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Joss Whedon - "Serenity" Movie - Moviesonline.ca Interview

Friday 2 December 2005, by Webmaster

Hey folks! Your pal and mine Dude here again, with yet another fabulous interview with someone far more interesting than I am. Today’s victim? I mean subject? Joss Whedon. THE Joss Whedon. You know him, you love him, you bow down before everything he does and everything he will do. Well, that’s just me.

Joss Whedon, Oscar and Emmy nominated writer/director, is celebrating the release of his feature film Serenity on DVD December 20th. (I reviewed the film with the highest marks allowed. It’s a fantastic movie, and I highly recommend it). He took some time out of his hectic schedule to speak with me. I must admit, after a few awkward moments of dork fan boy adoration (Hand to God, I actually complimented him by telling him "You have a good height"), I finally composed myself and asked some questions. It’s not every day you get to interview one of the people you view as an inspiration, especially when you have thousands of questions and only ten minutes to ask them. But I did ask, and here are his responses.

(SPOILER WARNING: Some of my questions involve specifics of the storyline of Serenity. If you have not seen the film, I would recommend skipping over the spoiler question, for it ruin your enjoyment of the film, which you should see immediately. I did however, censor a bit of it, to make vague allusions without completely spoiling everything in case you read it anyway).

The Dude: Congrats on the enormous success. The $247 million domestic haul, not to mention how happy you must be with Nathan Fillion (Star of Serenity and Firefly) being named People’s Sexiest Man Alive.

Joss Whedon: No, that was me.

The Dude: That was you! Of course. I’m an idiot. In all seriousness, I loved the movie. I thought it was great, the best movie I’ve seen all year... Why doesn’t the rest of the world agree with me?

Joss Whedon: I don’t think they disagree with you. It wasn’t a horrible bomb. Yes it did struggle. It’s a question of how do you market a film that doesn’t have any stars. Or a film that’s just not one thing, that is generally diverse. Ultimately, I’m enormously surprised that people came out and saw it. That’s what matters.

The Dude: I’m not trying to paint a negative picture, here, sorry.

Joss Whedon: Believe me, there’s negativity. I wanted it to be a huge hit. Endless sequels, and everyone in it becomes famous. But first and foremost, I wanted to make a great movie. And I think I did that.

The Dude: You did. I have to ask the inevitable, is the fate of Serenity sealed? Are there going to be more adventures?

Joss Whedon: The DVD sales will have a lot to do with that.

The Dude: It will? Ok, I’m gonna plug it here. So everyone will go out and buy multiple copies of it. (Remember, they make great holiday presents!)

Joss Whedon: Thanks. I would love to make another. I am very proud of the movie.

The Dude: I’m very proud of the movie as well, don’t ask me how. I have to ask some Firefly questions. Are we EVER going to learn Book’s backstory?

Joss Whedon: Well, you know, on the off chance that your plug causes there to be a sequel... (Laughter all around). Perhaps one day I’ll tell it.

The Dude: You also have to bring back Jubal Early, man. (Jubal Early was the bounty hunter on the final Firefly episode entitled "Objects in Space," which Whedon wrote and directed, and which I had watched the previous evening. Jubal Early was played by Richard Brooks ). Joss Whedon: I know! Especially because I love that character.

The Dude: It would be fitting if he survived that.

Joss Whedon: Oh, I know he survived.

The Dude: A question for you about the DVD release of Serenity (Available December 20th at fine retailers everywhere!). Is there going to be a 2nd, special edition "Joss cut" of the film that’s going to be released and I’m going to spend more money on?

Joss Whedon: No, there’s not going to be a special "Joss cut" of the film. the "Joss cut" was the film that was recently available in theaters. I feel if you cut out a scene or change things to make it a better movie, then it’s going to be a better movie. So there’s not going to be an "unrated" cut of the film...

The Dude: With more hot Jayne action!

Joss Whedon: I’ve been watching a lot of those lately, and they’re inevitably not as good. Or even, you know, the alternate ending is not as good. Like, there’s a reason these films end the way they do. I believe in the story so hard it would never occur to me, unless I set out from the beginning, to try and tell the story two ways. I don’t think it does a service to the story. (pause) Ok, here’s what I really think...

(At this point, Cingular once again provided the greatest possible service to it’s customers, and cut me off from Joss, thus allowing much confusion and denying us all what Joss really thinks. Thanks a lot Cingular! CinguJERKS).

The Dude: Alright. I have to ask what every fan is wondering. Why (DECEASED CHARACTER), man?

Joss Whedon: Why not? It had to be somebody.

The Dude: It had to be (CHARACTER)

Joss Whedon: Not the person you expect. Not the person that’s so close to Mal that wouldn’t feel like any kind of a victory. There are a lot of reasons. But ultimately... because it hurt.

The Dude: You’re sick, man. I love you, but you’re sick.

Joss Whedon: Yeah a little bit. (Laughter) If you want to be a storyteller, you don;t necessarily have to be a good person. You can be a good person in your life, but for storytelling....

The Dude: That’s true. It did hurt. A lot. How did (THE ACTOR WHO PORTRAYED THE DECEASED CHARACTER) take it?

Joss Whedon: He/She was the only person it didn’t bother. It ultimately made him/her laugh out loud. He/she kept saying "How come my script ends on page 100, while everyone else’s seems longer?" And I’d say "no, no. That’s it. That’s all there is." And he/she would say "Oh, O.K.!). He/She thought it was very cool. A big character death is great for an actor. James Cagney once said of Walter Houston, when he wouldn’t do a part, "Give him the death scene. He’ll do it. " And it’s one of his best scenes. So, ultimately, we’re not making nineteen more films, and (MY ACTOR) was happy with the death. Even if we WERE making nineteen more movies, they’d be just as happy. He/she is the kind of actor that likes doing different things, not locked into one character. They’re telling me my time is up, so if you have a quick question...

The Dude: Any truth to the rumors about the direct to DVD Buffy films? (The premise being 2 hour films that focus on ONE main character each from the gang, as is best to my understanding).

Joss Whedon: I don’t know if there’s any truth yet. I’m trying to find that out myself. That I can not answer. Ummm...ahhh...uhhh..... (lots of stammering).

The Dude: I made you uncomfortable, I’m sorry.

Joss Whedon: NO! No, I’m just working on it, and....

The Dude: It could be a possible way to continue with Firefly.

Joss Whedon: Ummm....yeah.

The Dude: CAn I ask one more?

Joss Whedon: They told me you were done a question ago, but real quick...

The Dude: Going on the fact that your characters are always saying witty and clever things instantly, as opposed to the rest of us who come up with clever things about a half hour too late, I have to ask you this: Were you picked on a lot in high school?

Joss Whedon: Umm..picked on? (Drawn out) Yeah, but not particularly terribly. I just wasn’t paid attention to. Enough to satisfy me. Yes, all my characters speak that way, and I love them. And now, I gotta jet.

The Dude: Ok. So there you have it. Words from the master himself. As I said, I didn’t have too much time to ask him a lot of my questions, such as the fate of the Angel Puppet, more Firefly and Serenity questions, and if Summer Glau (River Tam in Serenity and Firefly) is single, and would go for a guy like me. (I’m cute, single, and Sagittarius). And I totally wanted to sing along with Joss on the Firefly theme song. i did manage to pitch him my idea for a Buffy spin-off, but I will not reveal it. If it does happen, though, I have it on tape!

Thanks again to Joss for his time, and all the good folks at Universal for allowing me a few minutes with one of my, dare I say, heroes.

Oh, and in case you weren’t aware, the Serenity movie is being released on DVD on December 20th, 2005, in stores everywhere. So buy yourself a copy, and why not get one for your Dad? I’m getting one for mine. He’s gonna love the flick. And so will you, if you haven’t seen it. Seriously, the movie is the most entertaining film you’re likely to see all year. Bette than any movie I saw all summer. All year, actually.