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Joss Whedon - About past & future projects - Empireonline.com Interview
jeudi 2 mars 2006, par Webmaster
As Serenity hits DVD shelves across the land, we caught up with the mighty Joss Whedon for a little chat about the continuing adventures of our favourite Firefly-class vessel, his future plans, and his love of a certain Abba anthem. But beware, ahead be BIG spoilers suitable only for those who have already seen Serenity. If you haven’t scroll slowly and stop right after the words "a great boon". You have been warned !
Last time we saw you was at the Serenity premiere party, cutting some rug to Dancing Queen.
It gets me on the floor every time !
So you were obviously pretty pleased with the film at that point - looking back, are you happy with how it’s gone ?
Oh, I feel exactly the same way about the film as I did then, which is that I loathe every shot, I made 4 billion mistakes - and I quite like it.
Was it a big difference between TV and film ? Did it feel different going in to work every day ?
It didn’t feel different but it was different. But because I had such continuity with the cast, because I had Jack Green who, apart from acting like you’ve known him your whole life, lights faster than most TV DPs [Director of Photography] ; because I had Rich Sickler, my Assistant Director from Angel ; and because I knew what I wanted so much, there was a huge amount of continuity. And every now and again somebody’d be like, “Oh, that’s so TV” and I’d be like, “What...when I cut to the two-shot ?” People just, because you worked in TV, have to hold it against you. I suppose if I’d come from music video they’d have said, “That’s so music video !” What, the cut to the two-shot ? You sort of can’t win.
But the differences were there, in the size of the thing and the fluidity. Not the size of the screen, although we did have one shot that nobody saw in dailies on in the AVID (editing process) and it wasn’t until a preview screening that someone noticed that the camera pulled back to reveal a grip sitting in the corner. An entire man was in the frame. OK, so that’s the sort of thing we can’t get away with. But when I talk about the size of the thing, it’s the giant amorphous beast that is the story and how every little scene that you shoot in one day affects the other 60 days of shooting, and trying to keep hold of that and understand how much momentum you need and how high you need to be and where the energy is and what you’re leading to. That’s different. You don’t have as much leeway, especially in an action movie, for the bizarre meandering that I am perhaps known for.
Given that this was the arc that was meant to end the series when it was so cruelly cut short, did you have to kill lots of your babies to get it down to two hours ?
Oh God ! You cannot imagine how many things I had to lose - and if I made five sequels I’d still not get all the stuff that I had in there. It’s different, it’s completely different. But it’s the devil’s bargain, and it’s a hell of a bargain. You get to make a big movie, and you get to watch your beloved friends and heroes up on the screen - but at the same time you can’t delve into the nuance of every character’s internal life because there just isn’t time. The fact is that Kaylee and Inara are best friends - but they do not speak to each other for the entire film. It was just one of those things that fell by the wayside because it had to get shorter and shorter. I had them close together, I’d have them touch - do whatever I could to indicate that they were close, but they literally don’t speak to each other.
So you have to trust the alchemy between the characters to somehow convey that ?
Well, luckily they’re so dialled in that they can feel it. They brought so much of that, so much of themselves to it. I said to Jewel once, “Take that piece of metal and toss it out,” when Adam was tossing metal into the airlock. She picked it up and she’s like, “This ? This is useful ! This is gorgeous ! We’ll need this !” It was pure Kaylee. I was like, “Yeah, OK” so in the scene you can see her pick it up and start playing with it. I love that. She’s not a Method person who has to be in character, she’s Jewel until the cameras roll - but this time, she looked genuinely shocked - “How can you say that ? Why would you throw this away ?”
At the risk of sounding very fangirlish for a moment, I thought the flashback scene at the beginning of the film was a brilliant piece of writing - you managed to give the non-fans some history, give something new to those who had seen the series, and bring us up to date. Thank you very much. You know, it’s the hardest thing in the world to make this movie about nine people who have all already met. So I developed the idea of, “Oh, wait a minute - I should show River and Simon breaking out.” Then I was like, “But it has to be a year later” and then everything fell into place and I realised I could do something that would not only introduce everything but reflect her state of mind. I had a great feeling when I got that ; it felt like the right way to tell the story, even though traditionally, like in Stagecoach, you’d meet all these people as they met each other. Because I wasn’t doing that, to have that prologue was a great boon.
So was it one of those, "Nailed that - now get me a drink" moments ?
Yes. There was a drink involved.
Have you any apologies to the fans for killing Wash in such a spectacular fashion ?
Not at all. I never apologise. The fact of the matter is that it was necessary to do so for many reasons - the most important being that if somebody doesn’t die at the very beginning of that final battle you spend the whole battle going, “This is cool. Look ! They’re shooting.”
True - after that we thought you might kill everyone.
Exactly. After that, I could do a Wild Bunch on your asses. And that’s what I needed people to feel. And then, I could cheat insanely. “Oh, looks like Mal’s dead ! Looks like Simon’s dead ! Looks like River’s dead ! - Oh, they’re all OK !” The stakes were raised, so it had to be done. So I make no apologies for it, even though I’ve had some genuinely frightening angry fans.
Oh, I’ve had a couple. They weren’t even large - it was just the intensity in their eyes, I was backing away. It was a test screening so the executives were all there and I was hiding behind them. But it was the right thing to do and everybody knew it. The only person who wasn’t bothered at all by it was Alan, who was hilarious. He kept saying, “Um, my script ends at page 105. Everybody else’s seems longer.”
“No, that’s the end - you land the ship, the credits roll.”
“Oh, OK. It just seems like everyone else has more pages.”
“No ! It’s an optical illusion.”
“Oh, OK. And every time I go in the cockpit I get this funny feeling in my chest. It itches, I don’t know why...”
So is there any hope for a Serenity sequel, or another series ?
You know, we didn’t exactly set the box office aflame. The DVD is doing quite well. Nobody’s said anything. I don’t rule it out, I’d love to do it, but I’m focusing on whatever’s next, as are my actors. If anybody ever calls for us to come back together, that would be a great joy, but the fact that we got to make this film is, in itself, a bit of a miracle, so you don’t ask for another one for a while.
How about Goners and Wonder Woman ? Can you tell us more about those ?
Not a whole lot. I am still writing Wonder Woman. It is very awesome but incredibly unfinished, but I should be finishing that in a little while and then I’ll have a better idea of which film is actually going into production. But I can tell you that the film will be about introducing you to Wonder Woman. She’ll be wearing the outfit and there will be the bracelets, the golden lasso and Greek gods. She comes from a civilisation where she’s rather perfect, so she’s the opposite to Buffy in many ways, but she’s going through an adolescent rite of passage because she’s new to the world.
But how about the Buffyverse ? You mentioned in the webchat you guys did with us when the film came out that you were hoping to return to that soon.
We are trying to put together a Spike movie - I don’t know if it’s financially feasible. That’s what I’ve been working towards for the past several months, and I should know fairly soon whether or not something’s going to happen with that.
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