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by Nigel M Smith
March 12, 2012 11:20 AM
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Joss Whedon: 'I want to make things that are small, pure and odd.'

For years now, horror filmmakers have gleefully gone about killing youth. "Cabin" plays on that. You have this tendency to revisit youth in your work or aim for a young demographic. Where does that interest stem from?

Ultimately what I end up writing about is helplessness and the flipside of that, empowerment. This movie is about kids who are behaving the way kids would, but are treated as though they're in a horror movie. It's sort of about that disconnect between the things we accept in life and the things we accept for fictional characters and this weird need to punish youth that has not always been a part of horror.

From what I know about "The Avengers," what you said about helplessness and empowerment really ties into that work as well. The characters seem to go on a similar journey.

"The Avengers."

"The Avengers" really is just "Cabin in the Woods" with capes. If you're not building a textured human and putting them through some kind of pain, I'm not sure what the purpose of the narrative is going to be. That applies to comedy, too.

About comedy, you really threw your fans for a loop when you confirmed that you had completed shooting your adaptation of "Much Ado About Nothing" after wrapping principal photography on "The Avengers." How did that all come about?

You know, it was my wife. She really knew that I needed one of my other gas tanks to be filled. It was a way to reconnect with my friends and my art. "The Avengers" had such a broad scope and "Much Ado" was so down and dirty. Just a completely different experience. The thing about something like that is I had an extraordinary time just adapting the script. And then getting the cast, god.

But what was really great about it, was instead of being, "Oh 'The Avengers' was work and now this is play," they're both different kinds of play. When you do one, it helps you doing the other. They informed each other. "Much Ado" allowed me to go back to "The Avengers" with this renewed vigor.

"Much Ado" marks the first Bellwether production. What were your reasons for forming the company with your wife?

We created Bellwether as a microstudio because it's something that I had been talking to my agent about for years. Since we had done "Dr. Horrible," we'd figured out there is no template and that now we're in the age where technology allows you to create on your own level, within certain limitations. Just to always have a way to get more stories out there. And to make things that aren't fettered by years of interference with potential bankruptcy (laughs). I want to make things that are small, pure and odd.

It's important. Robert Rodriguez spoke yesterday and he said, "How many people here are film students?" A couple of kids in the back raised their hands. He's like, "OK, next time I ask that question, you should all raise your hands." I really like that. That's how Bellwether makes me feel -- like a student again.


  • melodye lorrayne | April 11, 2012 6:25 PMReply

    Frank wants Firefly, which was wonderful. And I want the Buffy (and Gang) and Angel movie where Angel left off. Been dreaming about it for years. I know it probably will never happen but I can still dream.

  • Frank Thomas | March 13, 2012 11:34 PMReply

    All I want in this world (okay, hyperbole . . . but a man has to try) is the rebirth of Firefly. I'm sure this has been said by others, and probably quite some time ago . . . I discovered it through Netflix only a couple of months ago. I've been portioning out my viewing of the episodes, knowing that it's going to end . . . and, of course, have not yet watched the film, Serenity. As a writer myself, I know too the need to move on, to find and meet the new challenge. But, here's the problem: there is so little available that has Firefly's quality and character. Naturally, I will go to your other projects, past and present. But, dang it, I want Firefly, the Next Chapters.