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FireflyFirefly - "Serenity" Movie - Co-edmagazine.com Interview
By Kirk Miller
Saturday 8 October 2005, by Webmaster
Joss Whedon shouldn’t have to talk to me. After all, the Wesleyan graduate is perhaps the most respected and beloved name in “geek world” - a place where the Internet, sci-fi films, comic books and pop culture intersect. He’s the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, two beloved shows that outgrew their genre trappings and became, well, just great television. He wrote the screenplays for Speed and Toy Story. And his recent stint into mainstream comics, as writer of the best-selling Astonishing X-Men, has made him one of the medium’s most popular writers almost overnight.
The reason Whedon is talking to me, however, concerns a failed TV show he created for Fox. That show, a thoughtful sci-fi/ Western hybrid called Firefly, was gone after 11 episodes. Fortunately, strong sales of the subsequent DVD, along with Whedon’s continued star presence, helped resurrect the series as Serenity, a $40-million film gamble that opened last weekend.
“Things like what happened to me on Firefly made me angry,” Whedon says. “But I also realize I’m incredibly lucky to be in a position to do this, and work in a medium where the show belongs.” The series and movie take place 500 years in the future aboard the spaceship Serenity. There’s a lot of banter, some Chinese symbolism, a galactic war and positively no aliens. It’s not quite Star Wars.
“Actually, the whole thing was really inspired by this book about the Civil War called The Killer Angels and a country, or galaxy, just being torn apart,” says the director. “It’s funny because I didn’t really study American history growing up: I spent a lot of time in England, so I probably couldn’t even name most of the presidents.” He pauses. “And now I like to pretend we don’t have one.”
Due to the relatively small size of the film and unknown cast, not to mention the more heady subject matter, Whedon decided to get creative in the film’s marketing. So earlier this spring, his distributor, Universal, launched several surprise screenings for die-hard fans around the nation who showered the film with positive reviews on movie gossip sites.
“That ‘buzz’ is only going to take it so far,” Whedon admits. “I don’t think there’s enough fans of the show to make it profitable if only they see it. But hopefully, people who’ve liked it will spread the word.” The film made a not-spectacular-but-decent $10.1 million in its opening weekend.
Even if Serenity fails to meet its modest expectations, Whedon has a full plate on his hands. Besides his ongoing work on the X-Men comic, he’s also been announced as the writer and director for Wonder Woman, opening in 2006, as well as ... well, it’s a secret. And it’s about his most creative project. “Let’s just say I am working on having something to tell everyone about Buffy and those characters,” he says.
And the geeks rejoiced.