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Joss Whedon - "Dollhouse" Tv Series - Eonline.com Interview

jeudi 1er novembre 2007, par Webmaster

So, first of all, congratulations !! I’m freaking out. And thanks for thinking of me for this news.

You’re welcome, and thank you. I remember last time I saw you on the Office set, you said, "Come back to TV." So, it was all you. That’s what caused it, so...

Ha ! Well, thank you for doing this for me.

Yes, that’s going to be the poster : "Dollhouse : It’s for Kristin."

I love that you are reuniting with Ms. Eliza Dushku.

I know. How ’bout that ?

Can you tell me how this all came about ?

Through a rather time-honored tradition called "lunch." Eliza had her deal with Fox, and we went to lunch, as we sometimes do, to talk about her career and what her next step should be. Like, do I know writers, and what was the best way to protect herself, and what type of show. Eliza and I do this sometimes, because she’s a friend and a great talent, and that’s easily misused. She was trying to protect herself, and I was trying to get a free lunch. In the middle of lunch, I came up with the idea of this show and the title by accident.

Tell me this isn’t that easy for you...that it just came to you in between bites.

I went to the bathroom and came back and said, "I figured it out." So, there it is. It took longer than between bites. It came so organically through our conversation, and what I know she is capable of, and what she was talking about and what people were expecting of her. It just kinda happened, and when it happens like that and it has a title. That’s a big deal—if it has a title, you can’t just turn your back on it. So, I told her, and she freaked out, and I told her I was busy with these films I am trying to set up, but Fox is interested, and Fox said let’s do seven episodes instead of a pilot, and here I am.

So, you have a seven-episode commitment ?


In your own words, how would you describe Dollhouse ?

The idea is those with the money or connections can access this secret highly illegal facility where they can basically fulfill their greatest fantasies. Most people assume that means sex—and on an occasion it does, because that is a lot of people’s fantasies—but it’s basically scenarios. They can basically reenact scenarios of romance, adventure or anything perfectly, because they become the person that you want them to be—they become that person. They don’t act like that person, they are not a robot pretending, they become that person, and then they forget all about it. The problem is the character of Echo, Eliza Dushku’s character, stops forgetting. She doesn’t completely remember, but she does realize she is a person, and that she might have been a person before she did this, and she doesn’t know what that is.

Do you feel like this is a very different role for Eliza, or are there some commonalities with her Buffy or Tru Calling roles ?

Every now and then she will be called upon to kick ass because one of the many personalities she can get downloaded with is sort of a Femme Nikita—she can be the best of whatever she does, and that includes sweat work—and whatever she is hired for and she isn’t harmed, and the company isn’t exposed, they don’t really care what it is. Some of her jobs are sweet and uplifting, but yeah, sometimes she’ll be a sweet girl, others she will be that down-home Eliza thing—go Sox—and sometimes she will be completely elegant, completely naive, completely helpless. She could be a neuroscientist, she could be ballroom dancing, she could be doing absolutely anything.

The thing about Eliza is that she has a lot of colors to play like most good actresses, but Eliza has kinda gotten pigeonholed. I see those big eyes, and I see the innocence they can play, the decency that is in them and the way that we can refer, and that isn’t just hey, I’m the tough girl. There’s much more there.

Why the decision to return to television now ? Do you feel like you are finally ready to dig back in ?

I have to say, when they told me seven, part of me was like tired, scared...basically because I haven’t been in that world, and I have children, and I don’t like to not be around them, which is problematic. But the fact is, it was also somebody saying we trust that you can tell this story, and we love this story, so go and tell it. That’s a damn boat of confidence. That’s a grown-up license fee, it was a big commitment, and they weren’t afraid at any point. My experience with the movies hasn’t gone quite as well. It isn’t terrible to hear yes, instead of the other thing.

In terms of TV, I have tried to be very clear that there’s nothing about TV that I don’t love. I mean, I’ve always loved movies, and I still want to make movies—movies are cool, but TV has things that movies never have. The ability to really just delve into something and take it apart endlessly, which I adore. It’s very organic.

I went home to my wife, and we’ve been talking about doing lower-budget movies and not being beholden by these tent-pole things that I couldn’t get off the ground, and I said, "Honey, I accidentally created this Fox show," and she said great. She completely got it because it was completely organic. It was the next thing—you couldn’t deny it. When an idea comes that fast and that fully, you don’t ever say no.

The bathroom trip that changed Joss Whedon’s life.

[Laughs.] I hate to say it, but occasionally there have been some inspirational bathroom trips. Or if I am at a restaurant with the writers, and they go, and when they come back and have figured it out. I think it’s just getting a moment to yourself. Though, we have to stress it’s not the act of going to the bathroom...that’s not good ! That’s not what it is.

I wanted to ask about the timing of this. This is being announced a day or two before the writers’ strike. How will this affect the show ?

All of this happened before the strike. They had to make my deal, and you can’t say anything until the deal is done. Eliza has been sitting on this for a month, and it all happened in a week. We had lunch, and a few days later I wrote a treatment, and then I wrote an episode guide, a pilot outline and even a poster. I Photoshopped a poster one night. A couple days after that I went to Fox, and a couple days later they gave us the seven. Eliza and I were dying to get onto the Internet or do something, and everyone was like, there’s no deal yet so you can’t say anything. So...now, when they finally close the deal, there is no more writing involved.

Wait, what ? You mean all seven scripts have been written ?

No, no—are you kidding ? I didn’t spend that much time in the bathroom. All seven scripts have been pitched, all stories have been pitched.

So, if the strike were to take place, it would delay the project...

This would delay everything. This is certainly no exception to anything. The strike has to happen. I wish it didn’t, but it has to, and it has to go on for as long as it has to. When that is done, this will start and a few months after that, we will be filming. If there were no strike, we would be looking at something like February.

So, you support the strike ?

I will be busy picketing. I support the guild, and I think what we are doing is unfortunate, but necessary. And that means I don’t get to have my fun, but that isn’t the point. It is classic for me, by the way, to be going, "Yes ! New show ! With Eliza !" But...Strike.

This will give your fans a light at the end of the tunnel in the event of a strike.

If they feel they are getting comfortable with their routine of reality television, let them know about this. It’s going to be really cool. It is freaking nuts to be doing a show with Eliza, but it just feels great.

Do you think any Buffy people might come on the show, or do you think you are going to try to separate ?

I think it’s important to separate, but if you have somebody who can do the job, that is the person you should hire. When it comes to the first flush, I think it’s important to be a step forward, and not a reunion. We aren’t playing games. I never rule anybody out, but my first instinct is to try out new people because it is me and Eliza.

I have to tell you this is like Christmas for Buffy fans. They have been waiting for you to come back to television—so, we have this news tonight, and we have your Office episode tomorrow night...it’s like this perfect storm of a Whedonverse holiday.

If it was six more things, it would be Hanukkah. I’ll work on that.

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