Friday, July 12, 2013

"Joss Whedon: Conversations" edited by David Lavery and Cynthia Burkhead

This is a rather unique book.  It's a collection of eighteen interviews with Joss Whedon done by a variety of different people, magazines, websites, etc. from 2000 to 2009.  It covers everything from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Angel to Firefly and Serenity.  And, of course, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.  There's also a lot of discussion of Whedon's work writing screenplays for various movies, and his many disappointments there.  Obviously, since it ends in 2009, there's no mention of The Avengers other than this one, which amused me greatly:

[Interviewer] Kozak:  Given how you seem to embrace ensembles, does Marvel's Avengers project over at Paramount offer any particular appeal?
Whedon:  Y'know, the thing about the X-Men is they have a coherent core.  The Avengers to me is tough.  I wouldn't approach The Avengers, I wouldn't approach the Fantastic Four.  The X-Men are all born of pain, and pain is where I hang my hat.
(Interview with Jim Kozak from In Focus, August 2005.  Page 102.)

Hee.  Clearly, he found a way to rethink that.

Anyway, this is a fascinating look inside the mind and creative process of one of the greatest writers of our time.  And, according to these interviews, Joss Whedon does see himself as primarily a writer, despite his successes as director, show-runner, etc.  He has a lot of good insights into what makes stories tick, what makes characters work, and other things that greatly intrigued my writerly self.

Ultimately, this is a great book for fans of Joss Whedon and for writers, but I'm not sure anyone else would enjoy it much.  

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  R because Joss swears a lot, which disappointed me.

Particularly Good Bits: 

"I'm not an adult!" he says, shaking his head.  "I don't want to create responsible shows with lawyers in them.  I want to invade people's dreams."  (p. 70)

"I can't stress enough that I believe the best thing in the world is for everybody who feels like they have a story to tell, to tell it."  (p. 182)


  1. Since Joss Whedon is my favorite creator of fiction, I am definitely interested in this. He created, what I consider, the two best fictional teams/crews with the Avengers and the Serenity crew. Also he can be evil, killing off everyone's favorite characters without warning.

    "The Avengers to me is tough."
    *Makes The Avengers the most awesome comic book movie ever made* *Like a Joss*

    He made The Avengers both fit into the previously established continuity, yet adding his special type of character qualities that capture each character perfectly.

    Sorry for my Avengers rant there, anyway, great review!


    1. Yes, I found it really funny that something he said he had no interest in ended up being what he's spending most of his time on now, not to mention it's what brought him to the attention of the masses. Like how my hubby was bored stiff by the administrative law course he had to take in grad school, and now that's what his job is all about and he loves it. You just never know.

  2. I love Joss Whedon's work! I'll definitely be reading this!


What do you think?

(Rudeness and vulgar language will not be tolerated.)