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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Actually, if anyone asks, don't say I got beat up by a one-armed girl."
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December 23 2005

A Q& A With Joss Whedon - one of Pop Candy's Top 100 People of the Year. The USA Today columnist Whitney Matheson speaks to Joss (who comes in at #13 on her pop culture list of 2005). Areas of interest that get covered include Serenity, series TV, the Spike movie and Wonder Woman.

Those with good memories will remember that Whedonesque came in at #70 last year.

Those with even better memories will recall that Joss came in at #5 two years ago.

So we get beaten by the boss this time.
Link changed to reflect Whitney's interview with Joss.
Whitney -- really fun to talk to, but she made one vital mistranslation of our talk. Since we all know one wrong word can completely change the angle of a story, this time I'm gonna step in to head off confusion right away. The exact words I said to her were "my sad but shapely butt". You can see how I wouldn't want that misinterpreted. My work, maybe, But not my fine fine booty.
Too true - the way Nathan kept an eye on it at the Flan and you know he likes the booty .... or was that Alan ..... or maybe Adam. Either way you have a fine backside Mr. Whedon, sir, why else would so many want to kiss it.


As for throwing money at marketing being a crapshoot that is so right. It's not that I think they shoulda or woulda had to spend more money, I think they just needed to understand all the possible genres they had to market to and had a few ads that direct marketed those genres. That would have worked better once they would have gotten their (not as fine as yours) booty in the theatre seats then the rest would have been cake. What's the saying 'market to the few if you want to reach the masses'.

[ edited by RavenU on 2005-12-23 21:23 ]
I'm glad you cleared that up Joss.
Thanks for that, Joss. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'll sleep better now!
But what about the bunion status?! I think it's so very cool Whedonesque appeared on the list last year. More than a few times in the last year I've heard 'industry people' (meaning people that in no way work for a major film studio) refer to Whedonesque as Joss' website. My own website can be found at

[ edited by gossi on 2005-12-23 22:09 ]
Thanks, Joss, for clearing that up :-)
Ah, the epic tale of the rise and fall of the bunion. How it must fight to not succumb to the outside forces that do not care for it. It's eternal struggle with flesh and blood is a story too great to be overlooked. Bunion - The Movie... Hmmmmm... I wonder what it would look in the hands of Cronenberg... Not his actual hands of course... Oh crap...

(Please excuse this post. I'm just really tired.)

[ edited by Djungelurban on 2005-12-23 22:53 ]
The Bunion - starring Joss Whedon's wife (Jewel Staite) and Robert Englund as Bunion.
The glacier speed of the executive world means that we could run out of time.


First time I seen I mention of the exec world in relation to the Spike movie.

Executive world = The WB?

Or maybe (and more likely).

Executive world = 20th Century Fox.
Surely the executives and their businesses are all much alike? With notable exceptions...

Looking forward to Buffy comic Season 8. (Not usually a comic reader but I'd like to know what happens next!)
My money is on FOX - they charge alot for their shows and if your on their network unless you score huge out of the gate they axe your a-- (and there's is jlo big but not as fine as the Man known as Whedon). I think Joss needs to set up a shingle at the real glacier Paramount or Universal.
I was thinking more of the production company rather than the network. Especially since Joss ended his TV deal with them. That and his numero uno ally Gail Berman is no longer there.

Though a Spike movie on the Fox network really entertains me for some reason.
Don't you just hate it when the realities of this world we live in (by which i mean money matters) get in the way of creative flow. Joss has a Spike story he wants to tell. James has a Spike story he wants to be a part of. We have a Spike story that we would give anything to sit and watch, most likely multiple times and with increasing enjoyment on each occasion. Yet none of the people that really want the story to go ahead have any real power in getting it to happen. It all boils down to a guy (or gal) in an expensive suit sat in an office somewhere that will likely never watch or even really care about the story, just the money it might create for him (erm, or her).

Sucky, sucky world!

Oh, and i refuse to discuss Joss Whedon's ass! I love the guy like the brother i never, ever met but who still created the best television series ever for me, but i'm not discussing his ass! :)
I suspect Joss' remarks about Firefly in this interview are similar to those he actually made to Entertainment Weekly and they got a little dense about what he was saying.
Am I correct in assuming that Fox (studio) owns the rights to the Buffy characters, at least for television and (probably) movies?
Buffy, the characters, are I believe owned by 20th Century Fox.

[ edited by gossi on 2005-12-23 23:35 ]
I'm really not sure. One theory is that 2oth Fox owns the rights to the Buffy character (because of the movie I think) and Joss (Mutant Enemy) owns the rest. Another theory is that there's some sort of mutual ownership i.e. one party can't do anything without the other.
I think FOX all over sucks, the production division, the television division, and the home entertainment division. So on and so forth.

FOX own's the rights to Buffy, Angel, and Firefly for a certain ammount of time which maybe from 10 yrs to indefinite, since they were the actual production company footing most of the cost to produce, depending on contract language, they will probably keep majority share holder rights to the product until they deem it of no real financial value anymore.

We have already seen them in action, just ask the people putting on 'Once More With Feeling' stage show a few monthes back. As well as the whole WB vs FOX pricing when it came to the end of the 5th year mark for both Buffy and Angel.

[ edited by RavenU on 2005-12-23 23:45 ]
Yep, leave it to that joss guy to come into a conversation, turn it on its head and make it all about his behind. I honestly don't know why we even bother anymore.

20th Century Fox still have Joss on suspended TV contract, I seem to recall.

The only thing I can say about the rights issue is that, after the Buffy movie, when they were talking about taking it to TV they legally had to ask Joss if he wanted to tackle the Buffy TV project. Joss mentioned this in Edinburgh.

By the way, with regards to Fox - without 20th Century Fox, there would be no Buffy, Angel, The Inside, Firefly, Wonderfalls etc etc - this site likely wouldn't exist, and I'd probably be prime minister. Except the lass bit is a lie.

[ edited by gossi on 2005-12-23 23:49 ]
And then there's the elephant in the corner that is the Kuzuis. They might even factor in all of this. Also Dolly Parton as well, curiously enough. She's a co-owner of Sandollar Productions.

Mulder and Scully would have a field day in trying to sort the intricacy of who actually controls the Buffyverse franchise.
Since I am a fan boy I think it is SOOO cool to see Joss post here. Funny he mentioned the recent Batman movie in the interview since I saw it YESTERDAY.

It was good to see the Spike movie mentioned. Being that this TV season has featured so many and poppular shows with supernatural themes and character driven plot I think the time for a Spike TV project could not be better!!!

Merry Christmas, tomorrow in the Swedish x-mas......
Dolly Parton? How odd!

Even odder to see her name here on the black. Gotta admit I do love her, though.
Um, did Joss Whedon say there were "four bad Batman movies"? It could be argued that Batman Begins is the best of the lot, but in no way are Tim Burton's Batman movies bad.
I'd argue the case for the first Batman movie and maybe even for the second ... possibly, but the third and fourth were just undefendable, in my eyes anyway.
Ooh, this is fun, arguing the merits of superhero movies.

Um, lemme put out right now that I love Batman Returns, the 2nd Burton movie. It's my favorite movie in the superhero genre, and I'm mighty fond of the first Burton movie as well. I also think that Batman Begins was dour and unsatisfying -- by trying to make a respectable superhero movie, one that would get respect beyond the confines of geeky fandom, they turned in a relatively uninspired movie. It just did not ignite or lift off, and I once again came head-on with the feeling that Christian Bale is a very pretty, hard-working and (probably) morally upright actor, but not an extremely talented one. Every time I see him act, I get the feeling he's giving it his all but he's missing some explosive spark, some quality of talent or soul. The one thing I really enjoyed about Begins was Cillian Murphy's chilling & charismatic performance.

But the third and fourth Batman movies are pure shlocky terribleness. Sometimes I catch either of them on cable and watch in amazement at the wacky antics and mis-use of molded rubber.

Maybe it's just me, but the most striking thing about the interview was Joss endorsing Sky High -- oh Joss, not even for you will I check that movie out.
I'd argue the case for the first Batman movie and maybe even for the second

Which is why I specified Tim Burton's Batman films... the latter two were directed by Joel Schumacher :-)
dottikin, you must not have children. It really is inspired, for a 'family' film. Quite cute in places, and funny. Self-deprecating, too. Never takes itself too seriously.

And just a shallow side remark. I don't think Christian Bale is pretty. At all. He's far too pinched and hawklike for my tastes.

Haven't seen Batman Begins yet, but will because my son will want to. And as I've said here, I love superhero flicks.
Mmm...I agree with Joss. Besides Batman Begins, all the Batman movies suck. The '89 Burton film was high on the camp, turning Bruce Wayne into a Gothic James Bond...probably because of the fact that Burton was turned on to Batman by the horrid 60's TV series with Adam West and Burt Ward. Returns was no better, and in fact, worse. Any kind of character development was quashed in favor of insane villains that really didn't resonate with their four-color counterparts, and more of the silly and inappropriate James Bond shtick. The same also goes for Forever, but the fact that Jim Carrey was cast as the Riddler and gave a maniacally over-the-top performance makes it better than Returns. As for Batman & Robin, I don't think I even have to go there. Awful in every way imaginable.

Begins was the first time that the character was treated with respect, and not as a cash cow; Nolan and Goyer really dug into Bruce's psyche and came away with amazing results. They actually made Ra's Al Guhl better in the ways they changed him. It's one of the best films of the year, beaten out by only Serenity and Broken Flowers. But any way we slice it, we all know that Spider-Man 2 is the best comic book film ever. :-D

Now back to Joss. This tiny little comment he made really touched me:

"But, you know, we'll never make Firefly again, because that was a thing that existed and is now gone. And Serenity isn't Firefly, and whatever comes next won't be, either."

So true and so sad. I love Serenity more than my heart can allow, but I still miss Firefly...

Also, Sky High wasn't as bad as it looked. Still not that great, but sort of amusing and definitely far better than I was, I love Bruce Campbell.

(And, hey there, Joss!)
The comment in this interview that struck out to me was the lesson Joss said he had learned. Sure, if the main goal of making a movie is earning money, it is very important to have a concept which is easily explained to use in the marketing. And for a lot of people in the movie industry this probably is the main goal. However, I wonder how much you should change a movie to accomodate the advertising if your goal is to tell a story which can be looked at in different ways, thought about, and maybe helps the viewer to understand human nature a little better. I guess if nobody sees a movie one will not be able to satisfy the second goal, so to obtain the second it is necessary to be able to market the movie as well, but still, making a lesser film just to be able to market it better seems wrong to me. Maybe it is possible to make just as good a movie, while inserting a little extra, which can be uses to market it, which means you kill two flies in one hit (or whatever is your local version of this proverb) and that is what Joss intends to do.

One other thing: Almost nobody here (i.e. in the Netherlands) has heared of Wonder Woman (as far as I know), so don't be surprised if interviewers'll get the descriptions all wrong again.
Glad to see that Joss is still trying to get the Spike project airborn.
As for Batman. While i liked the first 2 as a kid, i didn't as an adult. The Joel S. versions were more flashy, overacting, multi-colourd flicks. The latest Batman movie(Batman Begins) is my favorite superhero movie.
It's alot more down to earth and feels real. One of the things i liked is that Batman is just a man. He can't fly, run real fast, doesn't have superstrength. He is just well trained, has lot's of money for equipement, and is a very strong willed person. And i also like Christian B. alot(loved him in American Pshyco).
Keith G:

Which is why I specified Tim Burton's Batman films... the latter two were directed by Joel Schumacher :-)

Hehe, yeah, i realise that. I was just offering my view on the Batman movies as a whole. Although, as i said, i would not go as far as to say that even Batman Returns is a truly excellent movie. The first Batman movie was incredible but the second was already starting the franchise's steady slope to Campville, in my opinion.
Buh, most of the Batman films bore me. Batman Begins was good, I think, as it came from a different place. Christopher Nolan is about to start production on The Prestige, which is based on a book well worth checking out.
Is Joss and Batman begins screenwriter David Goyer friends?? Well, Goyer's writing partner in comics is Geoff Johns (the two wil also pen the first episode of USA's Blade show) who shares "writing studio" with Jeph (Buffy Animated) Loeb.

Goyer (with the Blade movies) and Joss are also responsible for re-emagining the mytical creature of the vampire for today audience, moving the vampire beyond the cloaked, stiff monster...

See what I am getting at??
I don't know if they're friends, Jonas, but in an issue of Sci-Fi Magazine from this past summer, in a creators' roundtable, Joss and David Goyer both complimented each other on their respecctive works. It was a great read.
When I saw this thread growing I was a little concerned that the topic would be all centered on Joss' concern about his booty not being properly appreciated. I guess I'm relieved to know that we are debating which of the Batman franchise was (in Joss' opinion) a good movie. Personally my vote would be with the original Tim Burton vision and the brilliant casting of Michael Keating as the only really interesting Batman.
Perhaps Joss will post again to clarify this, but of course I'm not sure it as important to him as his original topic.
Embers, perhaps we should indeed be discussing Joss's clarifying post. Unfortunately, having never seen him in pperson, I have no comment. Maybe someone who has met him will comment?
Maybe someone who has met him will comment?

I've never met him but I have played him as a video game character, does that help in any way?
Hang on, there's Joss: The Video Game?
You mean to say you've never unlocked Joss as a character in the second Buffy videogame for the PS2? I think you can play as Chris Buchanan as well.
Anyone know if you can do this in the xbox version as well? I'll be picking up the game soon, having just aquired a crystal xbox from someone who went 360 :)
You can unlock Joss in the second videogame? I've had that game for ages (on xbox) and never knew.
According to GameFaqs, you can unlock Joss as a multiplayer character if you

"Complete Mission 12 with a professional rating".
Dear Joss:
You're a bloody genius.
Well Simon, Looks as though you gave a lot of people a present!
And I still don't have an answer to my question. Rogue Slayer? EdDantes? RavenU? SNT?
I have met Joss...he was dancing to 'Love Shack' at a convention at the time. But I don't remember paying attention to certain physical aspects of the man and as such can't help you. So I guess this is a pretty useless message. But there you go.

GVH - was it an Angel or Wesley kind of dance? Or something more along the lines of a Faith/Buffy kind of dance - cause one definitely gets your ass looked at more than the other!

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