GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Joss gets NY Times treatment

POSTED BY: PIZMOBEACH
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 22:48
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Friday, April 13, 2012 5:31 AM

PIZMOBEACH

... fully loaded, safety off...


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/movies/joss-whedon-directs-the-aveng
ers.html


A Film’s Superheroes Include the Director
Joss Whedon Directs the Big-Budget ‘Avengers’

By DAVE ITZKOFF

"LOS ANGELES JOSS WHEDON does not consider himself an assertive person. “I’m not fierce,” he said. “I’m grouchy as hell.” But one subject that evokes the passion he has self-diagnosed as crabbiness is the decadent state of contemporary Hollywood entertainment.

As he recently recited a list of familiar if keenly felt criticisms about his industry, Mr. Whedon, a creator of fantasy television series like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” said: “Nobody’s interested in making a living. They only want to make a fortune. Where are the prestige pics? Where are the ’70s, where are people taking chances?”
Here in his blossoming rant, Mr. Whedon, 47, a rangy man with short brown hair and a copper-colored beard flecked with white, had to smile at himself. He was delivering the tirade “while I’m making a giant, tentpole, franchise, action, summer movie.”
With mock defensiveness, he added, “That doesn’t make me a hypocrite, it just gives me layers.”
Having been a script doctor for hire and a pioneer of independent digital content, Mr. Whedon is now the director and screenwriter of “The Avengers,” the Marvel Studios movie (opening May 4) that assembles several of its comic-book heroes on a mission to save the world.
With a cast overflowing with stars like Robert Downey Jr. (who reprises his role as the reckless billionaire Tony Stark and his alter ego, Iron Man), Samuel L. Jackson (as the law-enforcement agent Nick Fury) and Scarlett Johansson (the superspy Black Widow); a roster of copyrighted characters that are now loyal subjects of the Walt Disney empire; and a budget of more than $220 million “The Avengers” would seem like the epitome of the blockbuster summer movie: flashy, corporate and above all, big.
“The Avengers” would also seem to be the antithesis of the kind of work Mr. Whedon is best known for. On TV and in films like “The Cabin in the Woods” (which he wrote with its director, Drew Goddard, and which opens April 13) he has subverted conventions of supernatural and science-fiction storytelling and defied the expectations of audiences well versed in them, while working small and on his own terms.
Perhaps none of these projects succeeded as fully as “Buffy,” a cult hit for WB and UPN that for seven seasons embedded stories of empowerment and self-discovery in the narrative of a young woman battling paranormal monsters.
Yet for Mr. Whedon “The Avengers” turned out to be liberating. While it was surely a lesson in managing the interests and egos of his high-profile cast, it also alleviated frustrations he encountered on other recent efforts while allowing him the peculiar joy of building stories from established characters and predetermined plot points. “You get all these pieces, and it’s a puzzle,” he said. “But it’s a puzzle that comes together. It’s not just a bunch of broken stuff. There is a way that it’s supposed to fit. And when it does, you find you’re being given as many gifts as you are problems.”
For Marvel “The Avengers” is the culmination of a years-long campaign enabled by the success of the first “Iron Man” movie (which grossed $585 million worldwide in 2008) and later hits like “Thor” and “Captain America: The First Avenger.”
On “The Avengers” the studio sought a director who was not only passionate about the heroes in this supergroup — comicdom’s equivalent of the Dream Team or the Wu-Tang Clan — but also reverent of their history.
Whoever accepted the assignment would have to embrace the story lines established by the first wave of Marvel movies, the scenario Marvel wanted for “The Avengers” and the various sequels it is intended to set up, while giving each character proper screen time.
“We’ve already said this is not ‘Iron Man 3,’ this is not ‘Captain America 2,’ this is not ‘Thor 2,’ ” said Kevin Feige, the Marvel Studios president. “This is ‘The Avengers 1.’ And everything needs to service this as the origin story for that team, and no one stands above any of the others.”
Marvel had approached Mr. Whedon in the early 2000s during the development of “Iron Man” (which would be directed by Jon Favreau) and “X-Men: The Last Stand” (released in 2006 and directed by Brett Ratner).
Mr. Whedon was known then as a relentless multitasker, writing Marvel’s Astonishing X-Men comics while overseeing on television “Buffy”; “Angel,” a spinoff about one of Buffy’s undead paramours; and the space adventure “Firefly.”
“Joss always said that everything became a vacation from other things,” said Mr. Goddard, a writer for “Buffy” and “Angel.” “If he was talking about ‘Buffy,’ that meant he was on a vacation from ‘Firefly.’ And when he would go back to ‘Firefly,’ it meant he was on vacation from ‘Buffy.’ ”
Mr. Goddard added: “This is just a guy who loves storytelling. I don’t get a sense that there’s ever a plan other than the act of creating itself.”
When Fox pulled “Firefly” in 2002, midway through a first season in which the network had shown the episodes out of their intended order, Mr. Whedon said he “went nuts,” gathering his lawyer, agent and others and demanding they find a way to keep the project alive.
“One of them was like, ‘These people are going to say no,’ ” Mr. Whedon recalled. And though “I’m very meek and I’m very afraid of conflict,” he said, “I remember just saying to them: ‘I don’t want to hear that. I want to hear what you’re going to say to convince them when they say no.’ ”

The eventual result was “Serenity,” the 2005 film continuation of “Firefly,” which marked Mr. Whedon’s feature directing debut, and which even its stars, like Nathan Fillion, did not expect to happen.
“When he started talking movie, I said: ‘Good luck, buddy. It is you against the world out there,’ ” said Mr. Fillion, who played the swashbuckling captain Mal Reynolds in “Firefly” and “Serenity.” “I had very little hope. And then I got that call and thought, ‘Oh my God, this guy did it.’ ”
After “Buffy” and “Angel” ended, Mr. Whedon directed episodes of “The Office” and was a creator of “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” a musical about a struggling supervillain (Neil Patrick Harris), his do-gooder nemesis (Mr. Fillion) and their shared love interest (Felicia Day), which he self-financed and released free on the Web.
Mr. Whedon’s return to Fox in 2009 with “Dollhouse,” about a woman (Eliza Dushku) whose personality and memories can be electronically rewritten, was much anticipated, but it turned into a prolonged struggle for him.
The network, Mr. Whedon said, resisted the sexual content he wanted in the show. “They want things to be sexy,” he said, “but for God’s sake, they don’t want them do be sexual.”
Believing the show had been “eviscerated,” Mr. Whedon felt himself withdrawing from “Dollhouse.” When its first — and, Mr. Whedon presumed, only — season ended, he worked with Mr. Goddard on “Cabin in the Woods,” a horror movie about a group of college students (including Kristen Connolly and the future “Thor” star Chris Hemsworth) who find that a seemingly rustic vacation spot is the setting for something much more sinister.
To Mr. Whedon’s surprise “Dollhouse” was renewed for a second season, then canceled weeks after it started. Meanwhile “Cabin in the Woods” went into limbo when MGM, the studio that produced it, filed for bankruptcy. (The movie was later sold to the independent studio Lionsgate.)
Mr. Whedon said he has learned over time that he cannot control these situations, even when his name is on the screenplay. “You have to believe in your work to the point where you can get your heart broken,” he said, “or you wouldn’t have the energy to do these things.”
When Marvel came to Mr. Whedon about “The Avengers” in 2010, he saw the pitfalls of summer-movie syndrome, but also the potential for a “Dirty Dozen”-style adventure about the ultimate ensemble of mismatched teammates.
He said: “I was like: ‘Oh, this actually sounds fun.’ I can write about these people. They’re broken and tortured and strange.’ ”
Mr. Whedon (who also did some uncredited revisions on the “Captain America” script) continued to fine-tune his “Avengers” script over more than 90 days of filming in Cleveland, New York and Albuquerque, N.M., while learning to work with the actors who have become the cornerstone of Marvel’s movie franchise.
Regarding Mr. Downey, Mr. Whedon said with a laugh: “We had to sniff each other out. Because I’m used to having people do everything I say, and so is he.”
Mr. Downey made it clear he expected a certain amount of creative participation. “As far as I’m concerned, I have everything approval,” he said, only half-joking.
But while Mr. Downey said he was willing to be hands-on with “The Avengers” and was “down for a good, hard time,” the film “was not that kind of party.” When he requested alternate lines of dialogue for a scene, he said Mr. Whedon preferred, “while he’s between setting up shots, to go off and literally write three pages of alts.”
Mr. Downey added: “I was like, ‘Oh, that’s easy. You do all the work, and I will pick from a menu.’ ”
Mr. Jackson affectionately compared “The Avengers” to a group of children pretending to play superheroes. “There’s always the lead kid who tells you what the story’s going to be and what you’re going to be fighting and what you need to do,” he said. “And that’s Joss.”
In characteristic Whedon-esque style he took about two weeks after finishing principal photography on “The Avengers” to shoot a film version of “Much Ado About Nothing” at his home in Santa Monica, Calif.
His next project, he said, would be another independently produced Web series, to be distributed free, created with the writer Warren Ellis and called “Wastelanders,” which Mr. Whedon jokingly described as “Glengarry Timecop.”
Calling it “a drama about people who save the world and how unbelievably unhappy they are,” Mr. Whedon worried — up to a point — that its rougher edges could alienate even his dedicated fans.
“It’s very dark and very grown-up,” he said. “But it’s the next thing that I want to say, so I can’t worry about ‘Well, where’s the empowerment narrative that people love?’ ”
“That,” Mr. Whedon said, “will always be the story of my life.” He paused and corrected himself: “Not, sadly, of my life, but of my writing. If it had happened to me, I wouldn’t have to write about it so much.”"

more info on wastelanders: http://www.warrenellis.com/?p=10111

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Friday, April 13, 2012 3:13 PM

PIRATENEWS

John Lee, conspiracy therapist at Hollywood award-winner History Channel-mocked SNL-spoofed PirateNew.org wooHOO!!!!!!




You know you've made it when you get paid to run a $220M budget with a convicted felon dope addict who wears a bra on his head.

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Friday, April 13, 2012 10:48 PM

SHINYGOODGUY


Phase One has started: make a kick-ass Hollywood tentpole film with big explosions and over-the-top casting. And it doesn't hurt that Samuel L. Jackson is in it.

Phase Two: Make Hollywood studios a mint with said blockbuster movie.

Phase Three: Surprise producers, studios, critics and moviegoers alike with a kick-ass independent movie
Cabin in the Woods. This movie will be the surprise of the spring and may outdistance Avengers.

Phase Four: Make Serenity 2. See how simple!


SGG

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