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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
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September 30 2011

Random Roles: Thomas Jane. The AV Club talks to Thomas Jane about roles he's played over his career. Includes his very fond memories of Joss and the BTVS movie table read.

So I guess it took awhile for Joss and Old Man Sutherland to be at each other's throats, huh? I say that because Thomas' comments don't seem to say Donald Sutherland was screwing around with his lines right out of the gate. Still, glad to see SOME good vibes come from the experience of making the film ;)
Thomas Jane was in it? How did I miss him?
You missed him for the same reason I did. He wasn't THE Thomas Jane back then, just as it's easy to forget that Hilary Swank is also in the film. Both actors were VERY young back then and have changed considerably over time.

I think the "terrible" experience derived from making the film has been perpetuated over the years, either by a specific number of behind-the-scenes folks (namely, Joss which is quite reasonable) or by the fans (of Joss in particular and not necessarily of the film). Admittedly, that's more second-hand so grain of salt and whatnot.

In interviews I've come across from various members of cast and crew (like this one, mostly from the cast), the memories seem to be mostly positive, and to a strong degree in fact. Though I have a preference toward the TV series (for a number of reasons), my opinions on the film have never changed. I liked the movie before the show was even a thing, and still like it just as much now, and never in an ironic, "Hipster" kind of way. To quote Ted, "I'm just not wired that way." :)

I've always chalked it up to this: Joss's material is very distinct and specific. It has to be handled/executed in a very delicate way or it just falls apart and comes off as being bad (see the infamous "Toad and lightning" scene from X-Men. Or don't). Obviously, he had a particular sound and tone for his Buffy script. An execution that either the folks in charge simply "didn't get" or just chose to change to suit their needs/preferences.

Now, was this "better"? I've not read the original script, but having a decent understanding and appreciation of Whedon's later works, I'm just going to assume the answer is "no", which seems to be the overall objective consensus anyway. I think arguing on whether or not that direction is at all a "good idea" is much more subjective and open for discussion.

My issue with the whole thing is when folks try to make it personal, as if the Kuzuis (or whoever) set out to make a "bad" film on purpose, especially to piss off Joss himself. I find that thinking childish and absurd. To me, it's more a common clashing of creative differences (and again, I don't put the blame squarely on the Kuzuis. There are more than just those two cooks in that kitchen).

Having said that, it could be that the Kuzuis completely made the film that they wanted to make, without any compromises and they could be completely satisfied with and even proud of how the film turned out. I doubt it, but it's certainly possible. In any event, when the idea for a series came around, they did bother to ask Joss if he was cool with it, when it appears that they were in no legal obligations to do so. Furthermore, they asked Joss to come in and do his own thing, make the show what he (I'm guessing) wanted the movie to be in the first place. All they asked was to receive some form of producing credit, as is their right. I think that's commendable.

Beyond that, (and more to the point) Thomas Jane further cements my assumptions of him being a cool, stand-up guy. I hope he gets to work with Joss again someday.

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