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June 28 2003

Joss speaks to FIlmForce Part 5 The final part of the Interview. He talks more about Buffy, a little bit of current projects, How Internet affect his work, Firefly, and some other tidbits.

Wow, there is a serious twist there with what he is saying about Amber. I mean this kinda contradicts himself and her from earlier interviews. He actually wanted a story arc in season 7 where Tara comes back for real? And Amber turned it down? Hmmm... his interviews always skip over the part where Tara would have to be evil, and she has never even hinted at any offers for Tara to reunite with Willow. Sigh, too late now I guess...

[ edited by TaraLivesOn on 2003-06-29 05:41 ]
Props to the reviewer for asking difficult questions. Props to Joss for answering most of them candidly. This was a very good interview, although the talk about the Firefly movie was a little vague for my tastes:


The current future of Firefly is that I'm writing a movie script that I have some hope of actually getting made.

That is not as optimistic or as certain as I would like. Where there's a script there's hope, I suppose.
Check out Joss's surprise that the UK releases are in widescreen, he had no clue. I hope that doesn't cause any damage to season seven release in widescreen.

You're right, very good questions & answers. Both the interviewer and Joss sound much more relaxed than any other interview I have read from him. Even on the DVD extras he seems wound-up a little tight.
So, I guess I am alone in thinking that at times these questions are remarkably rude and that Whedon sounds quite agatated at them.

Also, the lack of follow up on the Tara storyline is inexusable on the interviewers part and the Kennedy-as-Stalker questions are moronic.
Don't think it's rude at all. Just not sycophantic. Here's an interviewer who knows the show, rather than - hey groovy you're so fab, Joss. There are questions, exactly those questions that a lot of fans of the show had during the Season. Finally they get asked. Another great interview from filmforce. They are interested, invested and respectful. Their i/v with ASH is the best I've ever read.

"Working on a single show will be a change after this long."

... sigh. Ripper will NEVER get made.
I agree with prolific -- by asking (relatively) tough questions, the interviewer is really nudging Joss to genuinely respond to a lot of fans' concerns with Season 7, rather than just repeating the sound bite answers that most of us have read dozens of times before. And when Joss clearly doesn't want to talk about it anymore, the interviewer quickly backs off.
I don't mind asking 'difficult' questions but the wording of those questions ('clumsy storytelling' comes to mind) strikes me as deeply unprofessional. The writer sounds like a disgruntled fanboy (so I'm am sure this will be the favorite interview of disgruntled fanboys everywhere) with questions like that, especially when there are a dozen ways to phrase that question more respectfully and get the same answer (Ex: 'What was your intent with the Giles-as-The-First red herring?" would get the same response and not be disrespectful to the interviewee). I think it's a good rule of thumb that when you piss off the person you are interviewing (and it's clear that Whedon is upset by the time of the pacing question) that you have crossed a line, unless maybe your Mike Wallace.

In addition, the writer does not do follow up questions (Tara storyline) instead perferring to go into an adolescent rant about Kennedy. He does not read other interviews or I guess he just wasn't curious about Oz's possible involvement in S7 or the late developement of Robin Wood's backstory which are questions far more relevant than the embarassing Kennedy questions (Whedon seems mystifed by them).

I thought the early sections of the interview dealing with show production or Whedon's youth were excellent but the S7 questions are juvenile.
I've got a theory...

Based on this and a few other recent interviews with ME folks, I strongly suspect that Season 7 focussed on Spike and Andrew so much because James Marsters and Tom Lenk became the only actors who didn't annoy the writers.

Or is that too obvious? :-)
I think you can throw in DB Woodside with that as well.
Vamp_Insurance: I dunno, that seems a fairly shallow, not to mention stupid, move on the parts of the writers. Personally, I suspect it had more to do with the writers not being sure of where else to take the core characters (other than Buffy and, to a lesser extent, Willow), and also having less time to focus on the development of individuals due to the big arc and the enormous cast.

Not that I felt that Season 7 was particularly Spike or Andrew-focused anyway -- it's more that their characters (especially Spike's) got shirked less than the others. As I recall, there were only three episodes that could be said to really revolve around Spike ("Beneath You", "Sleepless", and "Lies My Parents Told Me"), but most characters (other than Buffy) were lucky to get one.
Vamp_Insurance: Interesting notion. It sure seems like Joss is fond of Alyson Hannigan, too, but I'm guessing that any increase in Willow's storyline caused great displeaure in the star playing the eponymous character. Might the increase in screen time for Spike and Andrew also have served as warnings to the dicontented regulars that the One-Season-Only Villians could always be brought back for further embellishment?

I was impressed with the interview. The length is astonishing, and while the questions do border on the fanboy-ish, it's always nice when someone actually knows something about the work that the subject of the interview has produced. Lord save us from any more of the, "Is Buffy supposed to be a feminist?" questions.

[ edited by longtimelurker on 2003-06-29 02:48 ]
I also would've like to have seen the Tara story-arc in season 7. Why not for your fans Amber? WHY????
I wouldn't be so quick to blame Amber, BlindHawkeyes. After looking at several previous interviews with Joss, it appears he has never made a statement as surprising as this before. I'm gonna wait to hear if anyone else from his circle can recall such a story being told.
Yeah I wouldn't blame good old Amber. Wasn't there a BBC interview not so long ago where she pretty much states that she would only be coming back as the first? If Joss would've mentioned the end, I'm sure she would've signed on.
I think I agree with Unitas. I don't know if I'd call the questions rude exactly, but, in all honesty, Joss doesn't owe anyone an explanation for any of the choices that were made. Just because some were not happy with Season 7 doesn't mean that the man should be badgered into explaining every little detail. By now we know the structure of S7 was off. We know that there was a little deus ex machina going on. We know that some of the plotlines were not really developed. I just think a lot of fans have forgotten that this is not their show, it's his.
Writers get asked about the choices they make in writing their books, so do film makers, musicians, etc etc. If I were a TV maker I'd be dead pleased if a journalist could talk to me and argue with me on my level, rather than do 5 minute gossip rag trash interviews. You can go quickly up your own hole if you're not challenged somewhere along the way.
Dozens of informed interviewers have asked Whedon about the "choices" he has made on the show from Laura Miller in Salon to the NYT's recent fan forum. Heck, TV Guide did an excellent job with a very brief interview concerning 'Chosen' recently. My problem with the tone of this interview is that it prevents us from getting answers about S7. Whedon would be far more inclined to describe the problems with guest stat casting & plotting to an interviewer that wasn't whinning at him like some disillusioned geek. The interviewer's lack of pertinent follow up questions seems to indiciate that rather than listen and expand on Whedon's answers, he would much rather hector him with his complaints.

I'm sorry but, as I indicated in a post above, there is a way to ask challenging questions without being rude and there is also middle ground (a wide middle ground) between the unnecessarily antagonistic & the pointlessly sycophantic.
I hope that the "Firefly" DVDs contain the episodes unabridged and in the right order.
The interviewer's lack of pertinent follow up questions seems to indicate that rather than listen and expand on Whedon's answers, he would much rather hector him with his complaints.

I agree. There is a difference between the honest search for information and the desire to punish Joss for disappointing some of us this year.

Although I have to admit it felt good (in a brief, shallow, insecure sort of way :-)) to have the interviewer lay into him a little. I expect time and DVDs will eventually change my opinion (as they have for Season 4), but I felt mostly annoyed while watching the last season.

And I somehow suspect prolific shares this feeling. :-)
"Here's what we're going to do. We're going to have her in a couple of flashbacks, keep her alive, and then at the end ..." I had a whole show figured out that ended with the return of Tara. I used to cry every time I pitched it. It was going to be Tara's her one true love, people are going to be blown away, they'll never see it coming except on the Internet and it's going to be just about the biggest thing.

The way I read this, it doesn't preclude Tara being The First when she came back. The mind-screw of Willow thinking that Tara was alive and then her actually being The First could have been done over several episodes, perhaps in a similar way to when Angel came back (specifically, that Willow was the only one to know that Tara was "alive" and kept it a secret). Then, when Tara was revealed to be The First it could both underscore that Tara was Willow's true love and that this was a real sick bastard of a villain who could actually get something done.

Does anyone else see this as not necessarily being different from what Joss has said in other interviews?

[ edited by brother_grady on 2003-06-30 19:47 ]
I have nothing but giant love for this interview. One of the best behind-the-scenes type pieces I've read in a while.

Re: the whimsical comments above about how James Marsters & Tom Lenk were the only ones who weren't pissing off the writers anymore. Maybe not directly, but I bet that's right. There was just so much more to do with them because they were characters that hadn't been explored in as much depth or as many directions as the core cast already had been. Season 7 is notably deficient in its Willow/Xander/Anya moments, but quite remarkable in how fun and compelling Andrew, Spike, and Wood turned out.
Agreeing with friarfunk, I'd like to see more interviews of this type done with the actors and writers.

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