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December 04 2004

Adam Baldwin on seeing the rough cut of 'Serenity'. "With temp effects, the BDM still kicks a$$!!! You'll love it!". He also mentions that there may be test screenings in the very near future. And if you're looking for a bigger version of the cast pic that recently appeared on the Dutch UIP website, then click here.

So for the spoiler whores, we'll hopefully see some reports turn up at AICN. Or even here, if one of our posters is very lucky to go to one.

Okaaaaay...how do I sign up for a test screening...

But, wondering if this is a focus group type of thing where they gauge viewer response to various endings...still...I want to go!
I love all this excitement, but when was the last time an actor said the movie sucked? *devils advocate*
Good point, Gage, but their not saying it's good or even very good, they all seem fabulously convinced that this is *the goods*...so either they've collectively imbibed of the Joss Koolaid or...it's really the goods...I'm betting on the latter...
Ok, it would so rock if living in LA paid off here and they had some test screenings around town that were open to fans...
Actually there are a number of actors in Hollywood that upon seeing the final product of a movie will tell people not to see it because it sucks, if they feel it was way different than to what they signed on for. Even some directors and writers will do this if they feel the studio hacked their original vision of a film. So even though it is not the norm it does happen sometime.
Yeah, the first one that comes to mind is Bill Murray with Charlie's Angels. He refused to do press for it even. Said he regretted doing it, that it was trash.

Reports were that he couldn't get along with Lucy Liu, but hey, who knows what the real story was. But he darn sure didn't do any press for it.
I think what has become common lately is not to say something negative, but to NOT say something positive. When Pierce Brosnan was asked about his new movie After the Sunset, he just said, "It was a decent payday," or something similar. I think Colin Firth said, after Bridget Jones 2 was released, that no one was eager to sign up for the 2nd film, and there was nothing he could think he'd like to do less than star in a 3rd installment. Not really saying that it's bad, but not really praising it either!

Maybe it's a Euro thing...
BTW, wanted to mention that a friend of mine found out that Adam will not be at the Gen Con convention in Anaheim, but substituting for him is none other than... Morena Baccarin. On top of that, she apparently cut her hair, which is now down to her chin... but I'm told she still looks fantastic.
That's true. While most actors are willing to shill a movie, most are unwilling to outright lie on the scale AB did -- i.e. with adj. like "great," "thrilling" etc. His enthusiasm sounds real. When most actors are made to promote their movie and don't actually like said movie, they don't bother to lie. Like Salma Hayek did on a talk show for After the Sunset, where she talked on and on about how fun the movie had been to make and how she took the part basically because it was a location shoot in some balmy, sunny Caribbean country. Actors also tend to talk a lot about the characters they play when they don't overall believe in the final product.

Maybe it's a science fiction/fantasy true enthusiasm thing, but the LoTR actors were all passionately excited and enthused about the movies they made, in every show and DVD extra they appeared on. And AB sounds like they do, like he passionately believes in the movie that was made, and believes it will kick ass. The cool thing is that I totally believe him.

The thing about test screenings though... I don't know if I'm going to be strong enough to resist the inevitable and detailed spoilers.
Pssh. I'm not worried a bit. There's NO WAY I'm going to resist the spoilers. Heh heh.
I asked Nathan about the screening today, he said wonderful glowing things about it. He said the fans will love it, but things that non fans will find it pretty darn good too. He couldn't say enough good things about it, but then said he was biased as he is in love with it.

He also had a whole bunch of new Serenity publicity shots with him.

And yes, Morena was there instead of Adam, her hair is much shorter, but she was still lovely as always.

I'm just too darn excited!!!
Oh, wow! Any chance you got your hands on those publicity shots and could let us see them as well, Mal'sGal?
Rogue Slayer et al. > Unfortunately, I don't think that Universal wants us as part of their test audiences ;p. I think they'll probably be looking for people who don't know Joss at all or, at the most, remember Buffy as "that dumb show about the cheerleader who killed vampires." It's no doubt that the Whedon fan audience will see Serenity, but I think that another important thing is, how many "new fans" or normal moviegoers will Serenity cultivate, which I think is the one of the many points of test screenings...
I suppose this is as good a place as any to mention that the Dutch Universal Pictures website have a wallpaper version of that cast pic I posed here a couple of weeks ago.

Relevant link
I've never seen 'Firefly' and my interest in 'Serenity' would probably be minimal were it not for Joss Whedon. I will go to see the film but it's not something I can honestly say I'm especially excited about in itself. I hope it does well because it will be good for Joss and the future. However, it doesn't go further than that for me.

I mention this because the comments made by Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, etc, that I've been reading sound genuinely sincere and positive. Obviously, they want to promote their film, a success at the box office would be good for them, but I get the distinct impression that they think it is something really quite special.

I agree with Rogue Slayer that you can often tell when an actor doesn't have much faith in the film they've made, even if they don't actually say so. If we consider someone closer to home, it was very obvious that Sarah Michelle Gellar had no real interest in 'SD2', but she went all out in her promotion of 'The Grudge', a film she clearly was proud of being involved in.
dashboardprophet, if you've never seen Firefly, then you should pick up a copy (only 17.99 here), you won't regret it, and then you'll be as excited as the rest of us about the movie.

It's on UK SCI.FI quite often too.
What Ghost Spike said...in spades.
Edward Norton in The Italian Job? He was only there as a contractual obligation, and didn't do any press because he hated and resented the whole thing.

As for Baldwin's comments, while it's unusual for an actor to come out and say "This film sucks" (Norton didn't do that, Murray only did it posthumously), how normal is it for an actor to post on an internet messageboard to see how much it rocks? That doesn't happen very often, and while Baldwin is obviously biased as hell, I don't think he's just lying or anything.

Rogue Slayer: I've seen Brosnan interviewed multiple times about After The Sunset, and each time he's talked at length about the movie, said he had a lot of fun doing it, and said that he'd be interested in doing a sequel should a script be given to him that he liked. I think comments like "It was a good payday" are probably jovial, and just talking about the fact that he had a lot of fun making the movie even if it isn't deeply intellectual fare that's going to win him an Oscar. Think 'Salma Hayek'. Sounds like a good payday to me :).
Ghost Spike, thanks for the link, I've just ordered Firefly.
dashboardprophet, as a Joss Whedon devotee you really might wish to give Firefly a go. I was also initially not terribly excited (not being a scifi or western fan) but now I'm in love. An astounding series.
I'm kinda with Gage; the more someone waxes a product before it's even completed--bings the caution light for me. It doesn't make a lot of sense, I know they have to do advance PR--but I just don't like the feeling of being 'pushed.' I gotta admit--this is having the opposite effect on me. I was so-so on the idea, like maybe I would go see it; but all this cheerleading is kinda turning me off. I'm not sure why I'm feeling this way, but I am.

Maybe it's because I would prefer a specific critique even from sighing actors in love with their product--I understand they can't give away plot points, but then it just becomes a wash of enthusiastic hyperbole--and tends to feel to me like:

BUY THIS CEREAL! NOWWWW! CUZ MY SMILING FACE IS NEXT TO IT!!

But, I guess, that's why I don't like PR in general.

I like the product, not the push.
I would like to see 'Firefly', although I am not a huge fan of modern sci-fi in general. Had the show come to terrestrial TV in Britain, I would have watched it. I don't have cable, and I just don't watch enough TV to make it a worthwhile investment. I have a liking for one or two TV shows, but that's about it. My wife is a fan of 'The West Wing' and 'Six Feet Under'. I have watched both and enjoyed them, but I can take it or leave it. Normally, I leave it, because what spare time I do have is devoted to watching BtVS.

I have to say that the comparisons made between 'Serenity' and 'The Searchers' intrigues me. That classic John Ford/John Wayne western is one of the greatest films I've ever seen, and I've often thought that Angel is reminiscent of Ethan Edwards.

Thank you to Ghost Spike for the tip about the 'Firefly' DVD. I am tempted. My wife has actually just bought me DVDs of S3 and S4 of 'Angel' (for my birthday), another show that has largely passed me by. I intend to sit down soon to watch these and really concentrate on them. Up until now it has been a show that I quite like, but it hasn't grabbed a hold of me on an emotional level in the way that BtVS does. In fact, the passion I have for BtVS is quite unlike anything I've ever experienced. I can't explain it, really, although I guess my past academic background in feminist philosophy has a lot to do with it.
BforBeth, Adam posted his enthusiastic review on a Firefly fan website to which he posts regularly. People there are positively delirious for any scrap of Serenity info. Pushy PR or sharing with already enthused fans, among whom Adam counts himself a member? The latter, I think. Nobody at that site needs to be "pushed" into seeing Serenity.
I guess that is a difference I didn't consider. He is not saying this to Jay leno or to some random annoying critic, hes saying this to some random regular joes and joettes on the internet.

[ edited by Gage on 2004-12-04 19:48 ]
the more someone waxes a product before it's even completed--bings the caution light for me. It doesn't make a lot of sense...

Indeed, except that Serenity is not a product, it's a labor of love for Joss Whedon and every single member of the cast. [These are actors who have said on multiple occasions that, if necessary and if financially possible, they'd have worked for Joss for free.] They loved making Firefly, they were heartbroken when it was cancelled so early, and ecstatic when Universal gave Serenity a greenlight. When you work hard on something you believe in so passionately, you want other people to enjoy it as much as you do.

I'm amazed at how certain Buffyverse actors get criticized for not being enthusiastic enough about the show and its mythology, and Firefly actors get criticized for being too giddy about their Big Damn Movie. How cynical do we have to be, people?
Thanks plebotinin, that actually does put it in a different light for me. Chatting with friends is a different vibe than pushing.

I'm the person who always, always mutes the commercials and doesn't really enjoy talk show spin either, clips are valuable because it's a way for the work to be able to speak for itself.

Most artists prefer that.

I meant my post more as a jokey thing than a flaming thing.
And I seem to remember James saying once that Joss didn't really like it when he waxed on about how great he was. JM gave the impression that Joss thought he overdid the 'ode to Joss'. And I thought that was wise of Joss to view such comments judiciously. It just tends to be less credible when it's ALL in exlamation marks.

I prefer presective, that's all. Glory the story with a bibliography, but unfortunatly, I realize these actors are all in the position of singing their movies' praises without us seeing what they are talking about and so it makes it seem hollow to me.

I wish they could talk about the story and fire up my imagination with something specific.

I remember way back when; I was first in line to see this odd movie called 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer.' The title of the film itself caught my imagination. I got the whole tongue in cheek thing way back then. The movie failed for a lot of different reasons--but that didn't stop me from hooking into the series. The storyline fired my imagination. It dealt with our immediate world, in an immediate way.

Firefy doesn't fire my imagination--it's set in space, far away from our lives and has a revolutionary theme; all too common and why haven't humans learned something by the time they get to the big equipment? Why are we fighting the same battles of dominion?

No, they need to fire me up about the story--Joss, is great, I already know Joss is great. So is Dean Koontz, so is Orson Scott Card--that doesn't mean I'm interested in every story they write.

I think they should spend their energy to get me hot about the story. Will I discover something new about what it means to be a human being? You know, provoke me with proposals like that.

That's all.
Personally Firefly probably fired up my imagination more than Buffy or Angel. Buffy/Angel was very well-done allegory. Firefly was an immense vision of philosphy and character in space, including a cast of people you could like and love.

To me the idea that we havn'e evolved much further in the future in Firefly doesn't matter, the show is about the past/present and future melding into one. The culture it depicts is unique and intriguing. The characters are more relatable, even in Space, than anything like Star Trek has ever been to me, becuase while they are sometimes moral, they argue and bicker, steal and smuggle.

To me the characters, the concept, is absolutely fascinating.

Many of us who are awaiting the film are big fans of the show, most of us already know deep down how good this will likely be, how the plot will fire our imagination. Telling us the plot beyond what we already know will merely spoil it. To hear a cast who truly love the work they did to me, is the best thing that can happen.

As for Joss the Genius. I think the work speaks for itself, he wrote 3 brilliant television series which were full of more imagination than anything else I've seen in that medium. His writing is clever and speaks to me. His characters develop and are 3-dimensional. He has done nothing since Alien Ressurection (which I don't blame him for) that I havn't liked.

To me he is a genius, and that is reason enough for me to watch or read whatever he releases, I have yet to be dissapointed.

[ edited by rabid on 2004-12-04 21:34 ]
While I do not for one moment intend this to in any way undermine the vision of Joss Whedon, we should also give credit to all the other great writers who worked with him on his shows. I think he would be the first to say that he could not have done it without them.
I agree dashboardprophet. The show couldn't be what it was without such wonderful writers, merely commenting on Joss for a moment. :)
Dashboardprophet, I come to the buffyverse from a somewhat similar perspective. I've never watched much TV, had never gotten hooked on a tv show before, and never could have imagined becoming as gripped by a TV show as I was with Buffy once I discovered it. Since then, I've found a number of TV shows (mostly after the fact on DVD) that I like, but none with the same level of passion that i feel for Buffy. Even Angel, while i love the show, doesn't have me going back and rewatching episodes or feeling quite the emotional impact that I do for Buffy.
As for Firefly i resisted watching it for a long time. I"ve never been a sci-fi fan, it was on TV on friday nights, and the one episode I caught some of when it was airing didn't do much for me. I finally broke down and rented the DVDs through netflix, (and later bought them). I will say that it took, perhaps, four or five eps for me to really get into the characters and story. But once I was, i was hooked, and seeing it break off so abruptly, in the middle of the story, was wrenching. It's still not on the level of BtVS for me, and i haven't gone back and rewatched many episodes, but it's definitely worth seeing, and grabbed me far more than any sci-fi story ever has before (perhaps because it's ultimately about very contemporary-feeling emotions and people, who happen to be underdogs and very fallible, rather than machines and gizmos and heroic explorers of the universe). At some point, you should buy/borrow/rent the DVDs and see what you think sadly, it won't take too much time.
acp, would you please email me?

(Sorry about the OT, mods, but she doesn't have an email in profile.)
Firefy doesn't fire my imagination--it's set in space, far away from our lives and has a revolutionary theme; all too common and why haven't humans learned something by the time they get to the big equipment? Why are we fighting the same battles of dominion?

The show isn't about revolution. It's about life after a war -- the war gets referenced as a cause for the circumstances we're seeing, but the true focus of the show is on these characters' lives on the edge of "civilized" society, with a particular emphasis on River's character, because she's the special character. Much like Buffy, she has special abilities that make things happen. I don't really find that revolutionary politics has much to do with the theme of the show, which is about making a life for yourself on the edge of society while keeping your independence and moral vision somehow both intact. Not to mention that I find that the whole "people are the same despite advanced technology and 500 years" thing valid and honest. No amount of technology or years will change the basic nature of institutions or people.

It frustrates me sometimes to have to describe the show because it's like Buffy all over again. For people not in the know, BtVS is a show about vampires and a cheerleader-ish chick in leather pants kicking ass. It's culty and colorful and full of quips. I have a professor whom I respect a lot and is very smart and hip (he assigned The Rocky Horror Picture Show to the class, and it's going to be on the final) and he made a disparaging comment about how he can't stand the show and I felt all flinchy inside because all the things he could accuse the show of are true: it's cheesy, it revels in horror and puns, it sometimes has appalling bad production values. And don't get me wrong, I enjoy all of those things. If the show were more serious and less amusing, I'd love it less. But it can also be beautiful and moving and true, and if I'd said that in class, I'd have looked ridiculous.

I can't say anything about Firefly that would convince anybody who hasn't already seen the show to try it out, but I will say that while not on the same level of BtVS for me (it didn't have the chance to grow to that level), it had the same sort of feeling about it, a... meaningful sort of vibe. Watching it felt different than most other Tv shows -- it's not the same kind of animal as BtVS, but it has the same sense of passion behind it. Everything felt significant and alive, and nothing felt rote.

And to those who are especially reluctant to see the movie, think about it this way: even if you're not inclined to SF, the movie will probably be the last we'll see of Joss for a long-ish time.
I wish they could talk about the story and fire up my imagination with something specific.

Well, if you'd watched the show already and paid a bit more attention to what actors like Nathan Fillion and Summer Glau have been saying in recent weeks, your imagination would be fired up. Unfortunately, tidbits like, and won't mean anything to someone who hasn't seen the show.
I actually think that Firefly -- even in it's truncated state -- was the most accomplished, the least flawed, of the three shows and was clearly the most intelligent of the TV shows dealing with space travel.

Of course, I'm a big fan of classic westerns it partially emulates, so I might be as biased as Adam Baldwin. (On the other hand, those of you who say you don't like Westerns probably haven't seen enough of the really good ones. I think bad TV westerns in the sixties like "Bonanza" really kind of ruined the genre for a lot of people, including me until I got to film school.)

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