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A short talk with Joss Whedon

by Keith McDuffee, posted Aug 5th 2008 10:20AM
joss whedonOne of the highlights of the Sci Fi / EW party at Comic-Con was being able to talk to and shake the hand of Joss Whedon. It's no secret that I'm a fan of his work, and with the incredible presence of Dr. Horrible and Dollhouse at this year's Comic-Con, it's no mystery why he was at the 'Con.

Unfortunately for me, I had no idea he was going to be heading down that red carpet, so in hindsight I of course have a ton of questions I would have liked to have thought of at the time. Since my time was limited with everyone anyway, I kept it relevant to what was going on at the 'Con as best I could.

I've got more to add later about the discussion regarding the digital medium, but that will be a different post down the road. As for Joss, he's very easy to talk to and my transcription doesn't really show how good-natured the conversation was. At one point Eliza Dushku stepped in to say hello to us -- you don't see that every day.

Keith McDuffee: What I found very interesting was, when in talking about Dr. Horrible and moving over to the digital medium, you mentioned [in your panel] that it puts the success or the failure in the hands of the "wrong" people. Did you consciously plan this out and think, look, this is a good experiment. Let's put Dr. Horrible on the Internet, let's see what kind of money we can make out of this and see how successful it is, then go from there and pretty much tell the networks, you know, where to stick it?

Joss Whedon: Well, you know ... things are evolving. And with the [WGA] strike ... Dr. Horrible was born during the strike, and it was about doing the work. It was about putting something on the Internet and saying, "people are going to come to this. We're going to make an event on the Internet the way they used to. The way nobody expects us to." And that wasn't a finger raised to the networks or anything. It was just "I believe people want people to see this, and I want to show it to them," because ... it has Neil Patrick Harris and ... It started out in a political way, but again, I believe in the model. None of us expected to make a dime. We went in knowing we can't expect to.

Then, the strike was over, and when we rolled it out, the reaction was that this wonderful thing that we began has now come full circle. It was now an important thing for the industry to know: this is what we're doing. It wasn't about whether or not we make money, but if we do, now the industry will take notice.

KM: As people already mentioned in the panel, there are websites already started to "save Dollhouse" even before it's started. Now, say something were to happen, and Dollhouse didn't make it, can you picture just saying, "fine, we'll just take it to the Internet," let the fans support it?

JW: You know, the thing with Dollhouse, honestly, I created that for the Fox network. For Eliza's deal at Fox. And that's where it belongs. And, if it doesn't go ... you know, if America doesn't respond, or Fox isn't very supportive and it doesn't show any signs of hope ... but if for some reason it doesn't happen ... well, I think my reaction would be "what's the next thing?" not "how can I bring it to the next medium?" Even though we're doing webisodes and we're doing them around the show, to have Eliza and those resources ... it's a very different thing.

When I did Dr. Horrible, it was very much designed for the Internet the way Dollhouse is designed for Fox. So ... it wouldn't be the first thought I'd have. The first thought I'd have would be (crying hysterically) "OH GOD I'VE FAILED! I NEED MORE WINE!"

KM: You've done that a couple of times then.

JW: (Laughs) Well ... never ... Arrrgh!

KM: OK, OK, totally off the subject ... I've got to ask about the musical thing. You've got Dr. Horrible, you did the Buffy musical ... when are you going to bring it to the actual stage?

JW: You know, it's something I yearn to do. I'm living out, like, five of my fantasies right now ... a musical isn't one, but not that it shouldn't happen, just that it shouldn't happen in the next six months, because I've still got the five fantasies. That's my dream. Broadway or a lot of high schools -- I don't care. I just love musicals.

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Firefly. Webisodes. Now.

August 05 2008 at 7:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great interview!

And the thought of Dr Horrible as a high school musical almost makes me wish I was back in high school!

August 05 2008 at 12:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joey Geraci

How exactly was Dollhouse "designed" for Fox, other than the fact that he had to put it on Fox if he wanted to work with Dushku.

I love Joss, but I don't quite understand his reasoning there.

August 05 2008 at 12:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Joey Geraci's comment

He politely says that even if he wanted to, the rights remain with Fox and if they don't support him then a) Eliza has a contract that spans a timeframe and not a single show and b) they can then go f themselves because Dr. Horrible is designed to be done cheap and for the web and Dollhouse is a high profile show with a certain budget which would look cheap when done Dr. Horrible-style.

It's not that hard to understand if you ask me if you have read stuff he said before when his other shows uhm... were in trouble.

Oh and my mouth watered just reading about Eliza popping in and saying hello. You are a lucky bastard Keith.

August 05 2008 at 1:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I didn't add that, when she came over to say hello, she gave Joss a kiss and all I could say was, "hey now, you're making me jealous!"

I did catch up with Eliza later, inside the party. I didn't have my recorder at the time but there's sorta a funny story to add there that I'll put in my final wrap-up post.

And yes, she is stunning in person.

August 05 2008 at 1:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


God, I love Joss Whedon.

August 05 2008 at 11:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Joss Whedon is too awesome. Thanks for this Keith!

August 05 2008 at 10:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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