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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
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August 25 2003

Where's Joss' credit for X-Men? I don't quite know what the rules are here, so please just delete this if it's inappropriate -- but I wanted to ask the whedonesque community a question. We all know that Joss worked on some big movies, but where are the credits?

[ edited by flutie on 2003-08-25 03:52 ]

I recently watched the X-Men 1.5 DVD and at the part where Wolverine says to Cyclops "you're a dick" the director says "that line always gets a laugh" but I was waiting for him to say "Joss Whedon, the genius who created Buffy, wrote that line".

I know that Joss wrote it because he says so in that great Onion Av Club interview. He also worked on "Speed" and "Toy Story", right?

He gets one of the eight writing credits for Toy Story, but isn't mentioned in the credits of Speed at all.

I guess I'm really asking how Hollywood works when so many writers are involved in a project -- and, if I'm trying to win over a Buffy-Skeptic by name-checking Joss' writing on Speed, etc., what do I say when they look it up and say "no he didn't"?

And is Joss breaking some kind of industry code of silence by talking about his uncredited work on these movies?

I read somewhere that Kevin Smith (Clerks, Dogma, ect) wrote one of the drafts of "Coyote Ugly". He said the only line they kept was the "I played in the minor leagues but never went pro" line about being a lesbian. He said that apparently some studios give the script to a few diffrent writers, have them all do diffrent versions and they only keep bits and pieces of each one. Im not sure but I dont think they give him credit either. He did mention that some writers make a living just re-writing movies and not getting any credit.
There's no glory in being a script doctor, just money. That's why screenwriters do it.

The Writer's Guild also has some strange rules regarding screen credit. (One need no look further than Terry Gilliam's argument with the Guild over Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas for proof of this.) A writer who comes in for a couple of weeks and turns in a script the studio ultimately doesn't like for some reason -- which is what happened with Joss on X-Men -- typically won't get a screen credit, even if a line or two remains from their draft. Deciding who does get that credit...well, that can be a complicated process.
Good post. The rules are here by the way.
and, if I'm trying to win over a Buffy-Skeptic by name-checking Joss' writing on Speed, etc., what do I say when they look it up and say "no he didn't"?

Here are two different interviews with Graham Yost, the credited writer of Speed, where they mention Whedon't input:

http://tv.zap2it.com/tveditorial/tve_main/1,1002,271|81677|1|,00.html

http://members.aol.com/acmagazine/ac4/yost.html

(On the second, scroll down to the actual questions. There is one question about Whedon towards the top, but if you scroll down further, they discuss him a little more.)

[ edited by forcorreo on 2003-08-25 07:34 ]
Thanks everyone for your replies. That stuff about Gilliam is fascinating and reminded me of this very useful piece in Salon, which explains things like the strangled syntax where a movie can be written by "you & I and he and she" where the ampersand is not the same as the word "and"...

http://archive.salon.com/ent/feature/1998/10/09feature.html
On the movie's IMDb trivia page, there's a list of uncredited screenwriters: "While the WGA credits approbation, several writers involved on the script have decided to not be credited and David Hayter receive solo credit. The writers who contributed uncredited are; Ed Solomon, Christopher McQuarrie, Joss Whedon, James Schamus & John Logan." Also it mentions Michael Chabon's early involvement, which can be read about here.
Script doctors, I think, pretty much know going in that they're not going to get a credit unless the studio really loves their draft. And probably not even then.

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