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April 13 2006

Chiwetel Ejiofor talks to IGN. He discusses his new sci-fi film, "Children of Men," and offers his thoughts on a "Serenity" sequel.

IGN makes a tantalizing reference to "continuously strong DVD sales" re "Serenity" that is nice to see.

Joss being compared to Tolkien?

I dig.

And Children of Men sounds fantastic.
There's that kind of Tolkien universal knowledge of every raindrop that falls.

Great line! Tis poetry.
Now Joss can have a Family Guy moment. "Hey remember that one time I was compared to Tolkien." Cue flashback.
So, is there anyone who's ever worked for Joss who just hates him? Or even fails to sing his praises?
Do we have any recent updates on how the Serenity DVD are doing?

[ edited by Le Comité on 2006-04-14 09:14 ]
Le Comite, Serenity's at No. 19 in Amazon UK's sales and 32 in the US (it's fallen off the top 40 on Play though, interestingly, Firefly is still in there swinging at No. 25). As usual, it's all very murky how these rankings translate to actual sales since the studio's keep the numbers pretty secret.

So, is there anyone who's ever worked for Joss who just hates him? Or even fails to sing his praises?

Not that i've ever seen though it's probably unwise to publicly disparage someone that could make your professional life awkward at some point in the future (not to mention bad manners).

In other words, it would seem the facade of professional competence, sincerity, compassion and wit is holding but I yearn for the mask to drop and the evil genius beneath to be unveiled. His minions grow impatient (personally i'm pretty keen to hold the world in the palm of my hand and crush the life from it but I don't know if Joss called dibs on that).
Wow. What a great guy! Love him! I saw Inside Man, and I thought he did a great job! :)

I'm going to say something that is not a direct criticism of Chiwetel, but the state of affairs in Hollywood in general. The following rant is based on countless interviews I've seen and read on the Internet, but more importantly, it's based on all the bonus-stuff you get on DVDs: "making of"-documentaries, interviews, audio commentaries, etc.


About the Ejiofor-interview, it's about 50% gushing, 50% information. It's not as bad as most actor-interviews where there's roughly 98% gushing and 2% information, but still. Am I the only one tired of reading how "great", "fabulous", "terrific" and "amazing" everyone is? Can't you just say "I really enjoy working with these people" and leave it at that? Does every actor/director/costume designer/make-up-artist/CGI-guy have to spend the better part of their interview gushing and praising their colleagues? If you take away all the gushing from the bonus material in the 12-disc box set of the Lord of the Rings, you're left with about 5 minutes of useful information. (of which Elijah Wood wouldn't get a second!)

The LOTR-thing not the only example (far from it), but it's one of the better. It's not that I resent people being nice and complimenting each other, it's just that it doesn't make for very interesting interviews. Quite frankly, I don't care if people got along and loved each other, as much as I care ***why*** (or why not?). Also, there are some of us who actually like to learn more about the process that goes into making a particular feature or television series, and not just how all actors "became a family" and "ate doughnuts together". Don't get me wrong, I too get a tingly feeling and a tear in my eye every time I see Nathan hugging Jewel in the Firefly-bonus material, but that's sweet, and it's a nice story to tell, because it showed how a working friendship manifested on screen. The thing I'm criticising is the superficial, mindless droning on about how perfect everyone is in their job.

*puts grouchy-stick back on mantle*


Go Chiwetel!! :) (And his name isn't hard to pronounce at all, once you know how :P Chew-it-tell, Edge-oh-for. Come on, everybody, let's say it!)

edit: I loved the way Joss handled this issue on the Serenity-audio commentary. He said something like "I could talk about these beautiful, talented people all day, but then there wouldn't be much time to talk about anything else, so I'm just not going to do it." (or something. It's been a while since I listened to his commentary)

[ edited by [wcip]Angel on 2006-04-14 11:15 ]
This post is in two halves. There will be a 5 minute break in the middle for tea and crackers.

Serenity sales

Well, although Firefly is still quite high in the main online stores sale charts, it hasn't been on the retail charts for well over a year. So it's very difficult to judge how well the sales are doing overall.

I don't think Serenity exploded on DVD. If it had, there would be talk of a sequel. That said, people are discovering it over time still -- over 12000 new people landed at from the link on last month -- which equates to sales, and quite possibly sales of other licensed goods (books, tshirts etc).

I don't actually think Universal felt as badly about Serenity's performance as some think. I don't think it'll ever be a main stream, massive Star Wars franchise. But there's a market there, somewhere, for that film.

How I Met Your Chiwetel - the story.

Here's how it was: I'd been told where the Serenity gang were hanging out, to go to the press junket. I found the hotel, got very lost, found the lift to the floor I wanted... and in the lift, who walks in? Chiwetel. Ah. Now, you see, I'd only seen him as The Operative at the time. I was kinda scared. However, as soon as he smiled, I realised it wasn't actually somebody with a sword preparing to keel me.
Saje, I am with you. Enough already with this niceness. We all know he's a genius. It is time for the word "Evil" to be put in front.

I don't actually think Universal felt as badly about Serenity's performance as some think. I don't think it'll ever be a main stream, massive Star Wars franchise. But there's a market there, somewhere, for that film.

That's a fair assessment. I think that if any of the Serenity crew becomes all famous a sequel would be more likely, ala Pitch Black.
I agree about the gushing interviews and DVD featurettes, [wcip]Angel. I read a review of the Flight Plan DVD recently, and although I haven't seen the film or the DVD I could immediately recognise what the reviewer was talking about when he said the only thing he learned from the bonus features was that "everyone involved was extremely good at their jobs".

I have also noticed something that really annoys me, every time an actor has a new film out they will rant about how it is the best thing they've ever done or the nicest people they've worked with, and it makes me think- but you said that about your last film, and the film before that, so if the "best time of your life" is so easily surpassed then it couldn't have been that great to start off with.

Of course it's just an attempt to get publicity and hype up their work, but I appreciate people like Joss who can actually talk candidly about their work and evaluate it honestly. Like how Alien Resurrection was a nightmare, or that he is proud of Buffy but it wasn't always a completely enjoyable, fantasy dream to work on. However I think in his shows there has always been a nice, genuine sense of respect and professionalism, and I don't think it's anywhere near as fake as the happiness professed by the ultra rich, over-botoxed celebrities on Hollywood's A-List.

I still have my fingers crossed for some future continuation of Firefly. I think that what the crew have achieved already has been astounding and I know Joss said he isn't going to fight just as hard as he did for Serenity, but the fact that these people have been through so much and gained so much creative success means that they won't give up the fight now.
Although Joss has said things that could be interpreted to imply otherwise, aside from hoping for more Serenifly, I'm also hoping for more of the Operative, perhaps in Angel-esque/Book-esque redemption mode, somewhere down the line.
I think that if any of the Serenity crew becomes all famous a sequel would be more likely, ala Pitch Black.

Ah, that gives me hope and apprehension at the same time. Both Pitch Black and Chronicles of Riddick were good B movies (And the latter with AtS, LoTR, MI, and Bond alumni...) but they were radically different movies--an 'Alien' archetype and a 'Conan, but in space' archetype.

I don't want me a radically different archetype for a Serenity II.

Well, unless that's what Joss wants, of course.

[ edited by jclemens on 2006-04-14 19:26 ]
I really enjoyed the leap from Pitch Black to Riddick in terms of scope. It was unexpected to say the least. But I feel like we already experienced that in this universe when we leapt from Firefly to Serenity.
We can leap back. It's not like we wouldn't positively *love* going back to Firefly. Forward or backwards, we need just 1 leap! :) Just some indication that this is going somewhere...

Razor thank you for complimenting and complementing my previous post :) I totally agree with what you said.

Razor is so great to work with on these types of projects because he's so smart and articulate and AMAZING! This has been the best online cooperation ever, and I feel like we've bonded. We're almost like a family now.
Funny memory: at Serenity 2 (the convention, not the film - sorry). My friend, Kirsty, walks up to the mic and asks the actress who played YoSaf about a fellow castmember on another show she worked with. "Yeah, she was a bitch" follow by a big long rant. I loved that. It was the poor girls first convention I believe, so she probably said more than she should have, but it was insightful and -- frankly -- human stuff.

Of course, then somebody asked Jonathan Woodward about his part in Angel Season 5. Don't ask that question. He was a little too honest. Although he did look, you know, drunk at the time (I seem to recall he fell off stage during that talk).
bobster, gotta agree -- after first seeing Serenity, I thought it would be great to see The Operative aboard the ship with our crew in some future tale. Tension, what?

gossi, without getting too into gossip mode, can I ask what Woodward's too-honest thoughts on Angel Season 5 were? Or where we could find out for ourselves?
Jewel mentioned at the Serenity convention in Belfast that the first time she and Morena met, they walked up to each other and said "Fuck you" and became instant best friends. And they enjoy trying to trip each other up and make each other laugh. It was so hilarious hearing this from Jewel, when you expect her to be just as innocent as Kaylee. Still a lovely, intelligent woman though.

And [wcip]Angel, I'd just like to thank you for your amazing professionalism and the high degree of collaboration between us- it ranks among my best work and I doubt I'll ever do better. Until my next post comes along at least ;)
Ramble --

It's hard to imagine the Op becoming an actual crewmember (Mal does threaten to kill him...though he kind of does that a lot) but I'd be actually be happy to see The Operative off on his own, perhaps coming into conflict with the crew but from more of a good guy place than a bad-guy place or even as the focus of a spin-off of some sort.
Cuaron's Harry Potter movie, Prisoner of Azkaban, is still my favorite of the series, though I really liked the last one, too. This is the first I've heard of Children of Men. Sounds interesting.
RambleOn, Starfury sell a DVD of the convention I think so it's probably on there somewhere. But, basically, he thought his part in Angel season 5 was crap. Which, from his point of view, he probably has a point.
"Serenity" *does* need a pilot. I'm sure The Operative, with all his extensive training 'n stuff, can pilot a Firefly.

Still, forgiving him for killing Book? I don't see that happening any time soon, unless he saved everyone's life or something. (Which he sort of did when he called off the attack at the end of Serenity...)

Razor: I seriously need a laughing-emoticon for your reply :)

[ edited by [wcip]Angel on 2006-04-14 23:43 ]
Oh, I could handle more Operative when the stories continue.

Some of the fakey-niceness gets old. But the Tolkien comparison is a little too eloquent to fall into that category. How sweeeet!

It's part of the job, though. This is unrelated, yet not. The other morning on my favorite radio show, the DJs were annoyed that certain university athletes at a prestigious university were all upbeat while speaking publicly the night before. The morning show DJs felt they were all fake as anything because they did not comment on a scandal regarding fellow student athletes (on a different team). However, I was in total disagreement with the DJs because it wasn't the time or place for them to comment, and it would have been inappropriate. If actors want to keep working, they have to "play the game" too, so to speak. As much as I love candid responses, I can't tell a potential employer "My current boss sucks!" (just an example), because that potential employer will think, "Gee, what will she say when she doesn't like...?" Additionally, I imagine a large part of the gushing is true, because they tend to be passionate folks. "YoSaf" probably meant every word she said. And she probably wished later she hadn't said it. I soooo wish I could be that candid at work!!! But I can't and most others can't/won't either.

But yes. DVD extras that are little more than gushing 'bout all the love get old fast. Balance it with real info. and it's a fair trade.
Straying even further off topic:
Tip, if you want a GREAT DVD-extra, check out the 3-disc version of Gladiator. I was so floored by some of those guys. They were *really* interesting to listen to, and although they praised others' work, it was sensible and logical and they explained WHY their work was so good and how it affected them and the finished product.

Also, the movie's not bad either ;)

That being said, there is no better audio commentator than Whedon himself. :)

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