Joss Whedon JDIFF Q&A

Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

The Q&A after Much Ado was much shorter than I hoped it would be! And the moderator, in introducing Joss again, asked the question I wanted to ask, which was: “You made Much Ado on a twelve day shoot between finishing filming Avengers and starting to edit it. (“No,” Joss said, parenthetically, “we’d already started editing Avengers…”) So the burning question here is, what’s wrong with you?”

“Workaholism,” Joss said sadly. “There’s no known cure.”

Which had been more or less what I wanted to ask, although I might have phrased it as, “Are you crazy?” and would have prefaced it with something to the effect of, “First off, speaking for almost all geeks everywhere, thank you for not fucking up The Avengers.”

Possibly that would not have gone over the way I intended it, though (honestly, it’s a compliment! Like us all staggering out of X-Men going “It didn’t suck!” It might sound backhanded, but the depths of our gratitude were unplumbable!), so maybe it’s just as well I didn’t get to ask. :)

This will invariably get long, so the bulk of it shall go behind the cut. :)

Question: What would having Tony Head play Leonato, as had been the original plan, have brought to the film?

“Pausing,” Joss said without missing a beat. “Tony said to me, “You’re not one of those directors who just wants people to rush, are you?” And I said, “You *have* met me, Tony…” But he also said that actually Clark Gregg was his first choice for Leonato, but then Gregg’s scheduled got tied up because he was also doing a film of his own in the month after Avengers wrapped, so Joss asked Tony, who was scheduled with something else, so he asked somebody else who could do it, and then that guy’s schedule got tied up and Tony’s got untied and then retied and Joss said, “I called Clark and was like, “Um, are you still busy with that movie of your own…?” and Clark said, “You’ve got to be kidding,” and showed up 90 minutes later with a script in hand.” :)

Question: Were you ever concerned about whether some of the cast might not be able to handle the Shakespearian roles?

Joss: The only person I’m ever concerned about not being able to do it is me. I have utter confidence in my actors. Alexis and Amy had read Benedick and Beatrice during our Shakespeare Sundays, so they’d already done it. Nathan, though, he didn’t want to do the part. I mean, he REALLY WANTED TO. But then he said no, he didn’t think he could do it, so he didn’t want to do it, and I said, yes, you can, here, I’ll cut one of the speeches and shorten one of the scenes, and now you have to do it, ahahahah.” (He didn’t actually finish with “ahahaha” but that was clearly the gist of the thing. :))

Question: We know you have your regulars, but is there anybody you’d like to work with?

Joss: The people I want to work with are my buddies. I keep the good ones. Also I like discovering people, because then they owe me! (evil, but I suspect perfectly honest, laugh from Joss, much amusement from the audience)

Question: As someone whose father and grandfather worked in the TV industry, what would be your best advice for someone wanting to break into TV?

Joss: Have your grandfather and father work in the industry. No, seriously. It’s really easy, all you need is a time machine… I’m the worst person to ask that question of, really, because they did work in the industry. When I was young my father sat me down and told me not to get involved in the TV industry. His father had done the same to him–

Question: So are you going to tell your children that?

Joss: No, no, if they want the pain, then I’ll tell them to go for it. That’s what I’d tell anybody. There’s no excuse now for not making TV, if that’s what you want to do. You don’t have to be in Hollywood. Put it together yourself. We can do that now. That’s what we’re doing, with Bellwether. We’re a micro studio. Minor studios look like (makes huge hands) to us.

Question: You’ve done Dr Horrible and Once More With Feeling. Do you want to do a full-scale musical?

Joss: Absolutely. That’s the dream. On stage, on film, I don’t know, but yes, yes, of course.

Question: I’m a theatre producer and would like to do a stage production of Once More With Feeling. I’ve brought a letter about my company…

Joss: (runs forward to take the letter from the woman) But see, I don’t *own* it…that’s why they had to stop doing midnight runthroughs of it…

Question: Was it a relief, going into Much Ado, knowing that you weren’t going to have to kill anybody?

Joss: (amidst roaring laughter) Didn’t get to kill anybody, you mean I didn’t get to kill anybody…

Question: We know you can’t really tell us anything about Avengers 2, but…

Joss: I know I can’t make it bigger, but I can make it better. I thought, I thought I was going to be done with the Avengers, I’ve done that now, but they asked me and I started thinking about what I could do with it, what I hadn’t done, and…Death, death, and more death! (lots of audience laughter)

Also, I can’t remember exactly how it came up, but while talking about filming Much Ado, Joss mentioned that his wife had said “Instead of us going on vacation, you need to make this movie.” The vacation was supposed to be their 20th wedding anniversary vacation. He said, “I said, “Okay!” because I’m seeeeeeeelllllllllfiiiiiiiish!”, which was funny, but the fact that his wife offered made me think: she is a partner like I have in Ted.

I’m quite certain Joss knows he’s lucky, as I know I am, but it’s really pretty remarkable for a partner to see something like that and prioritize it that way. So I thought that was a particularly cool thing, and will end my writeup with it, ’cause right now I can’t think of anything else that got talked about anyway. :)