Joss Whedon taps Eliza Dushku for new Fox series

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Cult TV fans, set your emotions to thrilled: Joss Whedon is finally returning to the tube. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer mastermind has just signed a deal with Fox to create a drama series called Dollhouse. Better yet, he’s chosen a very familiar face to inhabit it: she of Faith fame, Eliza Dushku.

The show, which boasts a seven-episode commitment for 2008 and a hefty license fee between $1.5 million and $2 million per ep, will chronicle the exploits of a group of individuals who are “imprinted with personality packages” — meaning that they can assume a variety of indentities (language skills, physical talents, memories, etc.) to be used for all types of tasks. When these missions are over, the individuals have their memories erased and reside in a guarded laboratory known as the Dollhouse; Dushku’s Echo, however, is slowly coming of consciousness. “We call it a suspense-drama-mythology-comedy-action-horror musical,” Whedon half-jokes of the show, which will bend and blend genres in typical Joss fashion. “The main thrust is the thruline of Echo as a sort of newly born character who goes, ‘Wait a minute — I exist. Wow. So who would I be? And how dangerous is it for me to let anybody know that I know that I exist?’ Not unlike the Frankenstein myth, it’s, ‘Who made me, who am I, and why am I?'”

addCredit(“Albert L. Ortega/WireImage.com”)

Sounds like Dushku has already bonded with her alter ego. “She’s fierce
and she’s hot, but she’s also so complex, and she’s going to be so
tripped out because she’s in this world, which I can identify with,
where there are people who can click a button and succeed in making you
be what they want you to be. It’s this whole mindtrip of
objectification,” she says. “It’s going to have sex and heartbreak and
violence and hilarity. That, to me, is a hot show.”

So when did construction on Dollhouse begin? The two were having a friendly meal last month — Dushku was seeking
some project guidance after signing a deal with Fox — when inspiration hit the pair. “In the middle of the lunch, I said, ‘Oh, s—, I made up
a show, and I have a title,'” recalls Whedon. “And that’s when you know
you’re dead, when there’s a title.” Dushku, who’ll also serve as a
producer on this 20th Century Fox TV series, was more than thrilled to reteam with her
mentor. “I’ve always said from the Buffy days, ‘I’ll follow
that guy anywhere,'” she notes. “I just had to find him and pluck him
out of his supposed retirement from television.”

The timing of this project is somewhat fortuitous for Whedon.
(Except, of course, for that whole impending strike mess.) The latest
rewrite of his supernatural triller Goners for Universal “was
not incredibly well-received,” he says. “Nothing’s happening with it
right now. It’s not good news, but one door closes, and then there’s a
draft, and another one opens.”

Sounds like Dushku has already bonded with her alter ego. "She’s fierceand she’s hot, but she’s also so complex, and she’s going to be sotripped out because she’s in this world, which I can identify with,where there are people who can click a button and succeed in making yoube what they want you to be. It’s this whole mindtrip ofobjectification," she says. "It’s going to have sex and heartbreak andviolence and hilarity. That, to me, is a hot show."

So when did construction on Dollhouse begin? The two were having a friendly meal last month — Dushku was seekingsome project guidance after signing a deal with Fox — when inspiration hit the pair. "In the middle of the lunch, I said, ‘Oh, s—, I made upa show, and I have a title,’" recalls Whedon. "And that’s when you knowyou’re dead, when there’s a title." Dushku, who’ll also serve as aproducer on this 20th Century Fox TV series, was more than thrilled to reteam with hermentor. "I’ve always said from the Buffy days, ‘I’ll followthat guy anywhere,’" she notes. "I just had to find him and pluck himout of his supposed retirement from television."

The timing of this project is somewhat fortuitous for Whedon.(Except, of course, for that whole impending strike mess.) The latestrewrite of his supernatural triller Goners for Universal "wasnot incredibly well-received," he says. "Nothing’s happening with itright now. It’s not good news, but one door closes, and then there’s adraft, and another one opens."


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