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July 07 2008

MTV News interviews Joss about all of his upcoming projects: Dollhouse, Doctor Horrible, Cabin in the Woods, and the ones that won't be happening for now (Goners and Serving Girl).

Really too bad he won't be helping on the Runaways movie, but, well, Brian is doing it. 'Nuff said.
That actually sounds fairly positive about 'Cabin in the Woods', at least things are moving on it.

And 6 months ago I wouldn't have believed i'd say this but i'm really sorry 'Serving Girl' has been back-burnered. Seeing Summer dance in T:TSCC opened my eyes about ballet.
I'm just glad to see that even with Goners so unceremoniously backburnered, he can say "I still have hope for it, though" about it. I can handle it being benched, I was just worried that maybe the process had become too aggravating for him to even want to do it some day at all anymore.
So long as Joss holds onto 'Goners' himself, I can wait and at least entertain the hope. The very worst case scenario IMO would be it goes into "development hell", gets taken out of his hands and passed through several other writers before we finally see the mangled corpse of the original conception and lament what could've been. That'd be tough to take just as a fan, FSM knows how Joss'd feel about it.
We shall see "Serving Girl." The Demon Writer of TV yearns toward ballet, the Doomsday Dancer (maybe?) of TV yearns toward ballet, and it's envisioned as a small, personal project, so entire planets need not align, just a couple of haituses.

"Goners" will be greenlit next year, when DWoTV has no time to make it.

[ edited by Pointy on 2008-07-07 23:33 ]
I still don't know how Joss has time to sleep at night. Or during the day. Or, like, ever.

[ edited by gossi on 2008-07-07 23:59 ]
Gah. There's something Goners-related to post and I've forgotten my password on my What Is Mia Made Of blog.

ETA (much later) that fortunately my laptop at home has the password remembered.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-07-08 03:06 ]
I am really surprised that Universal doesn't want to move forward with 'Goners', horror pictures always make money, and it sounds like Joss is going to just keep getting busier.
I haven't ever known that much about Goners, but a Joss/Drew Goddard project sounds more than a little tantalizing.
And I seriously hope the ballet project with Summer gets made, eventually, being a big fan of ballet.

saje, I've only seen Summer dance in Waiting in the Wings. Has she actually danced on T:TSCC, (if so, I missed it) or am I being too literal.

ETA: duuh, slow on the uptake today.

[ edited by Shey on 2008-07-08 02:52 ]
Not to get too excited about "Cabin in the Woods," but it's kind of the founding genre of (a) the movies and (b) the USA. D.W. Griffith often had folks holed up in a house in the middle of nowhere fighting for their lives against invading forces in his final reels. (He had the KKK as the terrorizers in one film before making them the rescuers in the [thoroughly loathsome] "Birth of a Nation"). It goes back to the Captivity Narratives that were among the first (colonial) American literary forms, which tended to start with a Native American attack on an isolated settlement (rather than when the Non-Native Non-Americans took some more land). Sounds like the Demon Writer is going deep into the heart of genre.

Or it could be about monsters.
Or it could be about monsters.
Pointy | July 08, 03:17 CET

I'm betting on monsters ;-)

What am I doing here at this time of day? I just came on to do the "Vote Us" thing because I forgot to vote last night. Whedonesque, you are an evil influence on my so-called life. Logging off now to do RL stuff. Really. Any minute now ............
I predict it will be about Vikings. Evil Vikings.

And Dandelion will save us all. :)
Aww, Joss, you're allowed to laze every once in a while.

In any case, Cabin in the Woods sounds fabulous, and I hope it's a hard R kind of horror, because just the title itself reminds me of the Evil Dead movies, which are very near and dear to me. Especially the totally demented, whacked-out second installment which actually kinda has some of the Joss sensibilities (though taken to their batshit insane extremes).

And I told myself not to post this, because I in no way intend to start some kind of fiery off-topic discussion, but in response to Pointy: The Birth of a Nation "thoroughly loathsome"? Its ideas about race are entirely wrongheaded and despicable, but to call the film itself thoroughly loathsome? I can understand not being able to separate the achievement itself from its ignorant notions (there are certainly movies where I've been unable to do the same myself), but I personally find it a towering work of art. Is it disturbing, sickening, and racist? Yes. Is it one of the best, most important movies ever made? Yes. In fact, it's probably one of the very few instances where the answer to both of those questions is an affirmative. It has horrifying ideas but limitless invention, creating some kind of twisted, sullied masterpiece. Roger Ebert's Great Movies piece on the film gets my point across much better than I can:

Griffith and "The Birth of a Nation" were no more enlightened than the America which produced them. The film represents how racist a white American could be in 1915 without realizing he was racist at all. That is worth knowing. Blacks already knew that, had known it for a long time, witnessed it painfully again every day, but "The Birth of a Nation" demonstrated it in clear view, and the importance of the film includes the clarity of its demonstration. That it is a mirror of its time is, sadly, one of its values.

That's just a short excerpt, and in the rest of the piece he brilliantly analyzes every side of the issue.

So, yeah. I apologize for totally derailing the thread.

And, uh, sucks about Serving Girl.

[ edited by UnpluggedCrazy on 2008-07-08 03:58 ]
Ah, yes. Dandelion, the lost Viking warrior monkey. How history has forgotten you.

They really do need to tell more stories of this majestic piece of Norse mythology.

With pirates. Undead pirates.
UnpluggedCrazy, you've explained more than I why it's thoroughly loathsome, and since its cinematic merit is as widely recognized as that of the also loathsome "Triumph of the Will," I don't see a need to stress how good it is at portraying its thoroughly loathsome world view.

"Birth of a Nation" was not merely a reflection of racism, but a contributor to it, being used by the KKK to rally new supporters to its side during its period of greatest strength, the 1920s.

[ edited by Pointy on 2008-07-08 04:26 ]
Does the cabin-in-the-woods sub-genre solely consist of horror stories? The last thing I saw that took place almost entirely at a cabin was Cabin Fever (gross, disturbing, had some absurd/funny bits, and the ending is a downer classic. Not good, not awful).

The more they say that Goners ain't coming any time soon, the more I wanna see it. I'm not chomping at the bit or anything, there's plenty to keep me entertained in the meantime, but it's the Joss project I was most excited about for a while.

Cool that there's more Whedon content than just Dollhouse and Buffy Season 8 in the pipeline this year and the next. So spoiled.
Not a big fan, but I have to agree with Ebert (thanks Unplugged) here, Pointy. Comparison with Triumph of the Will, which was financed or, if I remember right, actually produced, by the Nazi government as propaganda, is a weak point, even if a similarity of the politics can be drawn. Claiming that some work that can be used badly by bad people is bad in itself is not a point I can imagine you'd want to make. And everything artists do is history, as well as the "main events."

Personally, I liked Cabin Boy, but I seldom mention it because of the looks I get.
The point of comparison is that they are both movies that demonstrate a high degree of skill even as they put forth hateful propaganda. No one's "claiming that some work that can be used badly by bad people is bad in itself." Putting forth hateful propaganda is bad in itself. And if you look at the role of Griffith's film in the history of the KKK, you'll see that it didn't merely reflect history, but shaped history, and for the worse.
I'm ultra-disappointed to hear that "Goners" is sure enough stuck in development hades at Universal (damn-diggty-it!) and am also a bit saddened to hear that "Cabin in the Woods" is apparently as much a comedy as it is horror... was kind of hoping for more of the latter than the former for it.

That's just me, though! Here's hoping Joss will direct "Cabin" as well as sharing the writing hat and also working the producing front.
saddened to hear that "Cabin in the Woods" is apparently as much a comedy as it is horror

That's not really what the article says.
It's an interesting interview. :) Although I do wish that "Goners" will be made. :)
After the horribility that was WW, I think Goners was mired in its backwash. It'll be better once Joss has had a chance to recharge his batteries, and there's nothing like an internet superhero musical to give you a big charge! =)
Like it really matters, but Dr. Horrible was shot in 6 days a month AFTER the writers strike ended, it was written during the strike, or at least that's when they started writing it.

Nitpicking off my chest now.

Hooray for all things Joss!
I've seen Birth of a Nation all the way through only because I took a film class once. I haven't seen Triumph of the Will, only clips of it (that didn't appeal to me) because it wasn't required. I don't know much about the history of the KKK. I know I almost fell asleep trying to watch Birth of a Nation all the way through in a class full of Texans who were also fighting sleep. If you think it's still inspiring racists, you may be overestimating their atention spans. I can't know exactly what its effect was on the victims of early film (I can only describe them as victims, having been forced to watch The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari myself) but I doubt it changed them fundamentally, worse or better. C'mon Ebert has a point.

Birth of a Nation sucks. Griffith sucks, as far as I can tell, though we're apparently to be gratefull for his technical innovations. Thanks for the tips, G. Plese don't come back and write anything.
Does it need to still inspire racists for it to be considered deplorable ?

Has she actually danced on T:TSCC, (if so, I missed it) or am I being too literal.

Nope, she actually danced at the end of the episode 'The Demon Hand'. Literally ;).

(Cameron went undercover at a dance school where the teacher had said something to the effect of "dance is the language of your soul" so it tied into the whole, does she have a soul/what is a soul question that T:TSCC asks. Very nice scene)

'Waiting in the Wings' didn't do the same for me, maybe because of the classical setting. It seems like I have to care about the story and characters beforehand for it to affect me, the ballet by itself doesn't do it (same with musicals and 'Once More With Feeling' BTW).
I also saw Birth of A Nation through a film class, and also found it thoroughly hard to sit through. The blatant racism shown is probably the worst I've ever seen in a film.

That being said, the technical achievements are important. The type of editing used in film (which had never been done before) is still used today. Of course, I tell myself that while trying to batten down the waves of nausea.

I think Birth of a Nation is one of those things that, while trying to acknowledge it's importance, we also wish it never existed.
Captivity Narratives! The foundational tales of an art form and a nation! Going deep into the heart of literary and cinematic genres! Stuff the DWofTV* does exceedingly well without the loathsomeness of DWG! (Internal rhyme!) Excitement! Fun! On the topic of the thread and the blog! Yay!

Sentence fragments! Exclamation points! Sleep deprivation!

ETA: Footnote!

*Demon Writer of TV

[ edited by Pointy on 2008-07-08 12:44 ]
Even though the news isn't good on the Goners and Serving Girl front, its good to hear that they haven't been forgotten completely. As far as I know Serving Girl hasn't been mentioned since Comic Con and its good to hear about the project again. BTW, when was its title released?

Also an article on the Empire website, click here, states that Drew Goddard is more likely to direct Cabin In the Woods. Don't know where they got that info from.

[ edited by Dave B on 2008-07-08 16:39 ]
As far as I know Serving Girl hasn't been mentioned since Comic Con and its good to hear about the project again. BTW, when was its title released?

The project's been mentioned a couple of times since last Comic-Con, by both Joss and Summer. The project and its title both were announced at Comic-Con last year.
Are there are any silent films you guys like?

'Cuz while I will admit that The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari isn't one of my favorites, I still thought it was good.
I haven't seen Caligari in ages, but remember enjoying the Expressionism, which apparently influenced everyone. Enjoyed Metropolis, too. Lon Cheney Sr.'s silent Phantom of the Opera and Hunchback of Notre Dame were very, very good (that man definitely brought the pain). (I'd watch Charles Laughton's sound Hunchback just for "Sanctuary! Sanctuary!")

Chaplin, Keaton and Harold Lloyd are probably my favorite silent film makers.
Speaking of Metropolis, did everyone hear last week that they found negatives of the long-lost footage, down in Argentina?
Yeah! Three and a half hours! That could be . . . really, really boring. I mean . . . a masterpiece!
The last word there, yes. And I do not believe that the new footage takes the film to 3 1/2 hours.
This is one of my favorite silent films.

(Yeah, b!X that Metropolis discovery was majorly cool, I thought. We've lost so much film and tape that a major save like this is heartening.)
I was looking for a specific length, and saw only that (a) the original was 210 minutes and (b) the 16 mm print they found was nearly intact. How nearly, they didn't say.
I'm convinced Joss is some kind of Zen master; he insists he's lazy and yet somehow all this amazing work flows out of him on a more-or-less continuous basis. How he manages to balance that output with marriage and little kids at home is nothing short of remarkable. I look forward to Dr. Horrible and all the upcoming projects to come in the next few months!

The Metropolis discovery is very exciting for its own sake -- and it makes me wonder what other missing footage has been lurking unseen for decades in film warehouses around the globe? I tend to believe that things like this come to light when they are meant to, so perhaps there's something in the new footage that will make the complete cut of Metropolis even more socially relevant for today's world than its previous incarnations.

I just watched the silents Faust and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in the last few weeks and found them both fascinating, though I wouldn't say they are personal favorites. Among those, I'd include Metropolis, Nosferatu, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (which I watched voluntarily and find incredibly influential), London after Midnight (though sadly it was only a reconstruction), Un Chien Andalou, Le Voyage dans la lune and Pandora's Box. Here's a good list if you're looking for a place to start.

Lately I've been enjoying the pairing of contemporary (mostly) silent film with my own musical choices. So far this month, it's been the short films of Stan Brakhage with the music of Glenn Branca or Robert Fripp. You'd be surprised how well that works.

[ edited by Wiseblood on 2008-07-08 23:23 ]
Sadly, considering 'Metropolis' is about class struggle and the gap between the haves and the have nots I don't think there'll come a time when it's not socially relevant (but then I tend to believe that things like this come to light when whoever finds it decides to clear out their basement so I would say that ;).

I've seen 210 minutes in a few places BTW but whether they're all just parroting one inaccurate report or not is hard to tell.

Regarding others, i've seen 'Nosferatu' and 'Battleship Potemkin' neither of which I hated but my favourite silent stuff is probably Harold Lloyd's films (most of which i've seen, almost none of which I can remember the titles of - the Beeb used to run them during the summer holidays when I was a kid along with the old RKO serials, 'Flash Gordon', 'Buck Rogers' and so on) and a smattering of Chaplin (more scenes with his stuff though, a little of him goes a long way for me though I don't dispute the guy was an absolute genius).

[ edited by Saje on 2008-07-08 20:58 ]
Yow - I haven't read all of these comments but did check out the Joss article (I am SO looking forward to Dr. Horrible!) and caught the tail end of the Caligari conversation. Has anyone seen the remix? It's phenomenal. I can't believe Buffy fans aren't crazy about Caligari. It rocks - both the orginal AND the remix! How curious....
"Safety Last." Lloyd hanging from a dangling clock face. While you're watching, it's the funniest and scariest movie you've ever seen. Saw it in a theatre with a crowd of all ages, and all were on their seat edges laughing and gasping. One of a kind.

ETA: I liked the preview for the Caligari redo, but somehow missed the release, Shicks. It's now in the Q.

[ edited by Pointy on 2008-07-08 21:20 ]
I loved Keaton's "The General" when I first saw it. it is like a ballet with a train. Unfortunately, when I played it for my son years later I realized one had to have *some* idea of what a train was, and some idea of what the US Civil War was to really get it. Still love it though.
Since I was the one who asked the question:

The Passion of Joan of Arc is (and probably always will be) my favorite silent film. My other favorites are Modern Times, Battleship Potemkin, Intolerance, and Metropolis.
The Passion of Joan of Arc is intense.

Maria Falconetti is absolutely haunting.

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