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Interview with Joss Whedon about Serenity
(2005-10-02)Joss Whedon has taken time out of his busy schedule to answer questions from websites around the world. Here's what he had to say.
The interview may contain spoilers.
Q: Have you ever had writer's block? How'd you overcome it?
Joss Whedon: Lots. The trick is to walk away, either to another script or to some good old mindless veging out. The other trick is not to give up right away 'cause you're lazy and you wanna play. But if it ain't comin', it ain't.
Q: If you knew you were going to spend the next 10 years on a desert island and could only take 5 books with you, which books would you take? (excluding "How to Survive on a Desert Island" and "Raft Building for Fun and Profit" ;-)
Joss Whedon: Assuming they're books I've already read:
1) A Little Princess
2) Dombey and Son
4) Hitchcock by Truffaut
5) Pride and Prejudice
Q: What is Inara's secret? What's the black liquid in that vial she had?
Joss Whedon: Nice try.
Q: Why is it that in most of your stories the most powerful or mythical characters are females ?
Joss Whedon: I likes 'em. My interest in women is mainly their strength. My interest in men is mainly their flaws. I realize both have both, but that's how it falls out. It's an identification with Otherness -- call it Cinematic Drag.
Q: Joss, I was lucky enough to be at the premiere in Edinburgh. What were your impressions of the event?
Joss Whedon: Edinburgh was wonderful -- beautiful city, happy fans, and most of my dear peeps about. And I even liked the haggis, Sam I Am.
Q: Any chance of us seeing another instalment of 'Firefly' as a TV series? I'm thrilled about the movie, but I need more!
Joss Whedon: Hard to say. The Movie has to be a hit before these questions become relevant.
Q: Joss, first of all, thank you for everything you have contributed to TV and movies!!! My question is, what was the biggest stumbling block with Serenity, and how did you overcome it? (Example, not given a big enough budget,not allowed to do a certain fight scene, or whatever.)
Joss Whedon: Writing the damn thing. Hardest structure ever.
Q: My question is this: do you enjoy coming up with names for the characters and places in the Firefly 'Verse. It seems that you put a lot of thought and meaning into the names you choose. What do you use as inspiration? Literature, other films, music etc or other sources?
Joss Whedon: I love naming, and it's VERY hard. Planets, I usually take from mythology or literature (or old names or translations) but personal names carry so much weight -- I've often been blocked for DAYS on a script because I don't have one characters name and I can't write without it. It has to sound like them, embody them.
Q: While filming Serenity were there any moments when you all cracked up laughing because of something hilariously funny? If there was can you say what happened?
Joss Whedon: Having Nathan around means I cracked up every day. No anecdotes, though -- we had a schedule to keep!
Q: What has made you so interested in the Sci-Fi/Paranormal genre? What about the genre makes you retain your interest?
Joss Whedon: Sci-fi is another world, and have you taken a look at this one lately?
Q: Watching the movie, I could not tell if any stunt men/women were used in the action sequences. There must have been, but it didn't show. How much of the fighting scenes that involve River was done by Summer Glau herself?
Joss Whedon: Summer did almost everything (save two wire gags) herself. She was my secret weapon -- best action hero in this country. Nathan and Chewitel also did most of theirs. Lotta bored stunt doubles!
Q: Joss, which of the nine people on Serenity do you most identify with and why?
Joss Whedon: Worf, 'cause he's leathery but gentle.