Friday, July 27, 2012

CBR TV @ CCI: Joss Whedon on Buffy, "The Avengers" & Nick Fury

From his "that just happened" meeting with legendary director John Landis to talking about what he and the rest of the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9" creative teams have in story for Buffy, Angel, Faith and the rest of the Sunnydale alum to his approach towards "The Avengers," Joss Whedon had something to talk about.

The director/writer spoke with CBR's Kiel Phegley on the floor of Comic-Con International in San Diego, where he explained what went into the recently-completed Buffy/pregnancy/abortion/robot storyline, developing the new world rules in "Angel & Faith," Nick Fury's Machiavellian approach to protecting the world and more.

Check out the interview - and complete transcript - below!

CBR TV: What up partners? It's Kiel Phegley here on CBR TV and I am in a secret enclave within the Dark Horse booth at Comic-Con 2012 with Mr. Joss Whedon and they didn't get to see this, but John Landis was just here! That was really crazy and fun!

Joss Whedon: John Landis just stopped by and said, "Hey, I'm John Landis!" as if he needed to tell me that.


He said, "I really liked your movie," and I said, "That's good because you were a big influence." And then he left!

Obviously, we're at the Dark Horse booth and I spent a lot of time for the site talking to Scott Allie and Andrew Chambliss and all these guys who have been working on the Buffy books, but I feel like they're the team who are playing out your playbook on that series and SPOILER WARNING, everybody, there's been so many twists to "Season 9" so far. We've had a pregnancy scare, we have a choice for an abortion, we have a robot twist at the end of all this and as that arc took shape for you, what piece came first and in what way did you feel all those disparate parts to fit together for the character in this moment?

Well, it's all in the service of telling this story about somebody who's twenty who doesn't know how to start creating her identity. All of her friends seem to be on a path. When you're in your twenties, you choose a path. Usually, that doesn't change. Usually, when you're in your thirties, what you chose in your twenties is who you are now. It's kind of this weirdly crucial time that people don't talk about very much because it doesn't sound very mythic. The thing about Buffy is she's mythic and it's always grounded in the mundane. The mundane truth is she has a skill set that she doesn't know how to use. She doesn't have a lot of other skills and she never really thought about direction because she assumed she was going to be killed. To me, I am one of the few people I know that always had a pretty clear idea of what he wanted to do from college on. But most of my friends were like, "Who am I, what do I become?" and for her to deal with the idea of "Okay, if I'm pregnant, that makes me think about my life. If I'm a robot watching myself in a different life, that makes me figure out who I am." Everything was always in the service of -- I'm at an age where I could be one thing, I can be another, I see variations on it and the urgency of needing to make those choices are what's driving it.

There has been so much change since Buffy has moved into comics full time, but with the idea of a pregnancy, I kind of feel like it would have been hard to go through with that on many different fronts. A baby specifically, but even an abortion -- do you have a fear sometimes that you can change too much about that character and that world that takes it far off from what you initially intended?

You're always trying to figure out the line. When I see something where a character completely violates something that I understand about them, I'm done. I'm not watching. This has happened with shows that I've watched through religiously and I saw one false move and I'm like, "I'm out." I always have to be aware of that. At the same time, we are always changing in what we do, what we think is okay -- you have to change. If people just do the same thing all the time, the comic would get super boring. I think with the abortion, for me, I was never going to give her a child because that's not the journey she should be on right now. It was really about "How is this going to affect how she thinks about her life" and it was also as political as I've ever gotten, just that somebody should say, "I am going to do this." It is a choice over a third of America will make in their lifetimes and nobody was really talking about it. But it was never about going through the process. It was just about articulating the decision. And robot. The robot was always in the mix. The first issue I wrote, everything was designed to call back to "Wait a minute--"

You've also got the "Angel and Faith" book coming along. That book seems to be so involved with how the world has changed, but in a completely different way than what "Buffy" has been. We know we're in a world where magic is a rare commodity now and the rules don't quite work anymore. How do you expect by the end of "Season 9" those two books in terms of the characters and their personal journeys will clash back together?

That's actually something we're still working out. Theirs is this sort of weird and tenuous, yet strong bond. We want to shake it up, we want to change the parameters, but at the same time, we're always having discussions about "Do they come here? Do they come apart? How separate can we make it and still have it be 'Angel and Faith?'" which is a team.

On the movie side of things, I'm going to be the twelve billionth person to tell you this weekend that "The Avengers" was great, it was so much fun, I saw it twice. I took my mother. She laughed and then she was confused about things, then she laughed again.

[Laughs] That's sort of what it was like to me. Funny, I didn't really know what was going on.

Well, one of the threads that really struck me as I was watching the film is that all the Marvel movies ended up being a play on this idea of militarization of technology and that we have something that's introduced into the world and we have opposing sides trying to weaponize it in some sense. Your really seemed to want to take that thread in some sense and kind of run -- not unknowingly -- but just a facet of the world and push it essential to the conflict. What for you made that a story that worked for these extraordinary characters coming together.

Well, I didn't really think about it in terms of what they had done for the other movies, except as useful to me. I didn't think about it as a thematic thread, I thought, "Oh, this is a piece I can use is that they're interested in this stuff" -- because why wouldn't they be? The idea that they were going to weaponize the cube, for me, was about playing more of the reality in terms of "The Ultimates" or "The Authority" -- that kind of thing where -- or Straczynski's book --

"Rising Stars?"

Yes. No, it's not "Rising Stars."

Oh! "Supreme Power!"

Yes, sorry. Sorry, J. Michael. But they all deal very poignantly with the reality of "Superman's here and he's in a bad mood. What do we do? We're humans! We've got nothing. We're in trouble." To lay that on the table was such a perfect thing for this because it made Fury seem Machiavellian, but I think he's totally right. I mean, absolutely they need to protect themselves. There's aliens now. Thor's an alien and he's stronger than us. It brought up issues that would help everybody's point of view coalesce and it would also help separate the Avengers from S.H.I.E.L.D., which is the other really important thing -- making sure that people didn't think, "Oh, it's a group that these guys run." It was very important for them to kill daddy in order to become their own grown-up family. That's the other thing that I like to raise. Fury even knew that. He knew he had to get them together as a team and then take himself out of the equation.

Comic Book Resources

Comic Review: Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 9 #10

Comic Review: Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 9 #10

Posted by Lucid Crash  |  July 24th, 2012 at 4:30 pm    

Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 9 #10Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Story by Andrew Chambliss and Scott Allie
Pencils by Cliff Richards
Ink by Andy Owens
Colors by Michelle Madsen
Cover by Phil Noto
Alternate Cover by Georges Jeanty with Dexter Vines and Michelle Madsen
Created by Joss Whedon
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: June 13, 2012
Cover Price: $3.99

Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 9 is all about the big existential questions interspersed with some brief action scenes and lovey bits thrown in. Joss Whedon is still the producer and occasional writer of his original creation, so all of those elements seem just as entertaining and challenging as ever. The Apart (Of Me) storyline has been no exception with Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season 9 #10 rounding up the arc in an orderly fashion. There are no big explosions or revelations, but with a more internalized plot like this one, that would have just been rather tacky. Not to worry, there is stuff actually happening.

Buffy-Bot (body of robot, brain o’ Buffy) and Buffy-Not (body of Buffy, brain o’ Robot) get in a tussle with the latest big bad, the rough slayer Simone, Spike’s “bug army” shows up, Detective Dowling is upset over the loss of his partner turned zompire Cheung, Buffy makes a decision about her coffee shop gig, Spike and Buffy make some progress in their relationship etc. All that is rather important, as it sets up the next wave of Buffydom tales in a very natural manner.

What I care about, especially nine seasons in, is all the quiet stuff. Buffy is plagued with insecurities and self-analysis intrinsic to being a live-action heroine in the modern world. The difference is now as an adult, there is more at stake (pardon the pun) than in high school. Just like many non-supernatural types, Buffy is adjusting to a reality of financial struggle after coming from a generation where people were taught that if they went to school, they would be a success like their parents, or at least like somebody’s parents. The Scooby gang (her core group of friends) is scattered about the country, she just lost her one remaining parental figure Giles, there was the infamous faux pregnancy scare, magic banished from the land, etc. So, while most people would need a break, she literally gets one. Half of her gets to play in the suburban world she idealizes because it represents what she will never have, (a normal life) while the other half stays and fights. Here’s to hoping body and soul comes together so to speak, so we can all get back to Buffy business as usual in San Francisco.

Phil Noto gets my vote for “coolest cover I have seen in a good while” with a psychedelic possible homage to Firestarter (or at least that is the old movie poster it reminded me of) with a swirling spiral of self-doubt forming a halo behind Geller’s blonde head. Quotes include: “Only you could lose your own body” to the more mundane “Why don’t you own a car?” The coexistence of events that would concern anyone with events that would effect “The Chosen One” have helped to keep this show so vital, years after it left TV sets. The newest nemesis Simone annoys rather than intrigues many fans but I cannot say I mind her and look forward to hearing more about her backstory/why we should ultimately care about her as a character. Also, Spike and I both “love her look” as preppy people are not that intimidating aside from Patrick Bateman.

Spike and I however differ on the necessity of a “bug army.” I realize that this makes me an 8-year-old, but simply put: bugs are gross. Even as a long-time vegetarian I cannot find any inherent sympathy within myself for insects. No one looks appealing standing next to one, and realistically if one started talking to a human being, said human being would start crying. Whenever I see them it makes me want to go to a happy place in my mind where Willow is still hanging around, vampires were still cute-ish, and Giles was still alive. OK, fine, I’m probably still just livid at Whedon for killing off Giles whether it made literary sense or not, but it’s still a good issue regardless despite my angst.

Geeks of Doom

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Joss Whedon, The Complete Companion Book Review

Joss Whedon, The Complete Companion Book Review

Very few creative minds in the world of television are adored as fanatically or studied as thoroughly as Joss Whedon. Scholars flock to his work, exploring hundreds of topics in the Whedonverse from all angles; was Willow and Tara’s homosexual relationship on Buffy The Vampire Slayer a brave rally behind the LGBTQ community, or just a case of tokenism that displayed lesbianism as something other-worldly and magical? Was Dollhouse just another example of misogyny masquerading as female empowerment? Did Firefly and Serenity really change sci-fi television and the film industry? PopMatters has published Joss Whedon, The Complete Companion: The TV Series, the Movies, the Comic Books and More with the goal of compiling some of the many essays trying to answer questions such as these.

The book, which has 464 pages containing over 60 essays and interviews, seems to cover all of Whedon’s works, including Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, Astonishing X-Men, and even Cabin in the Woods and The Avengers. However, for a book that compiles scholarly essays, only one question need be asked to assess its quality; would you be able to write a good essay using only this book as a scholarly source? The answer: yeah, I guess.

I can find few faults in the essays themselves; they are all logical, well written, and cover a wide variety of topics. While fans of Buffy will be well aware that it lends itself to be examined in gender studies, there are also essays that examine masculinity in Angel, providing the comparison that while Buffy is about how hard it is to be a woman, Angel is about how hard it is to be a man. The topics of moral ethics and language are also examined in several essays throughout the book and could all be used by students at the high school and university levels to write their own essays.

Sadly, the book was written before the release of The Avengers or Cabin in the Woods, so the essays contained can only speculate about the films. However, that does not make these essays worthless now that the movies have been released and watched by millions. The essay “Six Reasons why Joss Whedon is the Perfect Director for The Avengers” is written from the perspective that, should The Avengers be a good movie, the reasons explained will be why. Having seen the film, I agree with every point the author makes and his speculation is spot on. Therefore, were someone to use these reasons in their own essay, they are only burdened with the task of finding examples of these things in the film itself.

However, the book’s greatest fault is its lack of differing opinions which would hinder anyone trying to write an argumentative essay on any of the topics discussed. Not a single essay argues that Buffy, Angel, Firefly, or Dollhouse were insignificant in any way. The closest thing we get is an essay that argues that, while a step in the right direction, Buffy is not a perfect feminist hero because of the cattiness in her altercations with other women which often emphasize physical attractiveness. However, this essay is somewhat flawed by ignoring and completely denying the way that Xander Harris will comment on the physical appearance of characters like Spike and Angel, who he sees as threatening his masculinity in the same way Faith may threaten Buffy’s femininity. But this is as close as we get to hearing that any of Joss Whedon’s main works are anything less than a masterpiece.

One author even goes as far as to say that Alien Resurrection being terrible had nothing to do with Joss Whedon’s script, which anyone who has actually read the original script knows just isn’t true. This mistake is somewhat redeemed by another author’s essay being entirely dedicated to how Joss Whedon explored the failed ideas in Alien Resurrection in his later works (such as Buffy’s apathy after being brought back to life in the later seasons of Buffy), but it shows the general theme of the book: Joss Whedon is a god who can do (almost) no wrong.

Before I continue, I feel the need to establish that I am very much a Joss Whedon fan. My mom and I used to toon in to Buffy every week from season 3 to the series finale, and though I may have only been 11 years old when the series ended in 2003, I made a point to rewatch the entire series in my late teens. My boyfriend and I were Mal and Inara for Halloween last year. I have mapped out an entire script complete with technical notes for a would-be stage production of Dr. Horrible. I am a fan. All this to say that any criticisms here are not because I’m hell-bent on disavowing any praise bestowed on Joss Whedon or any of his works. My criticisms here are because, in addition to being a Joss Whedon fan, I’m also a university student who spends a lot of time writing essays and knows that to really prove your opinion is the correct one, you need to show that other opinions are wrong. This is where essays denying Joss Whedon’s greatness would come in. Essays arguing that Agent Scully from The X-Files is a better female role model and did more to change the role of women in television than Buffy or how Firefly is derivative of Star Wars would have been a welcome addition to the book, providing students points to argue against in their own writing. But sadly, such topics go unexplored. Unfortunately, this theme is present in almost any scholarly discussion of Joss Whedon’s works, as though the only people who care enough to talk about him are already eager to lick his boots.

However, there is one small point for which I must rain praise down upon this book for, and that is its appendix. At the end of the book, after all the essays, there is an appendix which lists every episode of every Joss Whedon television series along with the episode’s title, writer, director, original air date, time, and what network it played on. These kinds of details are gold for a student when writing their bibliography. Citing television shows is notoriously difficult as they often have different lead writers and directors from episode to episode and finding original air dates can be tricky. It often requires a lot of fast forwarding to the credits of the episode you want to cite and paying close attention. No more for a Joss Whedon series; it’s all there in The Complete Companion. It’s a small detail, but it took time to compile and must tip my hat to the authors for doing so.

Overall, while the essays are of good quality and are on a wide variety of topics, Joss Whedon, The Complete Companion: The TV Series, the Movies, the Comic Books and More could probably not be used as your only source for a good essay. However, I would highly recommend it as one source of many and to anyone who’s looking to validate their fandom with a little scholarly reading. If you find yourself stuck when trying to explain to friends just why exactly Firefly is a must-watch show, or have no answer when wondering why people are still talking about a vampire hunting cheerleader nearly ten years after the show has finished its run, give this book a read.

Nerd Reactor

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Which Pop Culture Property Do Academics Study the Most?

By Daniel Lametti, Aisha Harris, Natasha Geiling, and Natalie Matthews-Ramo

Last week in Slate, Tom Shone examined the academic obsession with the Alien quadrilogy, a movie franchise that has been the subject of dozens of scholarly articles. Shone listed 24 notable Alien studies at the end of his essay. Which got us thinking: How many more papers on the Alien movies are there? And how does the Alien franchise stack up against other films and TV shows that generate a lot of academic attention?

In addition to scouring the Internet to fill out Shone’s Alien bibliography, we also sought out academic writing on The Simpsons, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Wire, and The Matrix trilogy—pop culture favorites known to have provided plenty of PhD fodder over the last couple decades.

Who came out on top?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer by a mile. More than twice as many papers, essays, and books have been devoted to the vampire drama than any of our other choices—so many that we stopped counting when we hit 200. Buffy even has its own journal: Slayage, a publication of the Whedon Studies Association (named for the show’s creator, Joss Whedon), which features titles like “Real Vampires Don’t Wear Shorts: The Aesthetics of Fashion in Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Killing us Softly? A Feminist Search for the ‘Real’ Buffy.”

The Alien franchise did come in second with 86 studies—but it just barely edged out The Wire, which first aired in 2002, more than two decades after the original Alien hit theaters. Another turn-of-the-21st-century creation, The Matrix trilogy, is not far behind, with 71 titles. To our surprise, The Simpsons garnered only 29 academic papers, despite an ongoing, 23-season run. D’oh!

We found most of the studies listed on the website of UC Berkeley’s Media Resources Center, one of the largest repositories of filmed culture in America. We also consulted Google Scholar, JSTOR, and ProQuest. We only counted stand-alone articles and essays that were devoted primarily to the pop-culture property in question and were published either in scholarly journals or books published by university presses.

While the resulting numbers are by no means exact, Gary Handman, the Media Resources Center’s long-time director and website curator, said the result sounded about right to him. “There is so much written about Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” he said, adding, “it’s bone-breakingly weird.”

While not a fan of the show himself, Handman speculated that academics were intrigued by the devotion of its fans. (NPR’s All Things Considered tackled the question of academic interest in Buffy back in 2003.) Handman couldn’t name a television show with more written about it than Buffy, though he said The Wire seems to be catching up. He also suggested Star Trek and The Sopranos as popular choices among the titles we didn’t consider. “Oddly,” he said, “Mad Men doesn’t have a lot written about it.” We here at Slate also find this peculiar.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Behind Buffy Season 9: Unpacking "Angel & Faith's" Daddy Issues

In the world of Dark Horse and Joss Whedon's Buffy The Vampire Slayer, emotions often run high. But the most recent arc of "Buffy Season 9" series "Angel & Faith" explores what would happen if the titular characters could see their defining emotions -- guilt and regret -- taken away in the blink of an eye.

Wrapping this week with issue #9, the "Daddy Issues" arc brought with it the return of demented vampire Drusilla who, with the help of an emotion-sucking Lorophage demon, offered both of the book's heroes a chance to scrub the emotional baggage that came with their past sins and live life in the now. Combine that with Angel's ongoing attempts to piece together the late Rupert Giles' soul and Faith's dealing with the return of her alcoholic father, and the story holds a lot at stake within the larger fabric of Season 9.

To unpack the drama and the danger of the stories at hand, CBR News is back with a new installment of BEHIND BUFFY SEASON 9. This week, writer Christos Gage takes us on a tour of the "Daddy Issues" arc, revealing his full plans for Drusilla's Dark Horse debut, the inspiration for Faith's father Pat, the whereabouts of Angel's son Connor and the secrets both leads are hiding from each other -- and themselves.

Since we last spoke, we've seen a lot of twists in the story of Dru's return, and I wanted to start by talking a bit about the origin recap we got at the beginning of #7. We've talked before about finding that right balance between explaining for people who haven't seen every bit of the "Buffy" and "Angel" series what the background of these characters is while also giving nods to the die hard fans. What did you most want to get across in the scenes of Angel's siring of Dru, and how did that exposition impact Angel as a character throughout the arc?

Follow the link below for more:

Comic Book Resources

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Q&A with Cabin in the Woods Director Drew Goddard and Actress Amy Acker

I sat down with Cabin in the Woods director Drew Goddard and actress Amy Acker to discuss their film that rocked SXSW and has message boards going crazy. We had a chance to talk about writing with Joss Whedon, pacing in films, fearless filmmaking, and Drew gives his theory on how Michael Myers learned how to drive.
How were you able to write the story for Cabin in the Woods? Did you come up with the ending first and work backwards?
Drew Goddard: I wrote this with my partner in crime Joss Whedon……….
I think I’ve heard of him before
DG: [laughs] Yeah. He’s a young up and comer. You should keep your eye on him. He had the basic ending. When we knew what that was we could work backwards. That was very much how we worked on Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel. You find that spark of an idea and try to entertain each other as you flush it out.
Was it a long writing process?
DG: We spent a few months getting the outline in to shape and really getting the structure right. One of the things I learned from Joss, the more work you do on your structure and your outline, the easier the writing is. We spent months doing that. When it came time to write it we said ‘Let’s lock ourselves in a hotel and we aren’t allowed to leave the hotel until we finish the script’. [laughs] It was crazy. It was nice because we had a room with an upstairs and a downstairs. I took the upstairs and we would just yell back and forth and crank pages out. I think we wrote around the clock for three days and at the end we were done. We rewrote it after that, but it stuck pretty close to what we wrote.
Amy, How did you get involved with the project?
Amy Acker: I guess I just knew the right people [laughs]. I was working on something and Joss called and said they were having trouble finding a part and would I mind playing it. I said ‘That sounds great.’
DG: The reason we were having trouble is because nobody was Amy.
It’s good to have a pool of talented people to pull from.
DG: It’s hard because we switch tones so much. We go from high comedy to high drama, often in the same scene or in the same line. It requires a degree of difficulty that’s sort of deceptive. It is so silly at times, but if you find people who can do it well, like Amy can, you want to grab them and hold them close.
Some of the scenes in Cabin are creepy, funny, and then creepy again. The whole premise itself is really bizarre.
DG: I feel like you just described the whole movie.
[everybody laughs]
DG: It’s funny and it’s a little bizarre.
Like the scene with the speakerphone. It captures the tone for the entire film.
DG: It’s a really crucial scene. It was the first scene that told the audience ‘Ok. I’m getting the tone of this movie.’ We sort of hint at it before that, but that’s when it really crystallizes and you really get it.
Did you have any sense of what kind of film you were making while you were on set?
AA: Being around Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford was great. They were so funny. You really got the comedy sense of that part.
DG: Because we’ve worked with Amy for so many years, you’ve seen some [expletive] in your day.
AA: It would’ve been weirder for me if it was just straight forward [laughs].
You did some work on one of my favorite shows Lost. Was that experience helpful in writing the story for Cabin.
DG: Yeah. I’ve been lucky between Buffy, Angel, Alias, and then Lost. The thing they all have in common is that they were all fearless. They were not afraid to be different and try something different. Even if you didn’t know that it was going to work, just try to do something new and fresh. That’s definitely how we felt on Lost doing every episode. Let’s just try something new. I like that. That energy is really intoxicating once you’re in it. I wanted to keep that with Cabin. If nothing else, let’s be bold. If we fail, that’s fine, but there’s integrity to that intent.
Do the bold stories appeal to you as an actor?
AA: Totally. I think that’s the most fun thing to do as an actor. It’s getting to play circumstances that aren’t happening in real life, the same with being on those shows and with this movie.  And being able to change genres within each other. One week you feel like you’re on a sitcom, the next week you’re in a high drama. It’s really fun to play both ends of the spectrum and everything between.
Has Cabin been difficult to advertise for because of how different it is?
DG: Certainly. The filmmaker in me doesn’t want to give anything away. The audience member in me knows you have to prove to an audience that this is worth your time. It’s finding that balance. The truth is, the less you know about this movie the more fun you’re going to have. You also want to tell people that this is not your average everyday horror movie. I think Lionsgate has been doing a great job of giving just enough to let people know this isn’t the same old thing but keeping some of the surprises.
Trying to convince my Mom to see it would be tough because she hates scary movies.
DG: We’ve been touring now and one of the things that has been exciting is people coming up to me saying “I don’t even like Horror movies but I love this.” It’s nice to know that this is also for people that don’t care about Horror movies. I know if you like horror movies, we’ve got something for you. If you don’t like them, we still have something for you.
Me and my friend were having a discussion about the great shows on TV now and how they have a little bit for everyone in there. Like Friday Night Lights. If you love football, you’ll like it. If you’re into high drama, you’ll like it. Even if you love high school drama.
DG: It’s good storytelling.
The stories are good. Much like with Cabin, it doesn’t matter if you’re into that genre or not.
DG: Exactly. That’s always the goal. We definitely wanted to fall more in the Fun Horror Movie genre than the Traumatic Horror Movie genre. We wanted to say this is fun and we’re going to have a good time. We really set out to make a movie that’s a perfect date movie for a Friday night. It’s not too aggressive; it’s not going to give you too many nightmares, maybe a couple. We wanted people to have fun.
Do either of you have a favorite scary movie?
AA: I’m the biggest wimp. [Cabin in the Woods] is now my favorite scary movie. It’s the only one that I haven’t cried at. I am very scary. I’m afraid to flush the toilet after I see a scary movie.
[laughs] What’s the toilet going to do?
AA: [laughs] I don’t know
DG: It’ll tip them off to your location.
AA: But I loved [Cabin in the Woods] and I’m a big wimp.
It does have some awesome horror movie scenes in it.
DG: We wanted to tip our hats to those who’ve come before and try and ad something new. If I had to pick one scary movie I’d go with John Carpenter’s The Thing. That’s probably number one.
I’d hug you right now if it wouldn’t be so inappropriate. I bought a t-shirt the other day that says Outpost #31. I watch that movie every year.
DG: Really. I screened it for the crew before we started this movie. It’s such a beautiful film. Everything about the film was perfect.
Not to nerd out on The Thing too much but it’s so well paced……..
DG: So well paced and that was very important to me. Pacing is sort of fallen off recently. Everything is sort of shock, music video cuts, and shaky camera. I like the way Carpenter shoots The Thing. It’s much more elegant. It’s much quieter and it builds and builds until you get to these crazy places. Lord knows The Thing goes insane by the end, but it’s all stepped out. What I love about any good horror movie is that it functions on multiple levels. It’s just a great story, but also the societal implications. The whole movie is a metaphor for society, what we go through, paranoia, and mistrust of one another. That’s what’s going on in that movie. I remember when I first realized that as kid. A light bulb went on in terms of doing multiple things in one movie.
There’s some of that in Cabin
DG: Absolutely. Mr. Carpenter’s influence is very deep.
One of my favorite movies is Halloween………..
DG: Yep. That was the other one I showed them. There are a lot of nods to Halloween in this movie.
That’s what I thought. Even in Cabin when you know the scare is coming, it’s done so well that it doesn’t matter. Halloween was the same way. The scene when Jamie Lee Curtis goes to into the house and finds the bodies, you see Michael Myers slowly come out of the shadows.
DG: It’s the greatest. It’s so elegant. It really feels like this is going to be extra bad.
Since you’re a big fan of Halloween I have a question. How does Michael Myers know how to drive a car when he breaks out of the asylum?
DG: Great question. I always like concept that while he was at the asylum, one of the ways they tried to help him was making him feel like he was part of society. So his instructor brought his car into the parking lot and let Michael drive it around in circles. That’s my guess. And it didn’t go well. Michael was always trying to smash into things so they had to stop.
Did you have any favorite moments while making this film?
AA: I think the scene with the speakerphone was it. If I’m sad, I just think of that because it was so funny.
DG: Being a director, every scene I loved. It’s like trying to pick between them. There’s not a scene in the movie that I don’t love.
Is ending a horror film the toughest part to do?
DG: Certainly 3rd Acts of any movie are hard. It’s always hard to have something that will give you the promises from the beginning of the movie. That’s true for all movies. That is what gave me comfort in making this film. I knew we had a tremendous 3rd Act.  No matter what happened in the first 60 minutes, the last 30 minutes was going to blow people’s minds.
How did you come up with the concept for the 3rd Act?
DG: I don’t know.
It was like something out of my 8 year old mind’s nightmares.
DG: That’s what it is. It was like getting in touch with that spirit of, if you were a kid and could do whatever you want and make whatever you want. Let your imagination run wild. It was just imaginations going crazy.

Seattle Pi

Thursday, December 22, 2011

‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ movie looking for new writer

Screenwriter Whit Anderson (Sam Comen)

Dec. 22, 2011

That big-screen revamp of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” has been dealt a setback — it looks as though the movie’s first-time screenwriter bit off more than she could chew.

GALLERY: "Buffy" stars: where are they now?

Two sources close to the project say that the script submitted this past summer by writer Whit Anderson fell far short of expectations and, in the end, was rejected completely. That’s news that will spark celebration from some longtime “Buffy” fans who were less than thrilled by the prospects of a “Buffy” revival that didn’t involve Joss Whedon. Whedon, now directing “The Avengers” for Marvel,  himself took a few shots at the reboot project — although he did so with a sly wink.

“This is a sad, sad reflection on our times,” Whedon said last November when that deal was announced, “when people must feed off the carcasses of beloved stories from their youths — just because they can’t think of an original idea of their own, like I did with my Avengers idea that I made up myself.”

As for the future of “Buffy”? A new writer is being sought but the entire endeavor may have lost some steam. There also might be some healthy fear among the producers who witnessed a spasm of fan criticism when the project was first publicized.

“If you’re going to bring it back, you have to do it right,” one key player in the project told Hero Complex. “[Anderson] came in with some great ideas and she had reinvented some of the lore and it was pretty cool but in the end there just wasn’t enough on the page.”

— Geoff Boucher