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Joss Whedon - Vampire Master     Buffy's creator at the Hellmouth!  

from TV Zone #115
Joss Whedon is a man who reminds you how truly horrible high school can be.

For Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator/executive producer Joss Whedon, the motion picture Alien Resurrection, based on his screenplay, was a wake-up call to the reality of the Hollywood system and its treatment of the screenwriter.

“After Alien Resurrection,” he explains, “I said, ‘The next person who ruins one of my scripts is going to be me.’ I have always wanted to direct. I’m not just a bitter writer trying to protect his sh*t. I think they’re two very different talents, but there is an element of, ‘enough already’. It really does sum up the argument of movies versus television, and why television can be so much more satisfying. I was making an argument in the past that I had yet to really live. It was the final crappy humiliation of my crappy film career. Buffy is the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever gotten to do, and I’ll be hard pressed to find something to top it even when I have more control.”

Whedon’s screenwriting career has been a mixed bag, with an Academy Award nomination for Toy Story and his uncredited rewrite of Speed as high points, while the feature film version of Buffy and the uncredited doctoring of Waterworld were the low.

“Ultimately, though, my heart is at Buffy, because my body is here. This is like making little movies on the sly. You have an idea and three weeks later you’re prepping it, instead of waiting three years. I’m not ashamed to say that I like that. The bottom line is that I’m telling the stories I want to, which is something I’ve always dreamed about. There’s nothing else on my resumé that I can look at and say, ‘That’s pure me.’ But does the show meet all of my expectations? It never will. Nothing ever does.

"Actually, last year exceeded them and this year has been a struggle because I was so happy last year that I’m like, ‘Can we do it again? Is the magic gone? Did we peak?’ Which is good, because you keep working really hard. Last year it go so personal and so strange and it got heavier than I expected it could have. We really got to go there emotionally, mostly because we have actors who can do anything. We didn’t know that when we started.”

In moving Buffy to television, Whedon decided that Buffy on the show was already a Slayer and has moved to a new town, Sunnydale, after being kicked out of her old school (due to events of the feature film). “I came up with this idea that her new high school was built on an area called Boca Del Inferno, which roughly translates to Hellmouth,” he notes. “So every mystical occurrence and monster could happen and we wouldn’t be restricted to vampires. If it would have just been vampires, I’m not sure if we could have carried it off. But when you added zombies and demons, I began to believe we’d have a series here.

"If you look at movies like I Was a Teenage Werewolf, you’ll see this combination of teen angst and horror has been going on for a long time. We deal with teen subjects, because that is where all the interesting stories come from. The horror and the stories have to come from the characters, their relationships and their fears. There’s an idea in the ‘high school horror show’ that could sustain an entire television show that goes for years. People need the big bad wolf. They need something to project their fears on to. There hasn’t been that on television for a long time.”

Edward Gross

There's much more of this revealing interview in TV Zone #115.
Nine pages of Buffy coverage includes Season Three developments and new episodes reviewed, plus a look ahead to the Angel series spin-off.

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