In certain corners of the Internet, Dushku has gained a degree of notoriety for being Coldplay's biggest fan. "I've never been into partying or anything like that, so while my friends are at the bars, I'm usually enjoying the world class entertainment of Coldplay," he writes in an email to Mother Jones. Dushku has attended, by his own count, nearly 60 Coldplay concerts across the country from Dallas to New Jersey, which he has methodically documented and photographed. Ever the diehard fan, Dushku has no problem chastising his friends for "disrespecting" Coldplay in front of him:
Dushku has also skirted the edges of celebrity in Austin and Los Angeles, where he also has a home. He is frequently asked whether he is related to Eliza Dushku, star of Bring It On and Joss Whedon's short-lived series Dollhouse. He is not, though he did invite the 32-year-old actress to one of his birthday parties at the Sizzler in Los Angeles. ("She didn't show.") His surname was enough, however, to prompt Kenny Hamilton, Justin Bieber's trusted bodyguard and Jimmy Dushku's "homie", to try to arrange a meeting between the two Dushkus.
Also, Jimmy unsuccessfully lobbied Comcast and Universal Studios to grant him a walk-on role in one of the upcoming Fast and Furious movies, citing the original as his favorite film. ("You almost had me? You never had me! You never had your car!" Dushku occasionally blurts out in meetings, channeling Vin Diesel.)
And here he is golfing with actor Dennis Quaid, an ex-neighbor whom Dushku affectionately calls "a great guy":
So why, exactly, did North Korea decide to follow Dushku in the first place? He has no personal or political connections to the Hermit Kingdom, much less any affection for its binge-drinking, roller-coaster riding, Kobe Bryant-watching, nuclear-armed supreme leader. "People always ask me how it happened, and I honestly can't remember," he says. "It started sometime back in 2010. I was initially surprised, but I always try to make friends with people from all different locations and backgrounds."
"Out of courtesy," Dushku says, he followed North Korea's account in return, and they began communicating. The first tweet below says "Have a nice day, my friend" in Korean.
Then came the backlash. After word got out that Dushku was being followed by @uriminzok, his inbox was instantly inundated with angry and graphic messages from complete strangers who suspected him of being a sympathizer or even a secret agent of the Korean Workers' Party. The death threats, primarily from South Koreans and Korean-Americans, escalated into attempts to post his address and personal information on forums such as 4chan.
As a result, Dushku became seriously concerned for the safety of his family and himself. "One person wrote in detail about how he was going to come to my house and hurt me; others tell me they hope I die, or that they will be the one to do it," Dushku says. "On the other hand, the most entertaining messages I've received have been from Australians. They always send such cheerful messages and it's a nice change from the negative ones."
"The most entertaining messages I've received have been from Australians. They always send such cheerful messages and it's a nice change from the negative ones."
Since all the negative attention started, Dushku has laid low, generally declining to give interviews to Western media and cable TV, but occasionally speaking to Korean, Japanese, and Chinese news agencies in order to prove that he is "not an uneducated and evil person." He still receives threatening emails and tweets, but nothing that causes too much alarm.
Regardless of why this Tweet-based acquaintance came into being, Dushku is content with the situation as is. He claims that due to this amicable relationship he has a standing offer from North Korean officials to visit their country. "I'd love to see the Arirang Festival in person," he says, referring to the annual gymnastics festival held in Pyongyang that honors the Korean People's Army, dead dictators, and the ruling party. "I have been very interested in the country, from a historical point of view, for many years now. Behind all of the headlines you see on the news, there are people who live there."
When I chatted with Dushku, Schmidt had just arrived in North Korea on his "private, humanitarian" mission. Only time will tell if Jimmy Dushku—America's Coldplay-obsessed, Bieber-bodyguard-befriending, Vin Diesel-quoting, jet-setting businessman—will follow suit.