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From Msn.com


Joss Whedon at Peace with "Serenity" - Msn.com Article

Friday 23 September 2005, by Webmaster

When speaking to "Serenity" writer and director Joss Whedon, it’s important to note that he prefers the moniker "nerd lama" to "geek guru." That’s Whedon’s witty sense of humor to a T. His talent for writing memorable characters became evident with the TV hits "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and its spin-off "Angel." Surprisingly, Whedon’s luck ran out when his sci-fi western "Firefly" was cancelled after only 11 of the first 15 episodes aired on Fox. But it was the show’s rabid fans that helped convince Universal to back a feature version of the show, "Serenity," that is finally hitting theaters this month.

"The more time I spend with the fans, the more I realize that in some ways they are much more well-adjusted and much more attractive than I am," Whedon says. "And the fan base really includes a lot of people who would not consider themselves geeks or even sci-fi fans necessarily."

With the fans blogging and e-mailing like crazy, Whedon spent months keeping his cast up-to-date on every bit of news as the project headed to the big screen. For Gina Torres, who plays Zoe, it was hard to believe they were actually making a movie back on the "Firefly" sets.

"You just don’t think that you’re ever going to see these characters again, except maybe late at three o’clock in the morning on the Sci-Fi channel," the star of the two "The Matrix" sequels says. "It was a wonderful thing and it was quite miraculous, because this just isn’t supposed to happen."

Nathan Fillion, who plays the ship’s captain, Mal, says it was three weeks into shooting before he "could stop believing it wasn’t going to be taken away from us."

Whedon knew when the characters returned it would have to be in a story that was accessible and entertaining for an audience who had never watched "Firefly."

"I worked for a long time to come up with something epic enough to be a Universal movie and not just a glorified episode of ’Firefly,’" Whedon says. "I wanted to make a movie that made me feel or made people feel the way I felt the first time I saw the first ’Star Wars.’ I wanted to be really involved in something very exciting, but not just another big summer ride, because I have had enough of those."

As legions of fans anxiously await their chance to help the film’s box office total reach the magic number needed to spawn a sequel (there is no official deal yet), I ask Whedon if he has any ideas for a second installment.

"It would be incredibly presumptuous of me to ever think about a story for a sequel ... and yes," Whedon says, laughing. "I have some ideas. That is how the brain works. But first I have to get people to see the first one. So, most of my energy has been in trying to make that good enough so there could be a sequel."

After experiencing the passion of these fans first hand, I pity the Universal exec that decides not to green-light "Serenity 2."

"Serenity" opens nationwide Sept. 30.