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Joss Whedon - "Serenity" Movie - Hamburg Press Junket - Fan Report Part 2

By Roadi

Tuesday 18 October 2005, by Webmaster

We remember part 1, the group-interview started, one journalist left, because he was in the wrong group, I wished, they all were in the wrong group, so that I could do the interview alone, I was very nervous. Temporarily, I didn’t dare to gulp, because I thought it could interrupt the interview or it could disturb the dictating-machines. I rustled a lot with my notes and while I was preparing my first question, Joss deked (it looked like he was gonna let someone else ask the next question.) and shot me with a "GO!"

Q.: Uhm.. about the music...

JW: I shouldn’t be the only one, who is scared.

I show him my "nervous t-shirt": I’m pretty damn... nervous.

JW: Oh way, [laughs] wow, I didn’t know, you actually have a shirt that would reply to what I was saying.

Q.: You set high value on the music, you made a 5-page music description for the movie and I think the first composer got.... [stammer, stutter...]

JW: Yes, he got, I think the word you are searching for is "the boot"! Yes, I was working with Carter Burwell and I was very sad, it was not a good match. I met Carter Burwell on the "Buffy"-movie, and I XXX preveared him ever since "blood simple" and he has done a dozen indelible scores including every Coen brothers movie, and we have always talked about working together. And he came on... he has a mixture of Americana and sort of off-beat stuff and I thought, it would work out really well, but he has a specific way of doing things, that is.... he kind of... he draws you into this hypnotic space and keeps you there. It is a modern kind of scoring in sort of the Hans Zimmer way, but much more his creation, very much more his own. And unfortunately I found out, after Carter was working for a while, it was really tough, and we sort of end up butting heads, but there was a dissonance and I realized, I needed an old-school score. I needed a John Williams score in the sense of hitting the moments in a very specific way and really playing to them so hard, without being obvious about it. You know, the new style of the score really is kind of the Hans Zimmer sort. Just, here is 10 minutes of emotion. You could actually put it anywhere in the movie, it is gonna make you feel. If it is a sad scene, you feel sad, if it is an action scene, you feel... you just huuaah... comes the emotion. But, you know, the old school: ok, this is a quiet moment and then here is the entrance and here is the theme of this person... I needed something more like that. And so, when Carter and I realized, ok, this is not a (not sure, if I understood everything right) sympathizer on this film, the music people were like, well, you have got to talk to David Newman! David Newman has scored like 80 films, his brother Thomas is obviously very famous, his father Alfred is obviously very famous. But David has been working for a long while and he is a classical composer and a conductor and a violinist and the thing about David is, he has been scoring so many movies and so many different vernaculars, he can do anything. And he can do it really fast, which became necessary, so, uhm, cause I was looking for... I had this 5-page memo and the mixed-tape... that was just as ridiculous as, you know, you can imagine. And David is this kind of person, who could just incorporate all of that and come to where you are. As opposed to Carter, you go to work harder at him, and I don’t say that as a dis. I think he is one of the remarkable composers I have ever heard. But he makes that part of the movie his. I needed David sort of come over, where I was. Which was, a score that was sort of hidden, but manipulative, old-fashioned but kind of newly orchestrated. I need a lot of things, all at once and David is the guy for that. I can answer the long version of that answer too.

Q.: When you start writing the characters, how do you have them in your head? Is it like you create them like a full image, he will look like this and he will talk like that and he will sort of have this outfit? Is it more, that you have a visual character in your head, when you start writin? [ Joss exhales.] And the other point is, do you really know, how it ends, when you start writing an episode for example.

JW: Uhm, I’ll answer the second part first, cause I am crazy that way. I absolutely know the end, I can’t write a word - there a a couple of exceptions - but I can’t write a word, until I know exactly where I’m heading. Because that word might get me there. I can’t, you know, I’m not gonna write a sprawling novel about one family’s journey through the wilderness, because I don’t know, what is waiting on the other side. I’m a structure guy (I think somethink like "guy" or "freak", I couldn’t understand it clearly. Maybe, I should check my ears.), I not only make outlines, I make charts and graphs about who is in what scene and what do we know and what do they know and when do they match and when is it funny and when it is exciting. With lots of colors, it is really like cool actually. And you know, because if I don’t know these things, then I’m almost paralyzed. And the work will not be as good. When I am creating a character, I’ll have a look in mind, not a person. I never write... well, obviously, I wrote "Serenity" with particular actors in mind, because of "Firefly". God, that made it a lot of easier, but generally speaking, I need an idea of the person, I need a look, you know, an outfit and I need a name. That’s a really big problem for me, because coming up with names is really hard and names are increadibly important and I’ve literally been like blocked for three days, because I couldn’t come up with a name. The worst example of that was the Operative. Where I worked forever to come up with this name - finally came up with a name I liked not very well. And uhm, everytime he has told somebody his name, I found it been [...] like chopped in there. I finally realized, I couldn’t think of this guy’s name, because HE DOESN’T HAVE ONE! And I had lost like four days of writing, literally, unable to write, because I didn’t know the guy’s name. It is very important to me. It tells me so much about the men, which is good, because that means, it usually tells the audience something about them as well. They did ask me, while I did the series, to change Jayne’s name. Because they said, it confuses people, but then I didn’t. Maybe that is why they cancelled it.

Well, now who? You?

[a lot of noise, so the following lines aren’t exact, but the meaning is right.]

Reporter.: Him.

Q.: First of all many thanks, being here is a great honour for all of us. I think we are probably all nerds, as well.

JW: Oh, excellent, I can relax and take off my booga mask. [He takes off an imaginary mask]