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March 04 2007

Joel Silver Comments At Wonder Con About Joss's Exit From Wonder Woman. Joel Silver was put on the hot seat by an angry Whedon fan at a Wonder Con panel.

It was at the panel for,"The Reaping." Scroll down a couple of paragraphs to read his response.

Joss tried. Yeah he did and I'm sure without knowing what one word of that script blew away anything they will come out with without him. Purge and move on. NO interest in Wonder Woman now at all.
They just let the Wonder of Wonder Woman walk away. Their loss.
Talk about answering without answering.

"It wasn't Joss' fault... Joss tried, but it just didn't work."

I want to know why it "didn't work."
Ugh, what a pathetic response. Joel has definitely dropped a couple of pegs in my book because of this.
I agree with cheryl .... no interest at all in WW without Joss. But in spite of the wasted time, I'm happy with the fact that Joss is obviously still putting his artistic integrity before all else. Same with the failed BtS spin-off TV movies, although that one is still a bitter pill.
I'm wondering if Warner Brothers had Joss work on Wonder Woman just to prevent him from doing any films for Marvel for a while?

I dunno... I just can't help but see conspiracy when a writer I like is almost entirely taken off the market for two years... it's the waste of time and talent that bothers me rather than a wasted script treatment, so much...
Now that Joss is freed up from this, I hear Priyanka Chopra is slated to write an issue of the Buffy comic.

*goes off to prepare for his seat in the special hell*
No interest in WW without Joss, either...had a hard time ginning up interest *with* him, but he's so utterly earned the complete benefit of my doubt forever, so, we'd have gone to watch.

Not so much now.

As in, not at all.

The Buffy Season 8 comic series will, I'm sure, be marvelous...but it'll be methadone to this addict.

Meaning, I'll grasp furiously at them.
Silver: "It wasn't Joss' fault... we've been having trouble with the WONDER WOMAN project for quite some time now.

Then whose fault is it? Someone needs to have the balls to step up and take responcibilty for the descission. Rather than hemming and hawing around with pc-ness, could your problem be because no one knows anything about Wonder Woman, other than the outfit she wears. I don't know what Joss wrote about Wonder Woman but at least it was set in modern times. The other Wonder Woman story is set in WWII. Heck even in the TV show realized after the first season that no one cares about about Wonder Woman in that era, the people want a modern day Wonder Woman. If they were smart they coul make Wonder Woman start out as an eco terrorist, or on the hunt of some sister Amazons who are eco terrorist. For the sake of the greek gods, the world is rife with events that could be used in the story of Wonder Woman. To go back in time only takes female heroes back in time which will not help and will ensure the film will flop. The reason DC is so far behind Marvel is because Marvel has characters, DC seems to be more cardboard than character. I want Joss to take on She-Hulk, that would be a movie to watch.

Ok I am done venting, for now.
Apparently Joss's She-Hulk wouldn't be green enough...
I'll still see WW, but I would have liked to see it with Joss' brilliant writing behind the script.
I'm boycotting, nay, protesting and boycotting. honestly, there could be signs...
Joss's She-Hulk would be 5 feet tall and 90 lbs.
I'm sorry, but I think it's totally tacky and rude to put Joel Silver on the spot like that and what's more, I'd bet folding money that Joss would feel the same way. Let's be grown-ups, folks; it's a movie, it didn't work out for Joss and it probably will be the worse for it, but it's not the apocalypse. Again. ;-)
I dont know, anybody who could produce V for Vendetta and The Matrix (both are of my all time favorite movies-V is one of the best I have seen in the last 5 years) has some cache in my book, though admittedly that cache took a hit with the final two matrix movies, and thus, Im still down with Wonder Woman. This may be an unpopular opinion around here, but I dont think Joss has the market cornered on female empowerment through TV and movie and if the script was contrary to what Silver and the producers wanted, then its best that they part.

I want a good WW movie, one that shows her heart and her power as things not mutually exclusive, and one that shows Steve Trevor as the hero he was (and if you ever saw the JLU cartoons, Bruce Timm had that down perfectly). Its not like Joss is the only one able to do these things and I think that Silver can pull it off--and he earns some money in my book when he says that Marvel has been kicking DC's ass and that its time to reverse that (DC fan here). Maybe it was time to find something else and maybe Joss' script really wasnt that good, we dont know anything for sure. I hope they can pull it off well, and if Silver says that its better off without Joss, im cool with that.

That and im hyped about the Justice League movie...
It was a weak response, but what can you do? I really don't regret that Joss isn't doing Wonder Woman, enough time has been spent on that project; I'll be happier to see Goners come out, and some TV shows get produced!
I don't hold to the belief that Wonder Woman written by other writers can't possibly be good. The new writers are new writers and might turn out to be great writers. I don't want to dismiss that possibility. I also might see the movie, because I was a WW fan before Joss was out of diapers; however, Silver still didn't provide people with any idea as to WHY Joss's version didn't work - and I kind of wish we could see what his plans were and compare them to the current potential story.
I can't really begrudge anyone in this situation. Sounds to me that the mysterious 'they' had something of a vision of what they'd like to see in WW, and Joss just wasn't delivering it. He's not an *actual* god, regardless of how much we think he is. And I'm sure no one here would want Joss to compromise his own feelings/vision on how it should go just so 'they' would think it would appeal to the masses better.

And I think Joel Silver gave more than plenty seeing as it was a 'Reaping' event. I tend to not really like it when, for instance, SMG is asked about Buffy at a Grudge event or DB is asked about Angel at a Bones event. And to be honest, IMO, we the fans are not really owed an explanation. Joss knows and Joel knows, and I figure that's as it should be. Sure, it would be nice to know, and I personally think I have it pegged well enough, but it's not owed us.
Add me to the "no longer interested" heap.

I'm not going to boycott or refuse seeing WW (if it ever gets made). I just won't at all go out of my way to see it. There's always that late-at-night-nothing-else-on-eight-years-after-release remote chance that I'll catch it. Setting the new project in the past kinda further pushed me into the "no longer interested" camp. I agree with RavenU -- the world needs Wonder Woman today.
At least for me, I wanted to see Joss write and direct a moderately successful (or better) big summer flick. That would get through to even the knucklehead types in Hollywood, which would mean a few less hoops he would have to jump through for the next movie or TV series he wanted to do.

But maybe Goners will turn some heads, we'll have to see.
I thought the Joss fan was pretty rude, then I scrolled down to the RE:Extinction panel and read the Heroes' fans' comments to Ali Larter. Wow.
Ohmigosh, yes, that was incrediobly rude, but I would suspect that Ali Larter would not have a problem with some dumbass who does not like her character- her character is not "likeable" in the sense of being a nice person, so I doubt she will stop acting as a result of this jerk. But there is something to be said for civility, and here, what point was the jerk making that actually matters?

As to WW, I am a major DC fan, but I never followed WW- but, I LURVE JLA, and am really looking forward to that, let me tell you. And if Joss wants to write that, that'd be fine by me. :-)
*rolls eyes*

I'm with OzLady on this -- Silver was put on the spot at an unrelated public event by an incredibly rude question about a private matter between him and Joss Whedon that is, frankly, not any of our concern or business. We don't know the specifics of what happened, nor is there any reason why we should as it's (he says again) a private matter between Joss and the studio.

Wonder Woman's been around for almost 50 years. The character will survive the lack of Joss Whedon writing her movie.
Personally I think Silver's comment was very revealing. I think this whole thing is about trying to produce a script that can maximise box office potential.

I think that Joss brings a certain vision to the work he does. Now I love this vision, and believe this vision is one that looks at the human condition like few other artists can, and countless others across the world feel the same way about that work.

However Whedon's work has often found a niche audience that loves it and this has translated into gradual wider success. But Joss's stuff has often struggled to break into immediate mainstream massive success amongst the wider public. What if Joel Silver is not just considering the quality of the film, but its box office success.

It would not have surprised me if Whedon's movie was loved by the critics, by his many fans, by comic fans, and by a selection of the movie-viewing audience. However does all this translate to the box office numbers Silver wants? Perhaps not. I would not have surprised if it Joss had made a wonderful beautiful movie. But Silver is not just an artist but also a number cruncher. Maybe no matter how good Whedon's movie could have been, it was not the movie that would bring in the ticket sales Silver and others hoped for.

According to Wikipedia, Silver's "Matrix Reloaded" took in $1billion from cinemas (worldwide). Now I might be in a minority that likes the Matrix sequels, and enjoy occasionally watching them with the original. But how many people really love that movie?

It's like in TV, E.R. has been one of the highest rating shows of all time, and I myself enjoyed the show. In its hey day millions of people quite enjoyed the show. But few people have felt the way about E.R. what a great many feel for "Buffy", "Angel" and "Firefly". Joss probably would have had little interest in running E.R., but I believe if he had run that show it could have been a much better show, but perhaps it would have not had the same mass appeal to Joe Public - and might have had not had the same crazily high ratings.
Seems to me that if it's okay for Silver to consider market factors, as well as artistic factors, then it's also okay for the market, or a section of it, to ask for what it wants, or thinks it wants- and to complain, and ask why when it doesn't get it. We are part of that market and so is the questioner.

I don't think it was a rude question or out of order. It's a question about what was apparently a business decision, not about his personal life. Silver was appearing in public and answering questions- to be responsive, or appear to be responsive to his audience. Just because a question is awkward doesn't make it rude.
No way Joel Silver showed up at the panel thinking WW wouldn't be brought up. Sounds like the standard diplomatic 'no comment' answer which fits in with the standard 'conflicting visions' scenario that we've gotten from both the WB and Joss. Hopefully that means that neither Silver nor Joss would turn away the chance to work together again. I could easily see Silver producing the Fray movie.
If this fan was "angry" it seems to me that's out of line. I do think it's a letigitmate question to ask in a public forum. Granted the panel wasn't about Wonder Woman but I think it's okay to politely and diplomatically ask Silver if he wouldn't mind saying a word or two from his P.O.V. as to why he and Joss parted ways. But to be confrontational about it and act as though it's inherently wrong to fire Joss from a project...that's (IMHO) a loss of perspective.
I was there too, hoping someone from Spider-Man 3 would make a surprise appearance. While the queston about Joss to Joel Silver was fair, the remarks to Ali about her role on Heroes were not. I would have just asked her if there was any chance her Niki's side would reclaim her body, and Jessica's more handy skills. It sure beats Jessica going all Bonnie and Clyde while Niki is in the Mirror Zone being anything but heroic.

[ edited by impalergeneral on 2007-03-05 06:07 ]
Given how much Silver has produced that has been crap, the very few things he's done of an merit in the last ten years doesn't give me much faith in the man.

HOWEVER, it's none of our business and I think his being ambushed at an unrelated panel is totally uncool.
Eh, I don't know. I have yet to watch or read anything that bored me, written by Joss Whedon. I would have liked to see his take on Wonder Woman, because I've imagined so many times what other people's work would be like if Joss took a stab at it.

I also wish Joel could just say what it was. Not saying just angers people and just might even start an anti-WW crowd.

Whatever, can't wait for Goners and Buffy Season 8.
IMO, if the fan was polite, it seems reasonable to ask a question about a genre movie that the panelist at a genre convention is doing, even if it's not the subject of that panel. And if Mr. Silver didn't want to answer, he could have said no comment, but he did say something, so actually, I think that was pretty decent of him. Joss has been very clear that he isn't mad at Joel or at WB. The only really sad things here are that Joss's WW would have been the one I was interested in -- finding herself as a human and a hero -- and that it took them 4 years to figure out that Joss wasn't the guy for them. I really wish Joss could have had at least 1, 2 or all 4 of those years back, to work on something else. :-(

On the bright side: yes, Joss is now focusing on Goners, and sounds like he's thinking about TV ideas again. Plus, Buffy S8, ffs! Yay new projects! :-)
but I dont think Joss has the market cornered on female empowerment through TV and movie

An unbeliever ! An unbeliever ! Quick everyone, attack ! ;-)

I don't think asking the question was rude though the way it was asked might well have been. It wasn't related to the panel but it was related to Joel Silver and as billz says, it's not like it was in a restaurant at his kid's birthday party, it was a genre convention (if things had been going great with WW and someone had asked about it, i'm sure he would have taken the opportunity to promote the movie rather than saying "Sorry, that's off-topic", it only seems a bit off because the question was an awkward one).

Re: disinterest in 'Wonder Woman' due to Joss leaving, well, if you weren't interested in WW before Joss then that attitude seems completely understandable, refusing to see it because you somehow "know" it's going to be rubbish seems a bit less so IMO.

I'd imagine we all agree Joss is a very talented bloke but there are other people out there that can write a great film, even one that looks at feminist issues in an intelligent way (though to me getting that from a big Summer movie always seemed too good to be true anyway). And resenting Joel Silver because a professional arrangement fell through seems a bit daft IMO especially considering it apparently ended amicably. Each to their own of course.
This isn't much different than the whole Kevin Smith Superman script thing from... I dunno what was it like 8 years ago. He wrote a script. The guy in charge of producing it didn't like it, they parted ways. At the end of the day I'd have liked to see Joss's take on Wonder Woman about as much as I'd like to have seen Kevin Smith's take on Superman, but it's not gonna happen so I'm not gonna loose sleep over it. I'm certainly not going to get angry at Joel Silver over it.

I'll just wait for Goners. Writers always seem to do better with their own creations anyway... go figure.
The Kevin Smith situation was completely different - they asked him to write a draft of the screenplay. At no point was he ever attached to direct the film - and he was shunted off the project when Tim Burton came on as director.
Dalton, I think it is not Joss's vision that prevents him from being a mainstream success but his subject matter. Vampires and westerns in space are not as immediately Big Box Office as, I don't know, Robin Williams in an RV. I had hopes for Wonder Woman as I thought it would bring Joss's vision to a wider audience because the subject matter was going to pull in the crowds and the writing was going to keep them there.
Ozlady said:
"I'm sorry, but I think it's totally tacky and rude to put Joel Silver on the spot like that"

I wasn't there so I can't really judge the tone, but from the description it didn't sound particularly rude, and I certainly don't think that it's "tacky and rude" just to ask. Being "put on the spot" is part of the job of a studio executive in my opinion.

However from the same article I can hardly believe how rude the questioner was to Ali Larter. How utterly inappropriate!
Ali Larter's character is not my favorite either, I don't think she is supposed to be, but I would still never tell an ACTOR that I think she should be killed off/fired. Geeez! And in a room full of fans! Way to make actors think long and hard before going to a convention.

And as far as Wonder Woman goes I think it utterly sucks that Joss wasted four years of his time and creativity, but hopefully he got paid, and I'm reasonably sure he'll be able to put some of his Wonder Woman ideas to use in another female empowerment project. I just wish he could have used that time and creativity to push harder for the Spike movie instead. But that's just me.
Ali's Heroes question was *incredibly rude*. Bring back the German Angel Role Play Game guy.

Wonder Woman movie has been floating around for at least 9 years now. I would much rather Joss not be involved if the studio didn't like his idea. As, ultimately, that way lies the director arguing with the studio, which isn't quite the same as TV land where the creator usually wins -- in movie land, you will probably get squished. The only person allowed to squish Joss is his wife.
Maybe Joss shouldn't have killed Wonder Woman in his script...
Yeah, I agree, tinktanker, he shouldn't have squished her - at least not in the first act.
I personally think it was the lesbian kiss that the execs couldn't handle. I mean, Wondy and Artemis? C'mon Joss...
It was possibly something to do with the pitch of gods and corporations and stuff. Maybe.
I should have mentioned that I had talked to someone who was at the panel and heard the question being asked and, from his impression, felt that Joel Silver very much felt cornered and uncomfortable. I actually read the link after I posted and it sounds like either the encounter was a wee bit sanitized in that account OR my friend is misinterpreting Silver's reaction and/or the tone of the questioner.

I personally lost interest in the WW project when I heard that Cathy Rigby wasn't even being considered for the role. ;-)
In all seriousness I think what put Warners off Joss is that he wanted to diverge from the source material further than they felt comfortable with. And I suspect they lacked confidence in Whedon as a mainstream filmmaker (particularly after lackluster box office for Serenity).
I agree with daylight. And I just read what Paul O'Brien (reviewer of every recent X-men comic under the sun at his "X-Axis" site) said about the whole thing. He has some harsh but interesting ideas about why making a movie about Wonder Woman might have been a problem for anyone, and why Whedon's ideas might not have worked for Silver et. al. Here's the gist of what he says in his Feb 5th blog:

Wonder Woman is a problematic character. To people who live inside the comics bubble, she's an icon. But frankly, she's a confused and garbled concept. The character is based on some very out of date ideas about femininity, and the costume is just plain dire. Quite how you start with the idea that she's an ambassador from a pseudo-Greek culture, whose whole purpose in life is to spread the values of that society to the ignorant people of the outside world, and then end up dressing her in the stars and stripes... well, that's just absurd, despite the occasional efforts that have been made to justify it.

Yes, she's the only top-drawer female superhero with any claim to iconic status. Yes, it would be nice if she was any good. But really, you've got to be terribly forgiving to take Wonder Woman seriously - or willing to reinvent her from scratch.

More to the point, the rest of the world couldn't care less about her. As a character concept, she means nothing to the general public who are supposedly going to see her film.. All the public know about her [is that] Linda Carter used to go twirly-twirl, around 30 years ago. Wonder Woman is just nostalgic camp. Trying to sell her to the general public as a serious character is, at best, an uphill struggle.. Wonder Woman is... what? A garbled collection of mythological imagery, unfocussed patriotism, Readers Digest-level psychology, and "only girl in the clubhouse" novelty value. I just don't see the potential.

The comments section of the blog features this analysis:

I think the main problem with her today is that she was clearly conceived as a sex symbol first, superhero second; if we take Linda Carter out of the mix, we're left with softcore bondage porn, and Greg Rucka trying to make her a real warrior while keeping her in the thong-and-metal-bra combo. Hell, I'm guessing the "irreconcilable difference" is that Whedon wanted a realistic interpretation of a woman protagonist while the studios were looking for "omg boobies!"

Actually I don't see how Wonder Woman and her costume is any sillier than Superman's. I enjoyed the first Superman movie and I felt that they did a good job of making me take the costume and the character seriously, and I had had hopes that Joss would find a way to make Wonder Woman transcend the silly aspects so she would weld her lasso of truth with dignity. But when push comes to shove I'm not much interested in these characters, I am more interested in R.Crumb's Mr. Natural, or the later darker characters like The Watchmen, and most recently I've definitely gotten into Runaways!
I think it's fairly commonly known that the originator of Wonder Woman had a little bondage fetish (she did end up with that lasso around her quite a bit). Joss would have to have to work with that a bit, I think.

I am interested in the movie now, but in a fairly dark way. I'd prefer to see it crash and burn, in the probably vain hope that the studios might get it, to some tiny degree, and realize what they could have had. And then shovel over a bunch of money to Joss for whatever, heh.
Maybe this was asked in one of the previous Wonder Woman threads, but was the deal for Joss that he had to both direct and write the film ? Just because they didn't like his script, would Universal have still persuaded him to direct the film ? Joss probably wouldn't have gone for that, since the original plan was for him to practically have full creative control by being writer-director, but I wonder if the directing-only offer was made...
I think we know what happened here. No fault on either Joss or Joel. Just wasn't to be.
Actually I don't see how Wonder Woman and her costume is any sillier than Superman's.

Well I think the blogger's point is partly that if you're trying to write a fully rounded, serious female character you're off to a bad start when she's dressed like a 14 year old boy's fantasy.

Then there's the flag issue etc. (at least Superman's 'S' shield is explained - in various ways depending on continuity - as being from his home planet. Also, his costume has the added advantage that his 'bits' are unlikely to fall out when he gets in a fight ;).

But yeah, it's a fair point, any costume largely composed of primary colours is gonna be a hard sell today (which is why the X-Men didn't go the 'yellow spandex' route) and that's part of the challenge for a lot of superhero movies.
I don't know if I can speak for everyone outside of the US, but isn't Wonder Woman only sort of big in the states? Most people here in Sweden don't know the first thing about her. I guess that doesn't help when trying to make a blockbuster movie than will work worldwide.

Furthermore, she is a very American figure, with the US colours on her costume etc, and seeing as Mr Bush has soiled much of US reputation in the rest of the world, maybe it's a tough sell?
Good point, Lucidmind. The more I think about it, the more I realize I'm glad that Joss isn't going to be doing this. I also agree with Saje about the costume problem, the "14 year old boy's fantasy". Maybe part of the problem was meshing Joss's liberal, feminist sensibility with these aspects of Wonder Womam's identity, amongst others.
The lost time is a shame, but I have a growing feeling that Joss is well out of this project.
Looking forward to hearing more about Goners.
Saje, really? I don't believe that. Be honest.
Stilll waiting...
Sorry Madhatter, having trouble understanding what you mean. Which bit don't you believe and which bit do you want me to be honest about ?

(I honestly don't think Superman's bits are likely to fall out in a fight if that's what you mean ;)
Well, I feel myself diverting from the general thrust of this thread. First, I don't feel sorry for Joel Silver being confronted or questioned in public about WW. He's an entertainment exec, that's his job. Whether he made a good decision or a bad one it's his to make and to own. God bless ya, Joel. The man who exec produced Tales From the Crypt, Veronica Mars and got KISS KISS BANG BANG made has my respect.

Second, as for WW being a tough sell; great, bring it on. What a great challenge for any film maker to do this material justice! I think Joss the boss was being honored with this chance. We don't know what happened to keep WW from coming to the screen- yet?- so it doesn't do any good to speculate on "what happened". I remember what David Milch said about studios not wanting to make a project because marketing said it was a tough sell. His response was, "Isn't it their job to sell it?" Film makers too, so you take the perceived weaknesses and turn them into strengths. Okay, WW looks like a 14 year old boy's fantasy, she's into light S&M, she's a pagan and a patriotic American. Not that there's anything wrong with any of that as they say on Seinfeld. What's not to love? I wasn't excited about seeing the film either other than Joss but upon reflection this could be awesome. What some of you may not know is that in the 70's DC tried to update WW but they got feedback from a variety of feminist writers such as Gloria Steinheim to bring the old WW back! They had grown up with her and the image so they didn't see a problem with it.

I'm just sayin' it's possible to make a great film here.
Sorry, the Superman bit.
One thing I like is the idea that she's immortal or nearly so, which the TV series touched on when they switched metworks and time periods by having her see the 1978 Steve and realize he's "the spittin' image of his dad." In this case it could be image of his granddad which could include a flashback of a WWII scene with one of the older costumes (and the eagle is not specifically an American symbol, altho the bald eagle is.) Then her deciding while still on PAradise Island or whatever to adopt a more up-to-date costume for her new mission.

And I know several pagans in cyber-space who are certainly also patriotic Americans. Pat'n'Jerry and That Ilk would deal with it by disbelieveing and moving on...the pc crowd woudl eb the ones who couldn't see how it'd be possible, I think.

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