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"I'd like to test that theory."
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August 09 2008

Five movies Joss should direct. The editor's blog at suggests five films that could only be bettered by Joss directing them. If we could clone five Josses, of course!

I completely agree with Avenue Q and Monster Island, they sound right up Whedon Alley. I was a little iffy on Manhunt until I read the Sarah Vowell connection so I'm with them on that too. The other two at least give me books to look for and read. After all, any group who say they "long for the season 2/season 3 version of Xander - back before he became a one-eyed watcher - when he was just an angry, sarcastic-as-hell teenager" have to know what they're talking about!

No, he shouldn't direct Manhunt - he should direct a film version of Stephen Sondheim's "Assassins"!
"Soon I Will Be Invincible" is a wonderful treat for any superhero fan. Highly recommended.
If we could clone Joss, why would we stop at five? And why would we stop at Joss?

"Now, in my living room, your weekly presentation of live-action Firefly, starring my all clone cast, including Nathan Fillion #2! Come back tomorrow as Joss #7 directs our revival of Angel, and then Tuesday Nathan Fillion #4 stars in Drive!"
You know if they ever did prequels to the original trilogy Star Wars movies ? Joss should totally direct those. I think he'd do a way better job than might happen if you let, say, George Lucas do it.

Actually, to be honest, though I think Joss' direction is great (the oft-mentioned "oner" in 'Serenity' etc.) I don't really know what's unique about it, what he brings to it that another talented director couldn't. His writing on the other hand has a very distinctive voice and isn't really even approximated by many others (Brian K Vaughan maybe) so i'd really rather he spent his time writing than directing (if it were up to me, which happily it isn't - i.e. Joss should actually do whatever he damn well pleases ;).

Think i'm gonna have to check out that 'Soon I Will Be Invincible' BTW, i've seen it mentioned a few places, reckon it might have reached my personal tipping point.
Saje, I think Joss' directing just has a special quality to it. I mean, he instinctively gets every aspect of visual storytelling. Even when he directed his first episode of The Office, which he didn't write, it was the best directed the show had ever been. (And I'm not just saying that 'cuz it was Joss.)

Anyway...King Dork? Oh, yes. That is one of the best books I've ever read, and when I finished it, I said that it was like Veronica Mars filtered through Buffy.
It's a pity we don't have any "blind" examples of Joss' work to see if we really can pick him out from the directing crowd - i'm not saying he's not good at it BTW, it's just that I struggle to see the unique styles of a lot of directors (unless they're right up in your grill, like e.g. De Palma - who, some might say, has style in the same way a sledgehammer has "heft" ;).
The list should have included Wonder Woman. :) *sigh*

I notice The Joss in directing at times. He's got a knack for framing, which seems an extension of working on comics. True, however, it's much easier to feel the Jossness of his work through dialogue.

Jubal Early aiming his gun? Classic Joss shot.
Avenue Q would be really fun(ner) in Joss' (self-styled, elegant) hands. If I might add to the list...? Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Oh, how I'd love to see him dig into that. Just imagine the true-to-the-text-with-a-twist nuances he'd give to Harry, Hermione, and... Snape! /longing
Saje, I came onto this thread just to mention the Star Wars prequels. I've always have been and still am a huge fan of the original films, but the prequel films only held my attention until I was in my early teens. They're just insufferable. It doesn't help that I'd read a lot of the really good Star Wars novels (the "Expanded Universe", which George Lucas himself borrowed from, e.g. Coruscant), and they were just so good that the new films just can't compare. I honestly don't understand why George Lucas keeps on inventing new things (like Anakin's new apprentice?!..?!) when there's such a wealth of good material out there just begging for a film to be made of it (Thrawn/Jade/Karrde/Vong, etc.).

Apologies for the rant, but just thinking of the "what if" if Joss, or even another very competent director made it, is just too much.
Oh no, the list of books I have too little time to read relentlessly expands!

ETA: I'm happiest with Joss working on the stories he loves with the people he loves, whether or not he originated the characters. His X-Men and Runaways stories were things of geeky beauty.

[ edited by Pointy on 2008-08-10 15:28 ]
Now I have to go bookshop hunting for 'Soon I Will Be Invincible'. That's the second time it's popped up this week. I just read an extract and can see quite quickly that I'm going to love it.

The author also put together a 'soundtrack' to his novel. One guess as to which musical made the honorable mention?

[ edited by highandrandom on 2008-08-10 15:14 ]

[ edited by highandrandom on 2008-08-10 15:20 ]
Add She-Hulk to the list. I'd kill to see Joss write and direct it.
I'm hoping that NPH introduces Joss to Jason Segel, and the two of them get together to put on the Dracula musical with puppets that Segel's character was writing in Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
Then at least something good could come out of that film ;).

(OK, OK, Russell Brand as, basically, Russell Brand was quite good and the cast are all likeable enough. It's no 'Superbad' though)

And that's a helluva call Willowy, Joss would be perfect for 'Snowcrash' with its hip, slightly post-modern-ish tone (and if there's a safer pair of hands to leave Y.T. in I can't think of 'em). Or 'The Diamond Age' for similar reasons (i'd heard Sci-Fi were actually making that as a mini-series so Joss should get his name down ;).

... but just thinking of the "what if" if Joss, or even another very competent director made it, is just too much.

Yeah, it's a nice fantasy isn't it ? ;)

(though in fairness, I don't think the direction was what needed fixing most about those films)

[ edited by Saje on 2008-08-10 16:54 ]
Thanks, Saje. I know, right? Wouldn't Joss just love him some Y.T.? I'd love to see his take on her... and Hiro and Raven and the metaverse... He'd have to have a huge budget, though.

Still, I think it'd be phenomenal.
It wasn't so much the directing per se, I just assign ultimate responsibility on George Lucas, who happens to be the director in this case. Star Wars was in a unique position that Lucas pretty much had all the power to change what he wanted, rather than executives. It doesn't help that there were some things that were genuinely good about the films (Ewan McGregor for one), so you get a glimmer of what could have been when you're watching them, which makes it worse than if they'd just been entirely bad.
I'm probably gonna get large, pointy objects thrown at me for this one, but here goes.

If the Anita Blake novels were ever to be made into film (the earlier ones, preferably), then I think Joss could do a good job with them. Anita is his type of character, and while the Buffy comparisons are sure to pop up, I still think it would be interesting to see.

*runs and hides*
I can't comment on Anita Blake, but I wouldn't have thought it'd be a good idea for Joss to do more vampire stuff (that isn't Buffy/Angel) because it'll send mixed messages to casual viewers, who perhaps won't realise it's a different universe, and it'll make Joss look like he hasn't got much of a range if he has to keep on doing vampire things, which of course isn't true at all.
I had the pleasure of listening to Swanson speak about Manhunt in June at my state's bar convention. The man is as dedicated and obsessive about his fascination with Lincoln as Joss is about any of his own projects. They'd complement one another well in creating a move from the book.

So, while I'd never have thought of this one myself, I think it's a smashing idea. Cast Timothy Olyphant as Booth and I think you've got a winner.
You're totally right, Saje: Forgetting Sarah Marshall was no Superbad. It was way better! ;-)

I liked Superbad, but I didn't buy the chemistry between Jonah Hill and Michael Cera, and I'm on the fence as to whether I even like Hill at all. The McLovin stuff was genius, though. And Forgetting Sarah Marshall, while not quite up there with The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, or even Pineapple Express, was a much more enjoyable Apatow production. At least in that one I was laughing consistently.
ETA: Ah, another inhabitant of Maniacia ;). I laughed a few times but not like I did at 'Superbad' (and I totally bought the friendship too, yet another teen movie that I actually found quite touching). But the puppet Dracula bit really was genius, best bit of the film for me.

... I just assign ultimate responsibility on George Lucas, who happens to be the director in this case.

Oh and quite rightly so MattK, the actual direction may not have been the problem but the director almost definitely was (we can't know this of course but my own feeling is he just doesn't have enough people telling him when stuff's shit - or maybe he does but then just doesn't listen. At all ;).

[ edited by Saje on 2008-08-10 17:39 ]
Like the article specifies, if there was unlimited Joss-time, some of those projects could be fun/spectacular spectacle for him to write/direct. In reality though, I'd rather see Joss originals than his adaptations.

I liked Forgetting Sarah Marshall more than Superbad (though I admit I laughed my ass off at a lot of Superbad), but I mean they're very different stories (FSM sets out to tell more of a story, whereas Superbad was more zany happenings from stoner-comedy-land). I guess I appreciated FSM for being more heartfelt and because it was centered around a performance (Jason Segel's) that was, IMO, stronger than Michael Cera and Jonah Hill's put together (and I'm a fan of Cera's for Arrested Development and Hill's okay so far). It didn't have as many laughs as Superbad, but it felt like a more "whole" film, overall (I wonder how many audience members the Dracula Musical lost--it was bizarre and uncommon, but I loved it).

Saw Pineapple Express last night. I didn't think I was going to like it as much as I did, James Franco is awesome again (haven't liked him this much since Freaks & Geeks, though I enjoyed his arc in the Spider-Man flicks too, especially in #3 when his whinyness ended), he's arguably the best thing about it (though I love Rogen too, he almost always seems like he's just playing himself. He was great here, but nothing new, y'know?). I thought I was burnt out on the stoner-comedy-genre-by-Judd-Apatow-and-company, but it worked for me, it was fun (if maybe a little longer than a comedy of this type needs to be).
I'll give you that, FSM (no, not you your noodly munificence ;) is more of a film with character arcs, a story etc. and 'Superbad' is more a set of loosely related "zany happenings" but I really do think they're both equally heartfelt. Like most of his films, there's enough truth in 'Superbad' to make it more than just a stoner comedy IMO (of what i've seen so far, i'd actually say 'Knocked Up' is, a few moments aside, the slightest of his films).
Robert Heinlein is one of my favorite Authors, but it seems no one has figured out how to translate his work properly to the Big Screen. Joss would be my choice if a Studio were to attempt Stranger in a Strange Land, Methusulah's Children, Friday, or (my favorite) Time Enough For Love.

I liked the Manhunt suggestion. Joss tackling another Genre would go a long way with strengthening his Artistic reputation with the so-called "main-stream". I can't remember the name of the book, but there was a recent Novel about Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis and Clark fame), examining his mysterious death, and arguing for the theory that he was mentally unstable. Joss could run wild on stuff like that.

Nothing, however, is more interesting than what Joss comes up with on his own!
I'd love to see Joss do a big-screen version of Firefly.
This may be so mainstream and obvious that it ventures into lame-land, but here goes:

I really REALLY want to see Joss helm the final Harry Potter movie(s). With the amount of death, drama & craziness that happens in book 7, I think he would be a great fit.
If Orson Scott Card ever releases the rights to Ender's Game, only Joss could do it justice. How 'bout putting your baby in those hands, OSC?
OH, TDBrown, you are so right about the Heinlein choice.
I want Joss to direct both parts of Deathly Hallows, thus combining two of my three favorite obsessions neatly.
I would have added the latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight, to the list. Joss's notion of handling irredeemable evil (Kill on sight.) is much more satisfactory.
I love, love, love Avenue Q; I never would have thought to wish for Joss to get involved in that, but now I'm completely crushing on that idea!

The suggestion for Joss to direct Deathly Hallows makes me sad because I know it isn't going to happen. :-(
I would have added the latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight, to the list.

What is this, a mass emigration to Maniacia ? Come back, unManiacia isn't even sinking ! ;-)

(true though, I think we all agree Chris Nolan did a terrible job [/not reallyness] ;)
I think Avenue Q has been suggested by some other source in the past. Just because Angel had a puppet episode doesn't mean Joss should start getting his puppet freak on. I liked the John Wilkes-Booth non-fiction suggestion and can see him doing it, but Joss' metier really seems to lie in fiction. While Joss is a self-admitted geek, the rest of the suggestions seem to be well, because of that. I'd like to see him direct something wildly romantic and dangerous, close to In the Cut territory, only a lot better than that film, which would be a given.
Y'know, when I saw Monster Island, I thought they meant the Christopher Golder Buffy novel- and I'd certainly agree, that's the one book I'd love to have seen made into a movie. :-)
Oh, I don't think it's just about the puppet connection, Tonya J. Avenue Q takes a pretty silly premise and manages to be at once funny and original and a sharp commentary on a lot of relevant issues - which is a lot of what I loved about Buffy.
Oh, Manhunt, that's brilliant.

Add me to the list of those calling for him to direct Deathly Hallows. I've enjoyed a couple of the HP movies, but think the definitive HP movie is yet to be made. I think Joss could do it.
The more I think about this, the more I'd like to see a straight romantic suspense movie from Joss, kind of similar in tone to what we know of Dollhouse, a bit less SF-y, a bit more noir-y. With the humor and deeper emotions he brings to his projects, it could be an Oscar-winner.
Maybe not Manhunt. Maybe Manhunter. You know, Kate Spencer. Female lawyer/vigilante. Just a thought.
Are you talking live action, Liam Mars? I had to go look that up - never heard of her before. I always thought a female Equalizer would be an interesting concept, as well.
I always thought a female Equalizer would be an interesting concept, as well.

It could be entitled, Equalizer Now.
Heh ;).

Tagline (in true voice-over man style): "She's like gravity - if you're a criminal, you're going down !".
If Orson Scott Card ever releases the rights to Ender's Game, only Joss could do it justice. How 'bout putting your baby in those hands, OSC? Volo

Well, Volo, they are looking for a new director for Ender's Game, according to io9:

You can forget your dreams of a Das Boot/Enemy Mine-style version of Orson Scott Card's classic novel Ender's Game. Director Wolfgang Petersen, previously attached to the project, has moved on, producers tell io9. Chartoff Productions is busy meeting with a slew of potential directors for the Ender's movie, which they hope will start filming by early 2009.

I think Joss would be a great choice for directing Ender's Game, but he seems to be just a mite too busy right now...
Joss should have written and directed the new X-Files movie. Then it wouldn't have sucked beyond belief. Gay organ harvesters? Whaaaa? Thanks Chris Carter, thanks.
Bix, Saje - You laugh now .... :>0
Orson Scott Card discussing Serenity;

"So here's what I have to say about Serenity:

This is the kind of movie that I have always intended Ender's Game to be (though the plots are not at all similar).

And this is as good a movie as I always hoped Ender's Game would be.

And I'll tell you this right now: If Ender's Game can't be this kind of movie, and this good a movie, then I want it never to be made."

Sounds to me like OSC would be interested in having Joss involved.

[ edited by samatwitch on 2008-08-11 00:00 ]
samatwitch, oh, wow, thanks for that quotation. It hadn't occurred to me that he might've been written about Serenity. I would also love to see Joss tackle Ender's Game. It'd be very easy to make a bad, superficial adaptation of Ender's Game (i.e. just the main plot points, the action/CGI, ending, etc. -- and totally neglect the really interesting things). It sort of reminds me of Harry Potter too, in that they're both very engrossing books, but very difficult to make into films because of the age of the characters.

ETA: He has some other interesting things to say about Serenity/Firefly in samatwitch's link, so if anyone's interested it's worth checking out. In fact, I think it's fair to say, he's positively bursting with praise for Joss.

[ edited by MattK on 2008-08-11 01:04 ]
damaged justice August 10, 15:58 CET:
Add She-Hulk to the list. I'd kill to see Joss write and direct it.

Strewth. Also: Runaways, Incredible Hercules, X-Men 4, Terry Moore's Echo, a musical version of The Boys, and Doctor Who: The Last Time War.
GOOD one, sama!
Speaking again of Orson Scott Card.... If you haven't done so yet, pick up a copy of the Jane Espenson-edited Serenity Found, and read the fabulous essay contributed by OSC. In it he writes:

Joss Whedon... is a new breed of film sci-fi writer: He knows how to read, he know how to think, he knows how to create new milieux, believable characters, smart technology, plausible cultures, and great dramatic and comic scenes and dialogue.

It's just possible that Firefly and Serenity have pulled the whole sci-fi genre up to a level where it is possible for science fiction as good as the best of contemporary print sci-fi to be put on the screen.

I sure hope so, because I have a script right here....

Saje, I don't know if we can be friends anymore. Knocked Up is, by far, my favorite Apatow flick...
Someone told me that in the movie Knocked Up there is a scene with the main characters standing in front of the doors to The Element, the nightclub that Serenity Starfury LA was held.

...Just in case anyone was wondering...
Orson Scott Card has had a lot to say about Firefly and Serenity, and we on whedonesque have had a lot to say about Orson Scott Card over the years, as well. I post these not to start the discussions up again - heaven forfend, at least for my part - but to let people who did not know about his love for Serenifly see a few of the links and discussions from the past few years:

February 03 2005 - Orson Scott Card reviews Firefly.

May 29 2005 - Orson Scott Card with more praise for Whedon shows.

October 04 2005 - Orson Scott Card reviews Serenity.

March 01 2007 - Orson Scott Card praises Firefly, Firefly fans.
I was wondering if someone else would bring that up. Yeah, despite Orson Scott Card's well-recorded views on that thing that two consenting adults of the same gender sometimes do (and randy teens), I guess it's kinda cool to have a science fiction legend who frequently sings Joss' praises.

Hey, for those looking forward to an Ender's Game movie, they're currently doing a comic book.

[ edited by Kris on 2008-08-11 08:18 ]
For the sci-fi authors, I can see Stephenson and OSCard (both of whom I love like a crazy thing), but Heinlein? Heinlein has far too much of an anti-woman undercurrent for Joss to do it. And I'm not just being a under-bridge-dwelling-torch-wielding bitch, I'm serious. All the women are beautiful, intelligent and yet want to be secretaries and sex-bots for his male heroes. No no no no no.

How about Joanna Russ' sci-fi anthology The Adventures of Alyx? From wiki: "The eponymous heroine, Alyx, is (intentionally) described with different attributes across the different stories, although she remains reasonably constant inasmuch as she is depicted as a realistic human being, not the cliched fantasy woman prevalent across much of the genre." Maybe some nice background reading for Dollhouse actually.
UnpluggedCrazy: Saje, I don't know if we can be friends anymore. Knocked Up is, by far, my favorite Apatow flick...

Well, will you at least send me a postcard from your planet ? I'm dying to know what colour the sky is.

I'd just like to see him direct Serenity 2 thanks!
Heinlein has far too much of an anti-woman undercurrent for Joss to do it. And I'm not just being a under-bridge-dwelling-torch-wielding bitch, I'm serious. All the women are beautiful, intelligent and yet want to be secretaries and sex-bots for his male heroes. No no no no no.
curlymynci | August 11, 09:32 CET

A million thanks for saying exactly what I was thinking. I loved Heinlein when I was a kid discovering SciFi (my parents had all his books) but as I grew up and became a feminist, I found I could no longer tolerate the blatant sexist undercurrent in all his stuff.
Nothing against Heinlein personally, he remains one on the giants of the genre and was a product of his time, but I think a worse match with Joss, could hardly be found.

My dream for Joss is still an HBO mimi-series of Roger Zelazny's nine part Chronicles of Amber. And not just to direct, also to adapt the screenplays. Because Zelazny's "voice" and twisted sense of humor are nearer in eccentric tone to Joss's, than any author I've ever read. Or maybe Jane E. could do the screenplays, she'd be another perfect translator of Zelazny's unique voice.

Just please, no singing puppets. anywhere, ever. ;-)
No singing puppets? I guess that the prejudices and preconceptions that we've gotten over ourselves are the most difficult to accept in others. Shey, watch Farscape, let yourself fall in love with Pilot, and then think what a brilliant chorus character (with his own agenda) he would be in a musical.

I don't think that Joss needs to revisit any of the scifi writers, over doing his own stuff. I admired Orson Scott Card for his short story work during the 80's, but reading Enders's Game ended that for me. It gave me the same kind of queasy that J.D. Salinger's work did. I don't know quite how to explain it - reinvading childhood with a somewhat pervy vengeance - I guess that's about the best I can do. It might be nice for me if Joss had ever expressed a connection with Ursula K. LeGuin, and could undo the sordid that the Scifi channel did to the Earthsea series, but I think he's probably got better things to with his time than that, too.
Gotta agree in principle with dreamlogic, I'd rather see Joss create his own stuff, since he can't actually be cloned ;-)
But I'd still jump at an exception for The Chronicles of Amber, which to me would just be a match made in some bizarre SciFi/fantasy heaven dimension.
Random thoughts: I may try Farscape again at some point, but... then again maybe not. I also have no love for Ursula K. Le Guin (yes, I'm the one ;) ). I found Forgetting Sarah Marshall to be the least impressive of the Apatow-related cloud.
None of the Apatow-related cloud-movies are interesting. I found them to be equivalent to watching bums dive the dumpsters, and paying for it. I was disappointed in some of the actors who played in FSM.

My sky color is green, BTW.

I think it was echoed before the decent into insanity began, but I like Joss' work. Yes, Saje, he is a great writer, and I think through the years he has a vision for how his words should be played on screen. He ensures that by being a director. I love his framing and "in the moment"-ness. I didn't see any shout-outs for Goners, Serving Girl, Ripper... did see one for Wonder Woman. What's up with that?
None of the Apatow-related cloud-movies are interesting.


I didn't see any shout-outs for Goners, Serving Girl, Ripper... did see one for Wonder Woman. What's up with that?

Is half the posting population here smoking something funny lately :)? [just to reiterate, yes that is a joke]
zeitgeist, since the "babies" incident, I quit drinking tea. I'm curious though on the origin of your joke. Did I miss the references? :? Sorry, it's been a long day, and I will admit that I started skimming after the first 30 or so, but I didn't see 'em. Just wondering...

I'm not taking back my views on Apatow though. ;)

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