Homepage > Joss Whedon’s Tv Series > Firefly > News > USA Today Article mentions that 500,000 Firefly DVD’s have been (...)
FireflyUSA Today Article mentions that 500,000 Firefly DVD’s have been sold
By Anthony Breznican
Friday 23 September 2005, by Webmaster
’Firefly’ alights on big screen as ’Serenity’
Joss Whedon has abandonment issues.
The creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer made the hit TV series and popular spinoff Angel by resurrecting the premise from his screenplay for a little-seen 1992 movie. Now the writer/director is pulling another Lazarus act with Serenity, a movie out Sept. 30 based on the canceled TV sci-fi show Firefly.
Serenity takes place 500 years in the future when humans have fled Earth and colonized a distant solar system ruled by the dictatorial Alliance government. The rudimentary life on the ground depends on mining, livestock and gunplay, with nomadic heroes fighting for freedom on the frontier.
When Fox canceled Firefly in 2002 after airing 11 of the 14 produced episodes (and not always in the correct order), Whedon vowed to find the story a new home.
"I thought maybe another network or a miniseries," Whedon says. His actors had doubts, especially after every network, including the Sci-Fi Channel, said no.
Eventually, his crusade came to the attention of Universal Pictures. Mary Parent, the studio’s outgoing head of production, recognized Whedon’s following and saw the possibility of a franchise in Serenity, renamed after the spaceship the heroes fly.
Before talking sequels, "you have to make a good movie," Parent says. "But certainly it’s rare that you can make a film that transports you to another universe, that could have an afterlife, that can be made at this price."
The price was about $40 million, a modest amount for a sci-fi action epic. Whedon’s TV-honed ability to embrace budget restrictions was a major selling point, as was strong DVD sales of the TV show (500,000 to date).
"If you can find somebody as talented as Joss who also brings with him a fan base, that’s something you look long and hard at," says Stacey Snider, chairman of Universal Pictures. "We took a chance. There’s no net."
Serenity has at least one successful precedent. Paramount Pictures in 1988 made the Leslie Nielsen comedy The Naked Gun, based on the short-lived Police Squad TV show six years earlier. It spawned two sequels.
Universal has had early screenings for Firefly fans in hopes they will spread the word.
"I felt this was a story that had not been told," Whedon says. " I just needed somebody to believe as strongly as I did, and I found a giant corporation that did, which is the best person of all!"
Meet the crew
Introducing the“space cowboys” of Serenity, based on TV’s Firefly:
Character What makes him or her tick?
Malcolm Reynolds, captain of spaceship Serenity
Actor: Nathan Fillion, co-star of Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place.
Reynolds is a veteran of a failed rebellion against the galaxy’s oppressive Alliance government. Says Fillion, " He lost, and lost so hard that now he’s this incredibly angry man." When the Serenity picks up a young doctor and his sister, he inherits a secret that leads both enemy forces to his ship.
Universal Zoe Warren, first mate of Serenity
Actress: Gina Torres, The Matrix sequels and Alias.
Zoe is a fierce fighter and loyal second in command. Her tough exterior evaporates around her husband, Wash, the pilot of the ship - who is as nervous as she is strong. "She’s very matriarchal," Torres says. "Zoe’s the mom keeping it all together."
Hoban ’Wash’ Washburne, pilot
Actor: Alan Tudyk, co-star of I, Robot, currently in Broadway’s Spamalot!
Wash is the sci-fi version of a stay-at-home dad. "He makes her laugh," Tudyk says of his character’s relationship with Zoe. "It’s always (Zoe) packed down with weapons and ammunition and (Wash) saying, ’OK, honey, have a good day at work.’
River Tam, passenger
Actress: Summer Glau, a ballerina.
Tam is a fugitive from an Alliance testing facility after being rescued by her doctor brother. On the Serenity, her psychic and physical powers isolate her. "She is the child in a dysfunctional family on the ship," Glau says. "Her brother loves her so much, but sometimes there are certain things he can’t understand.
Simon Tam, passenger
Actor: Sean Maher, TV’s Ryan Caulfield: Year One.
After abandoning the upper-class life of a doctor, Simon has only one goal - to protect his sister - which often leads him to clash with the Serenity crew. "Simon’s almost naive in a sense," Maher says. "They live in a world where people have to be selfish and fight for themselves. In that regard, he’s toughened up by the crew."
Inara Serra, a professional ’Companion’
Actress: Morena Baccarin, Roger Dodger.
Baccarin describes her as a futuristic geisha, a courtesan for whom sex is only one tool in her trade. "She’s the nurturer, and the heart of the crew," Baccarin says. "They call her an ambassador. She bridges the gap between worlds."
Shepherd Book, preacher and former Serenity passenger
Actor: Ron Glass, Detective Harris on Barney Miller.
In Serenity’s world, the title "shepherd" is equivalent to "father" when referring to clergy. Book is Serenity’s wise man, who is setting off to form his own community, and perhaps leave behind a complicated past. " He’s the conscience of the ship who will also kick your butt," Glass says.
Kaylee Frye, mechanic
Actress: Jewel Staite, co-star of TV’s Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.
She’s the grease-monkey mechanic of the battered transport ship. " She’s the one character on the ship that everybody trusts," Staite says. "But her naive, sweet farm-girl spiel is not the entire truth." Kaylee is aggressively sexual - and has strong unrequited feelings for Dr. Tam.
Jayne Cobb, mercenary
Actor: Adam Baldwin, Full Metal Jacket.
"There’s a definite Boy-named-Sue bitterness emanating from Jayne. You don’t cross him, you don’t trust him. But you want him on your side in a fight," says Baldwin. Jayne is angry that the captain has taken in the Tam fugitives and could be as much as a menace to them as the Alliance.