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Alan Tudyk - "Serenity" Movie - Actionadventure.about.com Interview

By Fred Topel

Sunday 18 July 2004, by Webmaster

Firefly movie news

I usually get a few comments from actors about their upcoming comments, but it’s rare that you get basically a full interview while somebody’s promoting another film. To be fair, I will present Alan Tudyk’s interview for I, Robot later this week. But for now, here’s all he had to say about Serenity, the feature length film based on the short-lived TV series Firefly. Tudyk played the ship’s pilot, Wash Warren. On TV, the ship explored different worlds as a sort of space western, without aliens. Joss Whedon makes his feature film directing debut with the film, named after the ship.

How did you get a movie from a failed TV show? Joss Whedon. Well, it also was the fans. You know those sci-fi fans. Firefly, when it was cancelled, they took down the website I think, and then three went up. There was a Firefly website all the time when the TV show was over and it became this community place to go. And they didn’t always just talk about Firefly, but there are all those “an episode that wasn’t written” type of thing. They do a lot of that. They do a lot of art, they do all kinds of things with it. But Joss Whedon loved the show and didn’t feel like it got a fair shake and was committed to it so totally. When we were cancelled, he said at the party, he said, “This isn’t over.” Everybody’s like, “Oh, that’s sweet. I hope he’s right, but...” He said, “I will produce etchings if that’s all I can produce, but this will happen again, something, some form, it will have a place. And he made it his mission. And after the DVD sales were good, but even before that, he had found people who were of his like mind at Universal Studios. And then it was first the Herculean task of wrenching the rights from Fox, which I can’t even imagine what that was like, but he pulled it off. And we have a lot of support at Universal. They’re really happy with what we’ve done. We’re about a month and a half into shooting now and they’re extraordinarily excited. We all get along so well. It’s ridiculous?

Is the movie bigger? Yeah, it is bigger. Our costumes are cooler. Our ship is the same although it’s actually a little bit cooler. Hallways are a bit wider to accommodate better acting. It’s not as dangerous. You need wider halls for better acting. The first rule of acting is wide, open space. It’s not as dangerous as a set. It used to be you’d put your hand on something and you’d come away with blood. Now there are very smooth surfaces. It is all a little bit smoother around my bridge. I shot the day before yesterday, it was my first day flying the space ship and I got all sorts of new switches, switches and buttons that light up and I have these two little screens that hang above my head that I never had before that all access different things.

You probably only shoot two pages a day now? Yeah, we shoot a lot less which is great. We do have that luxury and it is a luxury. But also on the TV show, we did a lot. That element is still there but it’s not as much because it’s not going to be on the TV screen.

How many films are you signed for? It is a three-picture deal at Universal and I think it’s going to be about how the first one performs to see how the other two do. But the way that it’s been budgeted, I have a lot of faith that it’s going to do well business-wise, on a bottom line sort of scale. I think it’s going to do enough, it’ll be hard not to do what it’s supposed to do. If something cataclysmic would happen, and such a good script too on top of it all, I’m certain there’s going to be three.

More news on the Firefly movie

How is Joss Whedon handling his feature directing debut? Well, he loves it because he directed a lot of the TV shows. You know, doing one hour single camera isn’t too far from doing a movie. It’s not that whole multi-camera thing. It’s just a lot faster paced, so it’s the same way of directing just with a lot more time and a lot more opportunity to get it perfect.

Twice as much money? Yeah, a lotta money. The pilot that we shot for Firefly, a two hour pilot that Fox decided to show last because it explained the whole story so it was good to show that last. So you knew what you were missing now. You can go, “Oh, that’s what it meant.” I think we made that for $12 million it was reported at the time. Oh my God, a $12 million pilot, a two hour pilot. And we have 50 million dollars to do two hours now. So we can do a lot.

What is the mission? I can say this and I can’t say much because Joss will kill me. In the TV show, if you know the characters of River and Simon who are some of the people onboard the ship are wanted by the law. And it got us into trouble a lot. They’re still wanted by the law in the movie, but the Alliance, the law assigns a guy to catch her who’s really, really good at his job. That’s all I can say.

Who plays that character? Chiwetel [Ejiofor], he was the lead in Amistad. It took me so long to remember Chiwetel. He’s an English actor. It’s on the website. I should know that.

Does it still have the western theme? I think just like in the series, some of the episodes had more of a western theme than others that depended on the story of which planet we went to. This story doesn’t require it. I think it still lives in that world. I mean, his idea is that we had all of these new planets being terraformed, they became like pioneer days so all that stuff just evolved out of it. It was natural for it to be there alongside technology. But we don’t spend too much time in those types of worlds in the movie, so you don’t see it, but it’s still part of the universe.