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Joss Whedon - "Comic-Con Episode IV : A Fan’s Hope" Documentary - Morgan Spurlock Usatoday.com Interview

Monday 22 August 2011, by Webmaster

When will we see the documentary?

Well, it will premiere next month in Toronto. And then it will open hopefully soon after that.

And does it focus on the fans?

We follow seven different people into Comic-Con, so we kind of see Comic-Con through their eyes. People who have different kinds of hopes and dreams for Comic-Con: somebody who’s a cosplayer. Somebody who’s a collector. A young artist who wants to break into the business. A comic-book vendor who has seen the business change and kind of crumble around him. It’s a great way to tell the story of what Comic-Con kind of represents through all these different kind of filters, which are just people like you and me.

So what’s your own experience with Comic-Con? Do you usually go?

This year was my third Comic-Con. The first time I ever went — I’d wanted to go for years and years and was never able to — was three years ago when I was doing the Simpsons special for Fox.

I got hired to do The Simpsons’ 20th anniversary special, so we go to Comic-Con to cast for Simpsons super-fans. We had this amazing casting — like American Idol casting — where people just stand in front of a backdrop and proclaim their love for The Simpsons with a panel ofpeople from the show. It was awesome. And while we were there, that was my first chance to really get to experience what Comic-Con was. And I was like, "This place is amazing. It’s everything I could ever hope for, everything I imagined it was and beyond." And I was like, "This is a story; this place is a story."

Later that night, I met Stan Lee — (he was) a huge inspiration to me as a kid. I grew up in West Virginia literally devouring his comic books. I was like "You’ve got to understand. You changed my life. You made this goofy little kid be confident in wanting to tell stories. Thank you." And he’s like (in a deep Lee-esque voice), "Oh, Morgan, call me Stan." And then he said, "You know what? We should make a movie together. We should make a documentary — in fact, we should make a documentary about Comic-Con!"

I was like, "That’s a great idea, Stan. Thanks a lot. Wonderful to meet you." And I turned around — this is such a Hollywood moment — and there was Peter Micelli from CAA, who’s one of my agents. And I said, "Peter, Stan and I want to make a documentary about Comic-Con." And Peter goes, "That’s a great idea. You should meet one of my other clients ..." Cut to tomorrow, as I’m having breakfast with his other client, Joss Whedon.

So I’m having breakfast with Joss Whedon, telling him about the idea to make this Comic-Con film. By that point, we’d actually fleshed out what it is. And Joss is like, "I love it. I’m in." And then I walked out of breakfast up to meet my friend Mark, who’s on the board of directors at Comic-Con ... Mark started volunteering at Comic-Con when he was 14 years old. So I went and I found him, told him the whole thing. And he says, "I’ve been here now 30 years volunteering and working at Comic-Con. And every year someone comes in saying, "We want to make a movie." And we’ve never let it happen." And he goes, "This time, it just might work."

And it did. And it was amazing.

So that’s the first time in 25 years they’ve allowed a camera crew to come in and tell the story of Comic-Con.

That’s so exciting! Do you still read comics?

I still read comics. Right now I’m reading Irredeemable and Incorruptible. I love DMZ. I loved Y: The Last Man — that’s still one of the greatest things written.

Maybe you’re the one who could make that movie.

I keep hearing somebody’s gonna make that movie, and I’m like, "That should be a TV series." Battlestar Galactica’s gone; now (someone should) make Y: The Last Man.

Would you consider directing a non-documentary feature?

I would love to. There’s a couple movies that I’m attached to right now. It took a long time to find something that I liked. There’s a film I’m attached to at Leonardo DiCaprio’s company right now that’s very Erin Brockovich-ish, which is great. I wanted to find something that was smart, that I thought had a little teeth to it. Wasn’t just some kind of fluffy ... Like, after Super Size Me came out, I got sent so many amazingly terrible scripts. They were like, "Super Size Me is hilarious! We should send him some comedies!" So I got sent some really bad comedies.

I got sent a Revenge of the Nerds remake. ... I got, like, a Deuce Bigelow movie.

That’s bizarre.

Yeah. And I said, if I’m going to make a comedy, then I want it to be something that’s smart. I want it to be a comedy that has some sort of ... a driving narrative beyond laughs. Then Thank You for Smoking came out, and I was like, "Thank You for Smoking is a great example. This is the movie I want to make." But those scripts are hard to find.