EXCLUSIVE: FIREFLY's Master and Commander Speaks -- Part Two (Mania.com)

By:Patrick Sauriol
Date: Friday, December 12, 2003

Picking up from where the first part of our exclusive interview with FIREFLY creator Joss Whedon ended, in part two we'll get to find out what were the joys and problems making FIREFLY, what it was like casting the series, what Whedon's favorite episode was, his thoughts on singing the show's theme song and why he absolutely cannot say a word about the FIREFLY movie.

Here we go with more Joss!

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Q: So

Zoe (Gina Torres), Mal (Nathon Fillion), and Jayne (Adam Baldwin) investigate a mysteriously abandoned ship in the "Bushwacked" episode of FIREFLY

what are your thoughts on the new FIREFLY DVD set that Fox just released? Are you happy with it?

WHEDON: I'm very happy. The first time they put one in my hands it was like Christmas because it's so important for me for people to see it. I think that they did a really good and respectful job of putting it together. The episodes look great, they're widescreen, the way they were meant to be broadcast, the extras are cool, they did a little documentary and a bunch of interviews with everybody. I think that it was really beautifully made, kind of lovely.

Q: Now on one of the bonus features you actually sing the theme song...

WHEDON: Good lord.

Q: I gotta ask.

WHEDON: What happened was, I gave a demo the same way that I did with the BUFFY musical just so that they would have the basic lyric, tune and chords. But it was supposed to be sung by an old black man. I mean, it's supposed to be a blues song, it's supposed to have somebody with that voice, that kind of voice that you may be noticing right now that I don't have!

And

FIREFLY - THE COMPLETE SERIES is on DVD.

then it changed somewhat when we recorded it because it was Fox and they wanted, you know, action and galvanizing...it was really supposed to be kind of a quiet tune. It was supposed to be a guy on his porch, Robert Johnson kind of feel. It ended up being so upbeat that when they said can they put the demo on I was like, yeah, because that kind of shows more the intent of the kind of song it was. Then of course I listen to it again and I was like, 'Oh dear lord what have I done! They'll chase me through the streets with torches!' But it was too late.

Q: What's the latest with the FIREFLY movie? I know it's not at Fox

WHEDON: I really can't unfortunately say anything about it.

Q: Can't say anything about it?

WHEDON: Not really because talking about it would make it less likely.

Q: OK, that's fine. Let's talk about what was your favorite episode out of the thirteen?

WHEDON: I'm tempted to say "Objects in Space" because I think it's some of my best work but actually, probably, "Out of Gas". Tim [Minear] wrote it and David Solomon directed it. I think nothing shows the mundane and yet completely life threatening existence they have, nothing shows how they cohere as a crew better than that. I think that it has the biggest heart of any episode that we did. I just adore it.

Q: Looking back what would you say was the biggest difficulty or problem you had making FIREFLY? Was it a specific moment or a scene...?

WHEDON: You

River (Summer Glau) is examined by the locals in the "Safe" epiode of FIREFLY

know...well, there, the biggest problem or difficulty was that we didn't get to continue but that coming in second there were a couple of episodes where things just didn't add up. Everything seems to be clicking along and then you look at a cut and go 'What? What did-?' So we ended up doing a lot of reshoots and some rewrites, for example for "Safe" to try and make it flow better and get the message home better. That one took a lot of doing but I think we got to where we wanted to with it. I love that one.

Q: OK.

WHEDON: When I saw the first cut I was like, 'OK! Um, let's talk.' That's inevitable. Some of them just come together like magic and some of them appear like they came together like magic but magic means six days of second unit.

Q: Did you have any of the actors in mind when you envisioned the characters?

WHEDON: No, I had written the outline I think before I ever started talking to people. I think that the only one that I met before I wrote the script was Nathan [Fillion]. I had met him but, I'm not even sure I may have been finishing the script and they had just gotten the beat sheet. But no, I really wrote them just as characters and then it was extraordinary to watch people come in and it was like, 'Oh! There they are. I know you! I've written you!'

Q: Was it difficult casting and trying to find the right people?

WHEDON: It was grueling and exhausting and very difficult. We started filming and didn't have an Anara, and so that was very...the whole process, it's a terrible process. It's just horrific. You have to sit with a bunch of executives from the studio and the network. You show them three different people and there would be this one that you love and you're rooting for and they bomb or the network just doesn't get it. But at the same time somebody that you sort

The man who brought us Buffy and Angel, Joss Whedon poses at the 2003 Buffy and Angel PBP charity event copyright Sue Schneider

of thought, oh well, OK, maybe they'd do, comes in and blows you away and then you're all like, oh, well that was good.

I found out Gina [Torres] was auditioning 40 minutes before the audition. We'd seen her and she'd dropped out, she had a conflict with MATRIX RELOADED or something, and then all of a sudden...I was thinking of somebody else completely [different], and then she came in, auditioned and we were like 'Oh, well, there you go!' That part's fine.

Q: Time for the final question: what's in your DVD player right now?

WHEDON: What's in my DVD player right now? PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN because we fell asleep during it.

I tried to watch the commentary for SOLARIS but Cameron kept talking over Soderberg and I didn't agree with what he was saying so I stopped watching that. He was describing a shot and I'm like, 'That's not the point of the shot at all! I disagree! Include me in on this commentary!' I don't listen to commentary much but I will probably listen to Nathan and Alan on "War Stories" because those guys really make me laugh. Also, GANGS OF NEW YORK. I need to know more about how that happened. Bill the Butcher is my secret boyfriend.

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The boxed DVD set of FIREFLY is now out in stores. Tell us what you think of FIREFLY, the DVD set or this interview in our DVD message boards -- it's just the right thing to do.


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