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FireflyThe Firefly Episode Guide, Part IV
Wednesday 10 December 2003
Behind the Scenes with Joss Whedon and Tim Minear, by Edward Gross
“OUR MRS. REYNOLDS” Official DVD Summary: After a celebration in which the crew is honored for ridding a planet of a group of bandits, they return to Serenity to find a woman named Saffron who claims that Mal married her during the festivities.
JOSS WHEDON Q&A
JOSS WHEDON: This was a really interesting one for me. I just never had a writing experience like that before. I literally wrote stuff down, looked at it and said, “Where did that come from?” I just couldn’t stop writing.
CFQ: You mean that it sort of wrote itself.
JOSS WHEDON: Yeah, it did, and I’ve never said that about anything. When Mal starts talking to Saffron about his life, I didn’t know any of that stuff; I hadn’t planned out any of that stuff and didn’t know where I was going with it. I read it and I said, “Where did that come from and why is he talking so much? Oh, because she’s one of those people who make people talk so much.” And then Wash does the same thing and you realize she’s one of those people that gets you to open up and kind of sets you against everybody else. The amount of fun I had writing that just could not be greater. And that was a tough shoot.
CFQ: What made that particularly tough? What I mean is that it doesn’t seem any bigger than most of the episodes.
JOSS WHEDON: That would be me and the director not seeing eye to eye. The actors were so completely in the pocket; they were all so funny and knew exactly what they needed to do. Morena, after she’s been drugged, is maybe the funniest thing we ever did on that show. Just adorable. It came together so nicely. The original mission statement of the show was have nine people so you can throw a pebble in the pond and that’s your show. You don’t need a giant big guest star or an explosion monster. You can just do one thing and then have the show be everyone reacting to it. That show demonstrated that so well.
CFQ: As a writer, I would imagine that with a scene like the Mal one you discussed a minute ago, it has got to be a great feeling to have a creation come to life in that way.
JOSS WHEDON: It is literally one of the two or three best experiences I’ve ever had as a writer. That just doesn’t happen. I plan things out very carefully and I had my act structure, but apart from that I didn’t really have an outline for this. They just kept talking until it was time to stop. Actually until it was about 10 minutes over the time to stop.
TIM MINEAR: Joss wrote that and I thought it was one of the best scripts he’d written in a long time, which is saying something. It was just so funny and such a great twist. I really thought it was terrific because he captured the personalities of the whole crew. He took this character of Saffron and she was basically a pebble cast upon the water and she caused all of these ripples. It was a great way to get to know who these people were, and a lot of it took place in space, which I thought was great, on the ship, because in a show like this the ship more or less becomes one of the characters.
“JAYNESTOWN” Official DVD Summary: When the crew returns to a planet where Jayne participated in a heist gone bad, they’re shocked to discover that Jayne’s past actions have turned him into a local hero of Robin Hood-like mythic proportions.
JOSS WHEDON: This was one of the first times we began to realize what a force we had with Ben Edlund, who pitched the idea. Very few ideas are actually pitched to me. I tend to come up with them myself or in concert with Tim or Marti Noxon or David Greenwalt. Or I tend to come in with at least some idea of, “You know, I think we need to feel scared. I want the insecurity of....” It’s usually a process of developing the idea from something I’ve pitched out. On Firefly we were hearing pitches and would have had more opportunities to do stuff that came directly from the writers. But Ben is one of those guys who comes up with ideas - and he’s doing it on Angel, too - where you just go, “Uh, yes. Okay, I’ll just be here, go ahead.” By the way he wrote a hilarious script and a really nice song. I really love that show and Adam wasn’t exactly unhappy either. For some reason he felt good about the episode. He’s an amazing character and to get underneath without sort of lying, without saying he’s the sweetest thing that ever lived. He’s basically somebody who’s decent enough to be frustrated at the fact that people think he’s more decent than he is. That, to me, is a fun character.
TIM MINEAR: We had interviewed a bunch of writers at the beginning of the year. Ben came in. He had created The Tick and now he’s on Angel. So he came in, pitched a bunch of ideas that weren’t actually right for the show, but I knew immediately that we should hire this guy. He was really funny and really smart and I just thought, “Okay, this guy’s perfect for Firefly.” And it turns out I was right. He came up with the idea for that episode, but it’s not that often actually that somebody just comes up with a right idea for an episode of the show. Usually it’s Joss who comes up with the basic idea, but I remember that Ben had come up with the idea of Jayne as Robin Hood, basically, or a Robin Hood that didn’t mean to be Robin Hood. And then there was the whole idea that there were mud farmers - everything about it was just perfect. You know, when Firefly got cancelled, I said, “Ben, you have to come to Angel with me,” which I wish I hadn’t done because I wish I’d brought him over to Wonderfalls. Posted on Thursday, December 04 @ 06:00:00 CST by seanjordan