The MoJo Interview: Joss Whedon

by admin on November 27, 2008

 Joss Whedon

Mother Jones have a “MoJo” interview with Joss Whedon. The interview isn’t Dollhouse-specific by any means, but it’s worth a gander. Here’s an extract (audio link at end of post):. 

Mother Jones: How has writing for television been different from writing for film?

Joss Whedon: I respect television in a way that some people who came out of film might not. Some people might take this as stereotyping, but I describe television as feminine and movies as masculine, in the sense that television wants to examine a problem from all sides and talk about it for a long time, and movies just want to hit the climax and then maybe have a smoke. I respect the rules of TV, the rules of keeping things commercial and interesting and pop-y and fun.

MJ: Some examples of those rules?

JW: My cast was not hideous to look upon. I made every act break at an exciting time that would make you want to come back after you examined these products that we used to examine before TiVo. And I tried to make money for the people that I work with, like Hyman Roth.

MJ: When you wrote Buffy, were you actively thinking, “I’m going to make an empowered feminist icon,” or were you just intuitively telling the story you wanted to tell? Or are they the same?

JW: It’s both, and they’re not the same. Because “intuitively” means, “This is what turns me on, this is what I need to see, this is my obsession.” I’ve seen a lot of movies [written] by guys who set out to [create a feminist icon] and didn’t feel it. Look at A League of Their Own. All of the good lines are Tom Hanks’. Those guys are really fabulous writers, but it’s not enough to say, “This should be done.” You have to need to do it. The way Guillermo del Toro [Pan’s Labyrinth] needs to make movies about insects—that man cares more about insects than anyone I know. He clearly is obsessed. And obsession is beautiful. It’s what makes art.

MJ: You create interesting heroes, as well as interesting villains. In Angel, you have the good guy fighting against an evil law firm, Wolfram and Hart. In Firefly, you have Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a defeated rebel soldier, battling the victorious planetary Alliance.

JW: Evil doesn’t come in saying, [breathes heavily, Darth Vader-style], “It’s your faaather.” Generally speaking, it’s a lot more nebulous. In fact, it usually isn’t evil so much as it is a lot of people overthinking things until they find themselves caught in an untenable situation.

MJ: In the second-to-last season of Angel, the hero actually takes a job with Wolfram and Hart, and eventually he just loses it and brings down the house.

JW: Well, you know, I’m sure I’m going to bring down News Corp with Dollhouse. Hmmm—maybe you shouldn’t quote that. I’m not a huge fan of Mr. Murdoch’s politics, God knows, or his methods. But I’ve been at Fox on and off for practically the whole of my career. Am I the biggest hypocrite in the world for taking their money? Am I doing any good? Or am I working for Wolfram and Hart? I feel at the end of the day, I’m doing some good. They’re letting me tell my stories. We’ll see if the stories on Dollhouse actually come out the way I plan them to.

You can listen to the entire interview here (38M58S).

Previous post:

Next post:

Flash Forward TV Series - Fringe Fox - Fringe Fox - TV Show Blog - Serialized TV Forums