SDCC Offsite : Joss Whedon speaks at Nerd HQ
Zachary Levi’s Nerd HQ, now in its second year, is one of the many new offsite events which are expanding the footprint of Comic Con beyond the stretched convention centre. Nerd HQ is a bar and restaurant which allows fans to hang out, play the latest video game releases and attend ticketed panels which benefit Operation Smile. One of this year’s most popular panels was Joss Whedon, Avengers director and creator of Buffy, Angel, Dollhouse, Firefly and Dr Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog.
On Much Ado About Nothing
Joss’s next released project will be a screen version of the Shakespeare comedy which was born when he heard Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker read the parts of Benedick and Beatrice. The film is set in the modern day and features many actors he has previously worked with. He revealed that the attraction of filming Much Ado as opposed to any of Shakespeare’s other works was the fact that it all takes place in one location (shot at Whedon’s own house) and that it is ‘THE romantic comedy’. When asked if he would ever consider touring with a film a la Kevin Smith’s Devil’s Carnival he said that that might be a possibility with Much Ado if it doesn’t get a distribution deal.
On The Avengers
When asked if he was aware of the massive fandom for Loki, Joss replied that he had seen Tom Hiddleston play Cassio in a production of Othello which starred Serenity’s Chewitel Ejiofor. “Everyone was asking ‘Who WAS that guy?’ and I wasn’t surprised when he blew the doors off everything I gave him. He also stated that Loki was basically the new Spike.
On being asked how he made Hulk into the coolest character in The Avengers after two mediocre films he replied that is was incredibly hard work based on him and Mark Ruffalo sitting down and having a discussion about the nature of rage. “Rage has such delight in it when you finally let yourself go, which is what makes the Hulk so much fun.”
Joss answers a fan question at Nerd HQ
Joss stated that there was a gay male character in development for the Buffyverse comics in response to a fan’s question. He also said that Xander’s dark side in the comics made him a more human character rather than just an affable and lovable character who never makes any mistakes.
On Dr Horrible 2
He has had one sit down meeting with Jed, Maurissa and Zack about Dr Horrible 2 now that Much Ado About Nothing is complete. When asked if the format would be as a web series or a feature he responded with “I don’t know” but was quick to point out that Felicia Day had been instrumental in reminding them what the Dr Horrible project was about when discussions came up about more traditional distribution channels, “because she knows everything and is a robot from the future”.
On why he chose writing and directing over acting : “I want to play every character. I am a super total actor wannabe. If you’re a writer and you’re an actor wannabe you listen to every line and you play it. You’re speaking the sentences. If I’m writing a fight scene sometimes I drop to the floor. If I write a crying scene that’s nine minutes long it’s because that’s when I have to stop crying. Also I own a mirror and I am afraid of meeting new people.”
He will be involved in The Avengers 2 “if there’s a story to tell.”
He is soon going to London to meet with Warren Ellis about Wastelanders and has a lot of new ideas, some of them for TV shows.
On working with his brothers : “They’re actually half brothers who are a lot younger than me so I used to make home videos with them. ‘You’re eight, you’re ready for noir!’ But I hadn’t worked with them before when we did Dr Horrible and we were nervous as kittens that we wouldn’t be able to work well together. In the end it’s a room full of equals. Who I am in charge of.”
On killing characters : “The percentage of people who die in this world is…a lot. Much more than the percentage of characters I kill. The reason my rep is so nasty is because the deaths are sometimes unexpected, or happen to a character you’ve recently invested in. If I have this reputation it’s because I’m doing something right. Not good, but right.”
Brian Wiser had the enviable seat number of 8 of over 200 in the Joss Whedon panel which sold out in minutes. He was the producer of documentary Done the Impossible : The Fans’ Tale of Firefly and Serenity which came out in 2006 which premiered at SDCC’s own film festival. All of the major cast feature in the film with Jewel Staite (Kaylee) providing voiceover and Adam Baldwin (Jayne) hosting. We caught up with Brian in the line for Joss’s Nerd HQ panel.
There was a Firefly reunion panel yesterday, did that put questions to bed or just raise more?
There are always questions but most of the immediate new questions were probably addressed in the panel and I think we’ll have more answers with the upcoming comics from Dark Horse. There are obviously other storylines to explore and right now that seems to be the best avenue.
The panel was one of the most popular at the entire convention, was it hard to get in?
I was in line at 4.30am and I ended up about halfway back in Ballroom 20. Some people camped out and Joss visited people in the line but I missed him.
Apparently Joss was quite emotional.
Both Joss and nathan were quite emotional, I hope nathan won’t beat me up for this but he was definitely starting to tear up a couple of times, it was clearly an emotional thing for them and rightly so, it was probably the highlight of their careers even though they’ve done such great things since, but Firefly was so special that it’s touched them all in a way that no other things will.