Comic-Con Live-Blog: The Joss Whedon Experience
Welcome, dear readers, to our live-blog of Joss Whedon's first Comic-Con panel of 2010 without the albatross of J.J. Abrams around his neck. I kid! I just only barely know what Whedon actually said at yesterday's Hall H panel with Abrams, so I'm just gonna pretend that this is all exciting and new, and not repeated information.
Follow along after the break...
3:00 p.m. Pacific. Leaving aside the "Avengers" and "Dr. Horrible" and "Dollhouse" stuff, I really hope to make this live-blog into a chronicle of audience members calling Joss "Josh." I put the over/under at 2. Feel free to bet.
3:10 p.m. Joss' Dark Horse editor wants to make sure we know to ask about "Buffy: Season 8." Well, OK. A "Serenity" graphic novel is coming out this winter. Written by Joss and Zack Whedon...
3:12 p.m. Joss hits the stage. The vuvuzelas go crazy. And yes, I'm serious. Vuvuzelas.
3:12 p.m. "You might have heard about an intimate art film I'm shooting," Whedon says, referencing "The Avengers." He adds, ."I'll be in enormous trouble if it's not super-good," he promises.
3:14 p.m. "'Cabin in the Woods'... It's never coming out," Whedon jokes. He adds, "I have no idea what's going on." "Cabin in the Woods" is, of course, being held up by MGM uncertainty. "Luckily it is timeless and brilliant and will never become irrelevant."
3:15 p.m. Joss Whedon talks much too quickly. He urges people to line up and pepper him with compliments.
3:16 p.m. First question is about that "Serenity" graphic novel, "The Shepherd's Book." Coming "soon."
3:17 p.m. Where are Joss's gay male characters? "I think it's time for some guy-on-guy," Whedon says, hinting at an upcoming gay superhero project. That's not tangible.
3:18 p.m. What is Joss looking forward to on "The Avengers"? "Editing," he cracks. He says he's sat down with all of the actors. "They're so invested and insightful," he raves. He looks forward to having all of those people in a room "just hating each other." He says he's worked on "some of the greatest ensembles ever collected," but he's thrilled about this new cast.
3:19 p.m. Would Whedon do a subscription-based webseries? "I have absolutely have. I've been thinking about it and thinking about it. All of that thinking about it led to not actually doing it," he says. Whedon says he's excited by the idea of "working with nothing." He mentions "Wastelanders," which he'd write with Warren Ellis. But he says that he also likes the idea of having "everything that you want."
3:20 p.m. "Network television? Probably not right away. Probably not his next thing," Whedon says.
3:21 p.m. Whedon is informed that "Joss" means "Godly" in Filipino. He's pleased and adds, "And it didn't before me." The question that follows actually involves Whedon's love of long takes as a director. He refers to the "frisson between the actors" that occurs on long takes. How delightfully pretentious! He references "Touch of Evil" and "Crimes and Misdemeanors" as films that featured memorable one-take scenes. He admits, "It's a dangerous tool," but says that if it doesn't work, you can just cut it up in editing. He then references a James Mason take in "A Star Is Born" as a favorite single-take shot.
3:24 p.m. "I don't make this stuff up. That's what happened." Joss says, making a crack about Angel killing Drogan. He says it's about pointing out the toll that doing horrible things can take on even good people. He says they followed a "Godfather" model in that last "Angel" season.
3:26 p.m. Whedon amusingly pantomimes his creative process, which includes eating, visiting Whedonesque and wild bouts of insecurity. It all starts with an idea, though says that twice he's had the story lay itself out in three acts from the beginning. The first time was on a spec script that was never made and "Cabin into the Woods." He says his favorite part is the free-associating, building characters and moments.
3:29 p.m. He concludes, "Ultimately the process is: Fun, hunger, porn, depression, fun."
3:29 p.m. "Sometimes, you've just gotta get rid of somebody. Sometimes, Ron Glass makes me mad. No, actually, it was Alan [Tudyk]," Whedon says, explaining why he sometimes kills off characters people love. He tells the story of how they chose to kill Tudyk's character in "Serenity" because of contract negotiations involving a possible sequel. But usually, it's planned ahead-of-time and driven by story. He says that Kristine Sutherland knew a full two years in advance what was going to happen to Buffy's mom. Another story involves simultaneously telling Marc Blucas he was being written out, while telling Emma Caulfield she was going to be a regular.
3:33 p.m. "It came to me in the second season," Whedon says, explaining the decision to make Boyd evil at the end of "Dollhouse." He initially though of killing him off but thought, "That's not enough. Everyone knows I do that. Why don't I take away everything?" He's all praise when it comes to the creative team on "Dollhouse," while noting how early he'd realized that they were having problems, problems which also somewhat stemmed from having already shot an apocalypse when they assumed they were fired previously. He notes, "Had we been a smash success, obviously Harry Lennix wouldn't have been taken out of the equation in any way, shape or form, because he's Harry Lennix and I love him."
3:35 p.m. Has Whedon ever thought of doing anything as genre-bending as "Hush" only for the comic book form. Answer? He hasn't. He says that it involves an amazingly close relationship with your artist. "I don't approach comics in that way. And I don't look for stunts to do on television," he says, observing that it was all mandated by things that made sense within that universe. Black and white, outside of dreams, wouldn't have made sense, he says as an example. "A stunt is only as good as the stunt performer and it's tricky," he says.
3:38 p.m. A small child asks Whedon what inspired him to make "Dr. Horrible." He asks, "Is anybody surprised that I kinda relate more to villains than the heroes?" He says, "I wanted to make 'Dr. Horrible' because I feel like Dr. Horrible."
3:39 p.m. Whedon got his first job by writing five spec scripts. "I kept crunching them out, basically. Every one would be received extremely well by my dad," he explains. He was working at a video store at the time.
3:41 p.m. When will we be able to play songs from "Dr. Horrible" on RockBand? "I think that there was some talk about doing it on RockBand. Now I can't remember why it didn't happen. Should it happen?" We all agree it should! He promises to look into it.
3:43 p.m. Whedon's comic influences included everything from Frank Miller to Heavy Metal, which he says disturbed him, "But it was worth it for the boobies."
3:43 p.m. Does Whedon have any favorite actors? "How much trouble would I get in if I actually said, 'Oh, I have a favorite actor.'" He continues, "I guess I might as well say... It's Nathan Fillion." Then he points to the audience where we see... Nathan Fillion asking the question in a Kangol, shades and a mustache. The vuvuzelas go crazy. Again... seriously. "You're not just sayin' that, were you?" Fillion says.
3:46 p.m. Of Fillion, Whedon says..."This is Ant-Man, because A) Nobody else can play the part and B) He doesn't appear in my film." He adds the kicker, "Want to talk about a consummate actor? It's actually Sean Maher."
3:47 p.m. "They're telling me I'm finishing in this business," Whedon says. He's kidding. But, alas, this panel *is* finished.