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FireflyFirefly - "Serenity" Movie Premiere - Sydney Q&A Transcript - SPOILERS !!!
Tuesday 13 September 2005, by Webmaster
o I sacrificed time I could have been watching Joss desperately writing down what he said so people who weren’t there could get an idea. Sorry it wasn’t up last night, but ironically, I got Jossed last night after I got home. (people from the screening will know what I mean....)
I’m still unsure if I should be posting this... I’d really hate to take the wind out of UIP’s DVD sales because they have been oh-so good to us. In any case, it was WAY better than I could ever do justice so even if you weren’t all going to buy the DVD with extras (you big fan-nerds, you) please buy it anyway! for Joss was in his element... [now there’s a qn, Joss, if you were an element, which would you be? (Surely, it would be one of the gases...but definately not the inert ones.)]
HUGE SPOILER ALERT
HUGE.... ( is that sufficient?)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
In no particular order and badly paraphrased because I am no short-handist. (with editing help from Merceroz and and krazy25)
1. Joss tells the story of a girl given a car on her birthday only to have it taken away (to illustrate how he felt when presented with his wonderful coat, only to have it taken away... for safe-keeping, of course) He made little grr-argh hand gestures... maybe more... ‘my precious’ hand gestures... and a sad little puppy face!
2. We sang Happy Birthday to Epona (who was turning 21) and Joss joked that she was turning 12.
3. Someone asked him what scenes he left out and his response was something like "In an interesting move I decided not to cut the great scenes....the dull scenes will appear on the DVD in all their dullness.”
He also mentioned that of all the characters to suffer the knife in the editing of the script, Inara suffered the worst. Long talky scenes were better done with looks. Of the most significant cut was a scene with Inara and another companion and one with Mal on the shuttle. He wished he could have given her more screen time and that the sequel might be a good vehicle for that.
4. Asked about whether we would ever find out about Book’s past. “Once more I mention the sequel...”
5. Very contemplative question about whether people ever really do change.
“I get worse all the time...Todd’s not an upbeat fella- takes a dull view of all of us.” He noted that change for the worse is very easy while change for the better... “I’ve seen it happen- I’ve written about it... I’m trying. Then he made some allusion to how a certain section of the audience had no capacity for human change. (everyone laughed).
6. Asked about the film’s strong sense of family; and asked whether the deaths threaten this sense of family in the sequel. “I hope so.” He mentioned there needs to be some drama and the idea is to “Have to find what’s wrong with the family.” And some hilarious witticism about them linking arms and marching towards the camera singing to demonstrate the absence of drama in that.
Also mentioned the line in Batman II where Catwoman? says she and the Penguin must turn Batman into the thing he hates the most. When the Penguin replied “Frame him” Joss thought “NOOOOoooo” and that this was not what the interesting line was all about.
Then, returning to Serenity, he asked us if we wanted him to make the sequel or not. (well DUH! ;p )
7. Someone asked if the bottle-neck scene was meant to be reminiscent of the Angel alley? “No, that’s what I call running out of ideas. And I love that people keep bringing it up.” Mentioned he was a big fan of the Wild bunch. And noted that he wasn’t consciously trying to evoke Buffy and Angel, “but I am the guy who made them.”
8. The “I’m a Christian. What have you got against me” guy.
Joss: “It’s not Christianity- it’s just you.”
Noted that he had no problems with people of alternate faiths but also noted that Atheism was not recognised by the American public at large. He argued that meaning comes from what we do with our lives and how we treat one another. Noted that he included those of alternate religions, particularly in FF/Serenity. Argued he would like to have some faith but “I don’t.”
Caused a stir by saying “Book’s a wise and decent man, well, a wise and decent corpse.” Then quipped, “So where did you lose the audience?”
noted that in Angel Season 2/ Episode 16 Angel had gone all dark ("he does that") and recounts the story where Angel is able to be in the apartment without ever having been invited and that He (Joss) just let that moment "hang there". In referencing the line (provided by ZB) "If there is no great, glorious end to all this, if nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do. ’Cause that’s all there is. What we do, now, today." And that in this way he had contradicted what he had just represented. (or something like that...get’s blurry around the time I got up to ask a question.)
As a final thought he noted, “But, I hate Buddhists”. (laughter)
9. Q. ‘I’m going to go all cerebral on you now...’ Joss: “As opposed to that last question?” (Can’t remember the question in detail but it was about the link b/t the Alliance and Blue Sun...)
Joss said roughly “Yeh, Blue Sun was meant to be MacDonalds and Microsoft rolled into one” But for the film he felt there would be “too much in the soup.”
10. When asked about a potential Toy Story III concerning ‘disgruntled Tamagotchi’s’ he replied, “I don’t want to go that dark” and later “Has anyone ever been ‘gruntled’?”
He noted that there were so many potential and possible threads in his mind about where FF might have gone. But he emphasised that he wasn’t able to tell us any as he has not given up all hope of the much-spoken of sequel. He did go as far to say that had the series continued there would have been two more people alive.
11. Someone noted that Joss has a tendency to take the happy couples we’ve grown to know and love (and even some we don’t) and rip them mercilessly to shreds... a trend she and her friends had termed ‘getting Jossed’ [which I love!]. Her qn was whether Simon and Kaylee have a chance?
“They’re young, in love, happy... They’re doomed!” But stepping back from that he very meekly, very coyly added that “it’s possible everything might go very well.”
12. Then I, the greatest buffoon of them all, having just had the question I was going to ask completely poached, leaving me no time at all to think, asked what River’s trigger meant. (many apologies, I just couldn’t think, he was looking right at me! I hope I didn’t visibly splutter...anyway, at least it’s a funny thing to have on the DVD.)
As for what he said I have no earthly idea. My mind went completely! Buzzzzzzzzzzzz but I believe from the thread in I’ve Seen Serenity it is Russian, translated as “this is laughter for chickens” meaning “this is absurd”.
He then amusingly quipped that he spent his youth considering what he would write in his autobiography, and more importantly, on his tombstone.
13. Someone asked a question I didn’t hear for the buzzing (don’t worry it wears off soon). From Merceroz "the questioner suggested there had been some changes to the characters - particularly Simon and Mal - between the TV show and the movie. In reponse Joss felt the characters hadn’t changed.)
Joss’s response was also to talk about the backtracking that occurred in Simon and Mal’s relationship where it went from taking them in as part of the family in FF to not comfortably sheltering them in Serenity. He also mused that Inara and Kaylee had no dialogue in the film and so to pay credit to their bond he kept asking them to stand close together and “touch one another”. He admitted that the first draft for the film was over 200 pages long.
14. Someone asked about the cast emotionality and tendency to cry a lot.
Joss noted that “Summer will always cry” and that the cast was one of the best he’d ever worked with and that they stayed loyal to one another and to the FF world.
He then asked us! “Who’s seen the series?” (everyone) “Ah... only the people with hands.”
He noted that Alan works the most and was the first to get work after the series ended. Joss at this point began to get nervous that the cast was moving on and that his movie wasn’t going to happen. At this stage he asked Tim Minear, “At what point does this stop being CPR and start being Negrophilia”. Admitting this was a strange question he gibed that Tim, being the person he is, had no problem with the question and replied, “What’s wrong with that?”
He then recounted the much-beloved Red Button Story- When your miracle comes...
He then discussed how once the movie looked like it would go ahead there were issues over the production not being able to pay the actor’s reasonable salaries due to the dedication of most of the funds to SFX. People the people they are.. “They would hang out when they could, had BBQs, would go hiking...” They all called Nathan. Then our might BDH told the execs that he didn’t feel comfortable settling his deal until “everyone’s as taken care of as I am” (qu Joss, not Nathan). Apparently there was production anxiety over this “COLLUSION!” but Joss emphasised that these people were a crew and Nathan was their captiain, “always there to take care of them”. (weapy, weapy audience).
15. How did you decide who to kill?
“My Dungeon Master’s 20-sided dice” (uproarious laughter).
‘At first, I wasn’t going to kill anyone...” but he explained that if no-one got hurt then the story wouldn’t ring true for the newcomers. He also noted “You have resitrictions about who you can kill and still call it a happy ending.”
He apparently tried different scenarios and reminisced that in a draft for Alien IV, he had a death for one of the characters in every act and then living in the finale.
“I can’t worry about what I need or worry about a sequel...” he had to make this film the best it could possibly be.
“Everyone who isn’t Ron and Alan wins.”
16. Someone asked if there was any allusion in Mr. Universe/and Universal being the ones getting out the signal.
Joss liked this, and remarked he hadn’t heard this one.
He nbs “my own life, my priorities... what’s going on bleeds into it.” During the series he felt stronger parallels, “we are losing the war....”, evidenced in the flash-back sequences of The Message. And wrote Tim (?) a scene in which they were both sitting and waiting while execs walked by. (Merceroz adds- This was something about in one draft of the script for The Message he gave to Tim there was a version of a scene in which the characters where replace by him and Tim. It made sense at the time!!)
He also noted that he buried the emotional loss so deeply that he was “not at all surprised it fell out all over the script.”
17. What about Jayne? (a question we were ALL thinking...)
“I didn’t really have a grand plan for Jayne. If I did, then Adam blew it.” Noted how people weren’t supposed to fall in love with him. “He’s not trustworthy, and he’s adorable! What are you going to do?” Joss felt it ironic that Jayne actually seems to come from a very well-adjusted family (he meant Jayne right? Rather than Adam?) He then quipped that if anyone were to play Jayne’s dad it would have to be Tommy Lee Jones, as he would be the only one who could “put the beat down” on him.
18.Someone (presumably not an aficionado) asked about Joss casting Gina, Nathan and Adam from Buffy and Angel.
Joss kindly offered that this was a common mistake among British and Australian fans and explained that in fact all three had appeared in Firefly before their other guest spots. (and I believe he said that was the first time he had worked with any of them.) “And when you need a goddess... who are you going to call on but Gina!”
He interestingly mentioned that he had wanted to put Morena on Angel but she was committed to a Fox program at the time and they, interestingly, couldn’t make her available.
19. Girl/lady (couldn’t see at great distance) told Joss that she liked all his female characters and asked if any of them were based on real people.
Joss: “Finally I’ve found somebody who likes Kennedy!” (hilarity).
He fervently explained that none of the characters who based on any in particular in real life. He charmingly asserted that he “was raised by an amazing woman and am married to an even more amazing woman.” *swoon*
He said some elements were based around stories his wife had told him about her youth, but assures they are “well buried, so she doesn’t sue.”
20. In response to whether he would prefer Serenity II or Firefly Season II he replied, “I don’t think there will ever be a Firefly series II because it is just gone...” He wagered it might be plausible to create a spin off containing some of the same characters in their familiar roles but that the chemistry of that set could never be regained so “I wouldn’t want to try.” (*collective sniff from everyone*)
He then asserted that “both ideas are exhausting to think about.”
"Just out of interest" he also asked whether we would prefer a Serenity sequel or a new series (the latter getting all the cheers, though I think we weren’t quite sure what he was asking when he proposed the first option Smile )
21. He was then asked a rather different question about whether it is better to have an idea that is original or an idea that sells.
He immediately quipped: “Well I’ve never had an orignal idea so I would say they’re overrated.”
(while I thought Joss’s answer would be obvious though interesting, the man so consistently quick off the bat, actually paused for a good five seconds at this point to consider his response ...)
“I don’t think I entirely understand the question.... I think if they create an ideas to sell, then they’ve already missed the point....If there’s nothing behind it, nothing personal...some aspect of humanity, then please don’t try.”
22. An indepth question then ensued about the nature of language, mentioning Joss’s English schooling etc. (controversially someone behind me made an offensive snoring noise, and was promptly reprimanded by Joss who said s/thing like “I actually find such things entirely fascinating and if you’re not interested in language, there’s the door.” Much cheering...) (Merceroz- The question contained reference to PG Woodhouse and (-from Krasy25 Raymond Chandler) and was about creating a unique style of dialogue for characters. The questioner commented that the authors he mentioned were American’s schooled in England. Related this to Joss and finished with a comment about mid Atlantic poetry!)
To the question he responded, “Anyone who speaks it as badly as I do...” (ref to English). He spoke passionately, “Language is my drug, is my life, I the thing I love more than anything else.” Goes on to talk about “evolving a language that is both our and theirs”. Mentioned with Buffy he wanted a teen-speak “that would register but wouldn’t feel outdated.” He didn’t want them to repeat phrases but always “come at things a little bit sideways so it would always be fresh.”
With FF hw it was a deliberate thing... he aimed to create a new language from “a lot of stuff taken from different places.” Eg. much of it is from the American Civil War.
Notes he spent a lot of time in a British boarding school... feeling and feels “torn between to continents, a man without a country.”
23. Hey, how you doin’?
“How am I doing?” he laughed. “They LOVE me... I’m killing...look at these people!”
23. (cont...I missed the question! So I’m not sure what they were referring to...) (Merceroz-The question was about how fan based communities and the internet had affected the way he works. And also about the casts involvement with the fans via the internet. The Nathan reference was to Nathan’s post on the Univeral Board about his comic shopping experiences. (Very funny post if you haven’t seen it.)
I’m showing my ignorance here but he mentioned something like “Nathan was really pissed about that comic book store.”
“I got on the internet about Veronica Mars because I was losing my shit over it.”
“We’re all nerds. In the case of the cast extraordinarily good-looking nerds...”
24. Extremely cute kid, with confidant presentation that would make pithy Buffy lines look meek, sprang from her seat to ask, Whether Joss had a childhood toy, what its name was and did he still have it. (people clapped...they loved the question and Joss, charmingly embarrassed -you’ll see why- laughed.)
“I had a doll....it’s name was Spiderman.” “I had a teddy bear.... It was given to me by a girl when I was 12” the interesting part was that he was unable to name the bear. We then learned in college he had a set of knives which all had names “even the sharpener”. Each apparently had their own personality and were ‘a superhero group of knives.” (merceroz- Can I point out the knives were kitchen knives - he mentioned he liked cooking. At first I thought he’d been an all American teen obsessed with weapons which didn’t really fit my image of Joss.)
Joss: “I kinda wish I’d kept that story to myself.” (did anyone else think that the knife story was leading to finding out the bear’s name?)
He also made cracks about his therapy and there "not being enough couches in Vienna..."
25. Joss was asked if he could take five people to a desert island who would they be.
Joss protested and asked whether they were allowed to be dead...(meaning who were once dead) but the questioner must have given him a look because he immediately protested that this “was not another negrophilia thing.”
His response was firstly Jane Austen, “she was my first”, on the proviso that she bathed first because “they didn’t do that back then.” His second was Caligula because “someone has to be the master of ceremonies.” (these are flying off the top of his immensely special brain.) His third would be Emma Thompson and he made some illusion to being entirely intrigued by her. [obviously, Joss has seen Much Ado About Nothing...] His fourth “would be myself” ...leading up to the big finish... His fifth, George Bush. “Because we’ll need something to eat.” (Uproarious cheering, clapping, whistling and general hootenannying.) “Cheap? Maybe... but heartfelt.”
25a. Was an addendum where she asked Joss if it were possible for him to do the ‘Dance of Joy’ (from Angel). As mentioned in the other post his response was: “I’m sorry to interrupt your clapping with so much hatred. It is not possible for me to do the dance of joy as I had knee surgery very recently. Even if I had NOT had knee surgery, I STILL wouldn’t do the dance of joy. ...I was in a costume, under a tonne of make-up...See that little thing, that’s my dignity... don’t pull on it.”
26. Was as stated “Not so much a question, but an offer...” Joss: “Well it’s about time!” (much chortling)
We were all volunteered to do a moving rendition of the theme song.
Joss: “I like your plan where I don’t sing”
Again, as stated in the other post Joss replied, “Amazingly enough, and that was beautifully rendered, it’s almost as awkward for me sitting here as it would be singing it myself.” (or some such... I think the other quote was closer...in any case, hilarious (and mortifying)!)
Before he went he thanked us all for attending and left us with, “If they take the sky from me- I’m just going to take it back.”
If anyone who absolutely didn’t have cameras wants to make corrections (or anyone really) just PM me. I did my best!