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June 10 2014

Joss Whedon talks about working on the movie 'Speed'. Today is the 20th anniversary of Speed (yes, you may feel old) and HuffPost Entertainment has a fairly substantial interview with Joss about working on it.

It's so clear that Joss was an important part of the movie. The characters and dialogue are what make the movie. The action is just a device to bring out the personalities of the characters. That is all Joss.
When Keanu asks why her license was suspended and Sandra answers "Speeding"...SUCH a Joss line.
Pet peeve directed to the person who transcribed Joss's words for this: "defuse" and "diffuse" sound somewhat similar but have very different meanings.
"I have the only poster with my credit on it." - My god that sounds so sad... poor Joss :-)
Interesting. And I sort of understand it. Don't agree with it but it does make 1940 type sense.

Obviously there is a desire to sharply differentiate between plot and dialogue. IIRC the Oscars
have a separate category for best adapted screenplay and I would be shocked if their definition
is greatly different from the WGA's.

If the original screenplay had been been a book instead then if I understand things correctly
then a screenplay adapted by credit would have been given. What actually happened fell outside
of their narrow definitions.
tomg: They had an issue with quotation marks and their/they're as well. *shutter*
I think it's "shudder," not "shutter." Sorry, couldn't resist.
I had to eye-roll at the idea that Sandra Bullock's character would only be able to say something funny if she was a stand-up comic.
I had to eye-roll at the idea that Sandra Bullock's character would only be able to say something funny if she was a stand-up comic.


Oh, but think of the opportunities lost! They could have had someone sitting just behind her who just happened to have a snare drum and cymbals.
Like those of you above, I cringe when I see such obvious errors in grammar and transcriptions by people who make a living as writers. On the other hand, it's wonderful how much insight we get about Joss's working and thinking processes in such interviews. And, while I'm glad Graham Yost has had the humanity to give Joss credit for some of the dialogue, I'm glad that now, twenty years after the fact, Joss has the opportunity to talk about how much he actually did with the script and with the characters. I had no idea about the extent of his input, even though--once I knew who Joss was and was familiar with his work--I have thought, when seeing repeats on television, that his contributions were more extensive than adding a bit of humor in some of the dialogue.
It's kind of funny that there was an interview in Entertainment Weekly with Yost today where he also singles out the "pop quiz, hotshot" line. He attributes it Joss but thinks it works really well as a snappy punch up of his original version?
http://insidemovies.ew.com/2014/06/10/speed-20th-anniversary-graham-yost/

(He also says the reason he doesn't bring up Joss on the commentary is because of a WGA or otherwise legal issue.)
Terrific interview. I love to hear his thought's on how you sell a story. I think Speed is one of his greatest accomplishments, albeit a quiet, largely unrecognized one. That movie is a real gem, and by all accounts, it would have sucked without Joss.

Am I the only one who finds it a bit ironic that it was the WGA that robbed him of this credit?

[ edited by Squishy on 2014-06-10 23:20 ]
Oh my God I'm so old.
I absolutely love it when Joss gets into the mechanics of a script, there are few better at it when it comes to genre stuff. And I'm delighted he put the glaringly unfair politics of this particular assignment aside and just talked about the work itself for the first time. A real treat of an interview.
Yes I do feel old, you are not wrong. What a lovely and informative article! (Pity they don't employ copy editors anymore.)

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