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August 28 2005

This article gives brief descriptions of the films considered for the first directors award at the EIFF.

The reason given is that "it seemed against the spirit of the award to recognise not only someone who is already a household name, but also whose film is derived from already well-known filmed material."

Also, the audience award went to Tsotsi.
At least the article admitted that "Serenity" was popular with those who attended the festival. But they should have considered how hard it was to get "Serenity" made at all. A TV show that aired for just three months isn't that well-known compred to, say, making "Bewitched" into a movie. Also, I can't think of any other people who have only directed TV episodes make the jump to movies aside from Joss.
It's nice to have someone recognize that Alias would not have existed without Buffy having gone first.

Or maybe the writer just made a mistake. I like the first idea better.
Household name? Joss Whedon? Ah, no. Not here, not in America. Maybe that's how they do things in Britain...they've got that Royal Family and all kinds of problems...but here at Sunnydale, nobody leaves campus while sch--wait. Where was I?

Seriously. Steven Spielberg is a household name. Ron Howard and Clint Eastwood are household names. Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese. Soderbergh and Tarantino, and Tim Burton. And I think Christopher Nolan will end up as one. But that's about it, in America. Joss Whedon is not a household name. I'd never heard of the man before Buffy's Season 6 premiere pulled me headlong into the world of the Slayer. And if I've never heard of them, as much entertainment as I watch, chances are good most of America hasn't either. (Please note that this ONLY applies to TV and movies. Red Hot Chili who now?)
Exactly, BAFfler. Joss isn't as well known as Spielberg. Not everyone is even aware that he helped write "Toy Story". But if he can get close, that's a lot. Hopefully, this movie will get him there.
Thanks for the support, impalergeneral. But I would like to add two things to my above statement, briefly. First, just because I know who they are, and admire their genius, doesn't mean America DOES. (Tim Minear springs to mind immediately.) Second, I forgot Mel Brooks on my list of names. This is a serious oversight, and I apologize. May the Schwartz be with you.

[EDIT] And GEORGE LUCAS, come to think of it...although let's face it, with the movies he's turned out lately, he has absolutely no right to be. I dream of the day when his personal incarnations of the Good (Indiana Jones), the Bad (Darth Vader), and the Ugly (Howard the Duck) will all come to life and join forces to hand that man his ass.

[ edited by BAFfler on 2005-08-29 04:13 ]
And may the Schwartz be with you too. "Spaceballs" was one heck of a spoof, but my favorite scene is still when the alien jumping out of John Hurt, then sings like Michigan J. Frog...and Princess Vespa blowing people away when the bad guys scorched her hair.
impalergeneral, might I add the scene were the heroes' stunt doubles are captured? Absolutely hilarious (though my personal favourite Mel Brooks film will always be History of the World, Part One but I can't really discuss it here because I'll end up reciting the whole movie)!

Back to the subject, at hand, it's a bit demoralizing but overall, I think that Serenity will benefit from the exposure and the largely positive press it is receiving from its inclusion at the EIFF. However, I agree with BAFfler and impalergeneral, Joss Whedon just isn't a household name here in North America (in my household, yes, but in that of the larger society? no). Also, "well-known filmed material"? That's a debatable assertion as well; so let's debate it. Any takers?


I guess calling "Firefly" as "well-known filmed material" depends on who you are talking about. Among the entire USA, they'd consider "American Idol" or "CSI" as "well-known", but not "Firefly", which was on for barely three months. It may be more well-known outside of the U-S, mainly Europe. I am sure that when "Serenity" opens on Sept. 30, half the audience in the U-S won't be aware it's based on "Firefly", or that they can get the DVD set. But the Sci-Fi Channel, and many of us fans, will take care of that.
gorramit, I think that Firefly is about as well known to the American public at large as "Dark Angel, Titus, Undeclared, Action, That ’80s Show, Wonderfalls, Fastlane, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Skin, Girls Club, Cracking Up, The Pitts ... Get Real, Freakylinks, Wanda at Large, Costello, The Lone Gunmen, A Minute With Stan Hooper, Normal Ohio, Pasadena, Harsh Realm, Keen Eddie, The $treet, American Embassy, Cedric the Entertainer, The Tick, Louie and Greg the Bunny."

In other words, they only know it because "Family Guy" took a swipe at FOX.
...Indiana Jones...Darth Vader...Howard the Duck...will all come to life and join forces to hand that man his ass


BAFfler, at least Lucas gave us a "Willow" movie. (I didn't say a good "Willow" movie).

BTW, read that guy's article and did see: it sucked.
You guys are funny. To be fair to the author (and to The Guardian), he does say that the award is intended to "recognise innovative and potentially important film-makers at the outset of their careers." Whether or not Joss is a household name, let alone a "legend," in the States, (and they aren't talking about the States, after all), I don't think we can seriously contend that he's just starting out. Doesn't mean I like the idea, but it would rule JW out of the offing.

And I like it that the paper gave its award to a U.S. director, given that the Grauniad can sometimes be painfully anti-American, or at least, so politically correct as to elevate the obscure but worthy over the established genius.
SNT, very true. I meant my comments to be restricted solely to the fact that JW is not a household name. It was only later that I got led off onto the path of Lucas hatred. That man has turned to the Dark Side, and as far as I'm concerned, he's ruined his legacy. First the special editions, then three movies that were various degrees of crap? Meh. Like I care. It just gives me more leverage with my "Trek is better" argument anyway. Still, HE RUINED DARTH VADER! DIE, LUCAS! DIE!!!

(I'm better now. Breathe, BAFfler, breathe.)

Certainly the Guardian would be referring to Britain, but I seriously doubt that most people on the streets of the UK would know who he is. Although, now that I write that, I'm thinking about the Buffy featurette where Amber Benson laughingly recalls being mobbed ("Oh my God, it's Tara from Buffy!" in a cute faux-British accent) and realizing I may have to rethink the matter.

However, there's no question but that JW is an established director. He's turned out the most visually interesting "set piece" episodes of television that I've ever seen. So, fair enough, he's done it before. But c'mon! Just a little fan love from that side of the pond might have given Serenity a boost.

Still, after resurrecting a show from the dead, being able to say "We're Number Two!" ain't too gorram bad.
BAFfler, just to add: I am so there with you on the Lucas hatred . . .
SNT, I really don't have a problem with Joss not winning the award. I haven't seen any of the films mentioned, including the BDM, so I wouldn't know who's worthy, and the part about Joss being excluded because he's not just starting out is perfectly valid. It's just when a writer starts talking about certain people being "important" instead of talented, intelligent, whimsical, etc., my internal pretentiousness detector starts oscillating, whether justified or not. Perhaps I'm overly egalitarian.

Can't say as I hate Lucas, but I wish he'd stop making movies. Did he go so bad, or was he not that talented to begin with? These latter films are so bad I'm beginning to suspect someone else behind the scenes with influence might have been more responsible for the quality of the early work.
Just have to tell you guys that every time someone responds to gorramit, I think they're cussing for a second. Hee.

Oh, and George Lucas can do anything he wants. Star Wars, 1977, twenty seven times in the theater.

I don't even care if he sucks for the rest of his career. Bought his way into Valhalla with that right there, baby.
Gorramit, Willowy, be more specific. You did what twenty seven times in the theater while Star Wars was showing? And was Valhalla the name of the theater? You'd think the director would get in free.
Just have to tell you guys that every time someone responds to gorramit, I think they're cussing for a second.

Same here.
HaHa!! Well, a good girl never tells. You can just imagine! ;)
Lucas is a good film producer, he's just a horrible writer and director. Here's an article that pretty much spells it out.

I'm pleased Joss was mentioned in this article. And I agree that he isn't as well known in the US as he deserves to be. Most Americans only pay attention to directors in films, most don't even care who writes their favorite TV shows. Which is one area that makes the 'verse fans unique as we tend to know all the writers,ect. Anyway, I'm hope 'Serenity' will change that.
BAFfler, just to add: I am so there with you on the Lucas hatred . . .


So, if I understand well the rules around here: actor bashing is forbidden, but director/producer bashing is welcome? ;)

In fact, I am following you here on the general opinion concerning Lucas (he is a *terrible* director (he even managed to make McGregor look like a bad actor!!)); his talent seems to be proportionnaly inverse to the sfx at his disposal. Anyhow, this is not a surprise if the best of the SW movies (The Empire Strikes Back) is not one he directed; I even learned that he was furious against Marquant for having changed one of the lines in this movie, making it one of the best (Han's answer "I know" to Leia's "I love you") on the contrary to the quite common version that was in the script (Han originaly answered "I love you too"...).
Lucas is a good film producer, he's just a horrible writer and director. Here's an article that pretty much spells it out.


Good article indeed. Thanks for the link, Madhatter.
I saw a behind the scenes production where it was stated that Harrison Ford changed that line because it didn't fit the character.
Yes, it may have been Ford indeed. But, in the end, Marquant accepted the change (which was clearly best)... Lucas as a director wouldn't have accepted, if I believe the story about his anger at that decision.
In the context of the Edinburgh Film Festival, I would say that Joss is as much of a household name as you're going to get.
That Alias mention certainly was a faux-pas. Although as a massive Joss and Alias fan, I can appreciate that Buffy was definitely a forerunner for Alias.

I agree that Joss is certainly not a household name. He is very well known by fans of any of his shows, or of other cult shows, and those who are very interested in TV or film, but not by the general public. I'm hoping he does see a lot of success but I don't want him to become a Spielberg or Lucas. In some ways, it would be great, because he could make anything he wants with amazing resources, but I think those sort of directors are also put under enormous pressure to deliver financially and commercially.

I think Joss would prefer to operate slightly below the radar, making moderately successful films/TV shows but not the typical Hollywood blockbusters, with emphasis on creativity and integrity rather than about making money. Kind of like how he has always been.

But it's strange that The Guardian seems to be portraying Serenity as some sort of Hollywood behemoth rather than the brilliant fan-supported underdog we have been supporting. As has been stated before, it was based on a TV show that was cancelled prematurely, so it's not like it was destined for commercial success.
I didn't get that Lucas was furious over the line change. I thought he understood that "I know" is a much better line for someone like Han to say. THe impression I got was that for a minute, the actor knew the character better than the creator. I grew up on Star Wars, the original mind you, and while I hated episodes 1 and 2, I really think that 3 could have been a lot worse. Hayden Christensen was God awful, but there were some aspects I liked. For instance, I thought it was interesting to witness how all the Jedi's were destroyed and what drove Obi One and Yoda into isolation, etc...whoops! Sorry to turn this into a Star Wars thread...

Impossible, I agree. Joss is probably as muhc of a household name as you can get for that specific festival. I know in my house it is :)

Razor, I couldn't agree more about what you said about Joss' work. He would never sell out and make a film like The Island or Stealth with semi-big names in it just to make it and see how it does in the box office.

[ edited by MySerenity on 2005-08-29 15:55 ]
That's strange but, a few weeks ago, thinking about the debuts of Joss as a director for the big screen, I was trying to imagine if he could become, in 10-15 years, one of those "major" directors (spielberg, cameron, etc...).

And, myself too, I found this thought not plausible; although I am sure Whedon has all the capacities to continue to write/direct/produce feature films, I can't think of him as one of those "big" directors. Probably because, to me, all these directors began to make bad (or "so-so") movies when they became "big" (I regularly watch Jaws, and I CAN'T realize that the same director made Jaws and Minority Report or Catch me if you can...).
I even learned that he was furious against Marquant for having changed one of the lines in this movie, making it one of the best (Han's answer "I know" to Leia's "I love you") on the contrary to the quite common version that was in the script (Han originaly answered "I love you too"


Ugh, I HATE when people in TV/Film say "I love you too" in response to "I love you". It's so boring and it's one of my pet peaves.

I am not familiar with Star Wars but I read recently that it was Harrison Ford who ad-libbed that line. Did I read wrong?
No, electricspacegirl, you read correctly. It was Ford's idea to say,"I know." He thought it was more in character. Marquant agreed and that's how the scene was shot. It's rumored that Lucas became a little biffed that the actors were ad-libbing their lines. If that rumor is true, I suspect it was in general rather than this one line. Again, it's only rumored.
Hate to be pedantic (actually, no I don't, ;)), but:

Irvin Kershner directed Empire; Richard Marquand (not Marquant) directed Return of the Jedi.

As several of you noted, it was Harrison Ford's suggestion re the line, and Kersh was happy to go with it. Don't know whether GL was particularly unhappy about it, but I do have it from an extremely reliable source that Lucas's direction of actors consisted solely of him saying "yes, like that, but faster" . . .
SNT, thanks. I wanted to point that stuff out but didn't want to sound pedantic.
Ah, thank you, SoddingNancyTribe. I've found my sources questionable in this matter.
To address my earlier point, I think Joss could become a Spielberg or Lucas without difficulty, but that he's too independant and creative to do that.

Whilst I love Star Wars, I dislike how Lucas repeatedly returns to the Original Trilogy in order to extract money from fans. Or the examples of extreme merchandising. I thought the Original Trilogy was fantastic and the prequels were, on the whole satisfactory (if not entirely necessary) so I'm not dissing the man completely, because his ideas and stories are fantastic, it's just that his writing and directing is often sub-par, and I don't think he has really done much with his success.

Spielberg is kind of the opposite, he has made a lot of great films but also a lot of mediocre films, and I detest the sentimentalism that has to be injected into each of them. That's exactly where Joss would never succumb to what the audiences and the studios want, because he is original and unpredictable, and you get a range of themes which aren't dictated by what some marketing panel says. I'm not saying its entirely these people's faults, I think once you reach a certain level of fame its almost inevitable, but I don't think Joss will ever allow himself to be put in that position.

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