; that it’s helpful to do some of the …

Other scenes first, but some scenes are easier than others to slide into and I have worked with Joss specifically on certain roles. I also have a coach that I’ve worked with since I was ten-years-old, who actually lives in New York and we work on the phone or he comes out to LA. I’ve taken it very seriously and I really want to, as much as possible, take Elizaisms out when they’re not necessary and add other elements and add other colors to these characters to portray the reality that I’m a different person every week as much as possible, so it’s absolutely been challenging. It’s been humbling. It’s been exciting and I’m ready for more, more, more.

Gabrielle Anwar Interview

Gabrielle Anwar plays Fiona on the USA Network’s Burn Notice. And was recently able to participate in a conference call with Anwar:

What’s the status of Fiona and Michael’s relationship? Will we see them becoming a couple again?

G. Anwar: That depends how one would define a couple.

Yes, like a traditional relationship, like boyfriend/girlfriend.

G. Anwar: I don’t think either of them has a traditional bone in their body, so I think perhaps not in that respect.

What’s the best part of doing scenes with Bruce Campbell?

G. Anwar: The hysterical laughter that it is inevitable. I think I may have cracked plenty of neatly executed make-up applications on my cheeks from the kind of laughter that goes alongside with working with Bruce.

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