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Joss Whedon - "Angel" Tv Series & Comic Book - Msn.com Interview

Sunday 4 November 2007, by Webmaster

What’s in Your DVD Player, Joss Whedon?

The creator of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Firefly," and "Angel" dishes about his DVD player, talks musicals, and sets us straight on the rumors of a "Serenity" sequel.

By Sean Axmaker Special to MSN Entertainment

"Angel," the greatest TV show ever about a vampire detective, is getting the complete-series treatment in a new DVD edition. To mark the occasion, Joss Whedon — also the creator of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Firefly" — dishes on "Angel," talks musicals, and sets us straight on the rumors of a "Serenity" sequel.

What’s in your DVD player?

That’s a double answer because I’ve been watching "Newsies" with my kids and I’ve been watching "Crank," with Jason Statham, while I exercise. "Newsies" and "Crank," yeah! How many fans did I just lose?

"Newsies" is a musical. Have your kids gotten into musicals?

Oh yeah. They don’t watch TV and we only watch a few things selectively, and I tend to show them musicals first because I don’t like to show them a lot of heavy cutting. I don’t like to do that to their brains. I like "Mr. Rogers," I like long takes. Musicals are very peppy and they are very much about just showing you what’s going on instead of the magic of cutting and cutting and cutting, so that they become confused, visually. So since I’m easing them into the whole concept of filmed entertainment, it’s a good place to start. Besides, I get to watch them.

My sister’s kids’ favorite movie, at least at one time, was "Singin’ in the Rain."

Well, it is the best movie that has ever been and I have shown that to my kids, because it’s "Singin’ in the Rain." Every number is magical and every joke is actually funny and every bit works, so that makes sense.

Do you ever check out the supplements on other DVDs?

You know, very rarely. If there’s a movie I’m really curious about how they did something I’ll try to hunt it down. But either I’ll try to listen to commentary and somebody will say something that upsets me and I’ll stop; or if it’s something where I’m completely transported, like "The Matrix," I never want to know how it’s made, I want to believe it happened.

Having done commentary yourself and listened to other commentary tracks, what’s your take on the concept? For it? Against it?

I’m for it. I love doing it. I get nervous but I love doing it and I love the idea of it. I still think the best commentary I’ve heard is "Cannibal: The Musical": Trey Parker and Matt Stone and all their buddies just getting drunk and talking about the musical. You really get a bunch of cute insights and a bunch of drunk guys. What more could you ask for? But I haven’t watched many since then, even by people I like. Occasionally I do find them kind of dry. But I’m definitely for them, I think there’s a lot you can do with them, and they can be really fun.

The "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" DVD sets were some of the first to be filled with multiple commentary tracks and featurettes and other extras. Is there one DVD supplement that stands out for you?

For "Buffy," it was probably the making of the musical, which David Fury sort of oversaw, because that was the first time we said, "OK, we know this is going to be intense. It may be our downfall, but it’s going to be an intense one and we should document it." That was really fun. But at first, whenever anybody did an extra, it was always like, "How’d you do vampire teeth?" There was a lot of genre silliness as opposed to, "What are we actually trying to do here?" By the time we were making "Angel," they sort of figured that out, that there were more interesting things to talk about. I can’t remember a favorite one particularly for "Angel," but that’s because by the time I was making "Angel," I had stopped sleeping several years before and I have little or no memory of it. I think it was about a vampire ...

You weren’t sleeping and you were living in Los Angeles. Was there an autobiographical dimension to "Angel" that you’re not telling us about?

There is a reason that I write about those guys, and if you’ve ever seen the color of my skin you’ll know I’m not kidding. I can’t go in the sun. It burns. (Voice breaks.) It burns!

It must be hard living in L.A.

You know, in retrospect, it might not have been the greatest choice. I probably should be in Seattle.

The "Angel" series DVD box set is coming out, and there’s a new show with a vampire detective called "Moonlight" on TV this season. What is it about TV vampires that makes them all want to become detectives?

You know, I think ultimately it’s the dream of every young vampire to be a detective. I don’t know. I mean there was a time when vampires were all puffy shirts and poetry and that was glorious, when it was Frank Langella. When we started "Angel," people were like, "It’s just ’Forever Knight.’" But you take the vampire concept and ultimately it translates into sort of a modern noir and a lot of noir stories were about detectives. The idea with "Angel" was to do a modern noir, was to do a little office with the blinds and the fast patter and the sort of nihilistic toughness and the dark world and the strange turns and all of the things that you find in the great ’40s and ’50s noirs. And I have a feeling that’s probably what everyone else is chasing, a little bit, too. It puts you in a world that’s slightly heightened in the way that those were. So it kind of makes sense that they would be detectives.

Fred [played by Amy Acker] has a heavy, honeyed Southern accent when she joins "Angel" in Season 2. It’s gone by the end of Season 3. Was she secretly getting speech therapy from Lorne?

She just likes to fit in, that’s my theory. Amy’s actually from Texas and had the accent but had obviously done a lot of Shakespeare and dropped the accent. I heard it and thought, "I want the accent." But actually she doesn’t speak like that anymore and I think it naturally faded away. (Pause.) Now that I realize that, she’s fired. I’m not bringing her back.

Where can I get an Angel puppet?

I don’t know. They do sell them. I have one, and now there’s a Spike puppet, too, even though Spike was never a puppet.

I would love to see the Angel and Spike puppet show.

You know, I kind of want to, too. But like, hardcore noir, with lots of big fights, lots of toughness. Not just "learning and growing," I really want them to kick it old school, but puppet school.

What’s the status of the Buffy spin-off "Ripper," which, last I read, you were still negotiating to bring to the BBC?

I tried for a while to do a series and it kind of blew up in my face. Now I’m going to try and see if I can’t do it as a 90-minute BBC film. Right now it’s sort of in the hands of FOX as to what rights they need to secure and I don’t know how long that’s going to take. I’ve been honing the story in the meantime, talking to Tony [Head] and the BBC. Everyone’s onboard, it’s kind of up to FOX.

I recently watched the new "Serenity" special-edition DVD and I have to say: The easygoing 20-minute featurette "A Filmmaker’s Journey" makes the set look like a marvelous and fun place to be.

There will never be another thing like that in my life. The set of "Serenity" exists because the set of "Firefly" was like that. I will do many things that I will enjoy greatly. I do not think I will ever be on a set that feels the way that one did, and I will also never get over the fact that I am not on it right now.

Actor Alan Tudyk mentioned the possibility of another "Firefly" movie in a recent interview. Is that wishful thinking? Is something happening? If so, can you talk about it?

I can talk about it because it’s wishful thinking. I always said, they made the special edition DVD because they cannot keep the DVD on the shelves. That’s what they told me, and they really went to the mattresses to make something special because they knew I wasn’t going to do a "director’s cut" because the "director’s cut" played in theaters. So they really pumped up the extras and I really appreciated that. And they also (slides into a Peter Lorre-ish voice) made it look pretty, finally. But I think what happened was that I said, "Well, if there’s hope for a sequel, it’s people buying the DVD," and that translated into something more literal. But, no. Right now, nobody has any plans to do any kind of sequel. If they do, I hope they’ll include me, because if I find out Brett Ratner is directing it, I’m going to be so mad. That’s not a dig on Brett. I want to do more, but nobody’s talking about doing more right now.