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Author Topic: Interesting Joss Whedon Interview  (Read 4411 times)

Jan 01, 2007, 04:45:13 PM
Topic on: Jan 01, 2007, 04:45:13 PM
I found a couple of interesting interviews with Joss Whedon, writer of Alien Resurrection. These were done towards the end of 2005 but I only just read them. He talks about how much he disliked Alien Resurrection and how his original drafts were different.

I always blamed Sigourney Weaver, Jeunet and Whedon for Res but would a different director have made any difference to the script?

In Focus

I thought your original screenplay for “Alien: Resurrection” was brilliant – with its epic final battle on Earth, for Earth – and vastly more engrossing than what ultimately made its way to the screen. I have to assume there were budgetary issues, because I can’t imagine another reason anyone would tinker with it.
Well, let me ask you something. This ending that took place on Earth. What happened in it? Where did it take place?

It took place in a forest ...
Yes. Oh wow. That’s the first one. There were five. And it was always either “the director had a vision” or they had a budget issue. And as a script doctor I’ve been called in more than a few times, and the issue is always the same: “We want you to make the third act more exciting and cheaper.” And my response inevitably is, “The problem with the third act is the first two acts.” This response is never listened to. I usually walk away having gotten one or two jokes into a script and made some money and feeling like I am just bereft of life. It’s horrible. The exceptions were “Toy Story” and “Speed,” where they actually let me do something.
In the case of “Alien: Resurrection,” they decided to spend their money in other places than going to Earth. And I just kept saying, “The reason people are here is we’re going to do the thing we’ve never done; we’re gonna go to Earth.” But there were a lot of things that we hadn’t done that we ended up not doing because of a singular lack of vision.

But rather than go into all of the reasons why “Alien: Resurrection” is disappointing to me, I will tell you that, yes, I wrote five endings. The first one was in the forest with the flying threshing machine. The second one was in a futuristic junkyard. The third one was in a maternity ward.

And the fourth one was in the desert. Now at this point this had become about money, and I said, “You know, the desert looks like Mars. That’s not Earth; that’s not going to give people that juice.” But I still wrote them the best ending I could that took place in the desert. And then finally they said, “Y’knowww, we just don’t think we need to go to Earth.” So I just gave them dialogue and stuff, but I don’t remember writing, “A withered, granny-lookin’ Pumkinhead-kinda-thing makes out with Ripley.” Pretty sure that stage direction never existed in any of my drafts.

Given that you’ve described your experience on “Alien: Resurrection” as something of a personal Vietnam, is there irony to the fact that your feature directorial debut also centers on a crew of in-over-their-heads space-criminals?
Somebody pointed that out to me, the similarity between Serenity and the Betty [“Alien Ressurection’s” spaceship], and it just stopped me in my tracks. I was like, “Yes, my pony did its trick again!” I really never thought of it until somebody pointed it out to me. But the irony goes further than I could have imagined because we shot it on the same stages at Fox where they shot “Alien: Resurrection.” In fact, Serenity was built over the pit that they dug for “Alien: Resurrection” for the underwater sequence.

The history of “Alien: Resurrection” is fairly twisted also because I wrote a 30-page treatment for a different movie. They wanted to do a movie with a clone of Newt [the little girl from “Aliens”] as their heroine. Because I’d done some action movies and I’d done “Buffy,” they said, “Well, he can write teenage girls and he can write action, so let’s give him a shot.” The franchise was pretty much dead, and I wrote the treatment and they said, “This is really exciting. We want to get back in this business. But we want Ripley. So throw this out.” That one was probably my favorite; I think it was a better-structured story than the one I ultimately wrote.

You’ve created with “Firefly” and “Serenity” another universe in which the spaceships do not travel faster than light, while “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” and “Battlestar Galactica” and virtually every other major spacefaring franchise utilizes faster-than-light travel. Does this betray perhaps a particular fondness for the “Alien” franchise, which also eschewed FTL?
Very much so, and I think the roots of it go eons beyond. The science fiction that I love, generally speaking, was very sort of specific. What I loved about spaceships was the idea that they might break. The idea of being in one. The idea of the grittier, realistic, hard-science kind of space that was actually creepy to be in. That’s why “Alien” just blew me away. I was like, “These are people who don’t even like each other. There’s no structure here. They killed the handsome guy. I can’t figure this out.” It was just a scary place to be. The most important line in “Star Wars,” to me, is the moment Luke looks at the Millennium Falcon, the most beautiful ship I’ve ever seen, and says, “What a piece of junk!”

Do you want to go so far as to say that you like the “Alien” movies better than the “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” movies?
I like “Star Wars” and “Alien.” I think “Star Wars” and “Alien,” those were the two that formed me the most. The “Star Trek” movies I’ve enjoyed. I’ve never been a Trekker. I’ve taken them for what they’re worth but I don’t think they’re on a par with those other two.


BE: Okay, and I’ve got one final one, and I promise this is it, but my editor’s as big a geek as I am (You wish, Pop Boy – Ed.), and he wanted to know how different was the final version of “Alien Resurrection” when compared to your script? I mean, was it really dramatic...?

JW: know, it wasn’t a question of doing everything differently, although they changed the ending, it was mostly a matter of doing everything wrong. They said the lines...mostly...but they said them all wrong. And they cast it wrong. And they designed it wrong. And they scored it wrong. They did everything wrong that they could possibly do. There’s actually a fascinating lesson in filmmaking, because everything that they did reflects back to the script or looks like something from the script, and people assume that, if I hated it, then they’d changed the script...but it wasn’t so much that they’d changed the script; it’s that they just executed it in such a ghastly fashion as to render it almost unwatchable. (Pauses) Good times. (Pauses again) Well, I really must go...

Jan 01, 2007, 11:38:55 PM
Reply #1 on: Jan 01, 2007, 11:38:55 PM
I'm really tired of Whedon concerning this subject. He cries every time about Alien 4. "They did it wrong, they did it wrong" Man, just accept your responsibility for this thing!  >:(

I hope he was upset for his "happy interview" they put in the Quadrilogy when everything was good to him.

Jan 01, 2007, 11:47:12 PM
Reply #2 on: Jan 01, 2007, 11:47:12 PM
Actually, this is the first I've heard of Whedon not liking Alien Res. Has he spoken about it before?

Corporal Hicks
Jan 01, 2007, 11:50:47 PM
Reply #3 on: Jan 01, 2007, 11:50:47 PM
I always used to blame Whedon for Res but after having seen Firefly/Serenity don't know how that man ever did any like this.

Jan 01, 2007, 11:56:43 PM
Reply #4 on: Jan 01, 2007, 11:56:43 PM
Actually, this is the first I've heard of Whedon not liking Alien Res. Has he spoken about it before?

Well, some years ago when he was asked about Alien 5, he said "No way, did you see Alien Resurrection?" This is the one I remember but I have read other complaints of him.

Feb 22, 2007, 03:44:07 AM
Reply #5 on: Feb 22, 2007, 03:44:07 AM
Being as big a fan of Firefly/Serenity as I am and mostly enjoying Buffy/Angel as well, I used to give Whedon slack on Alien 4.  Hey, that big mean studio and bad, bad French man, and mean old actors screwed everything up.

Hell no.  Last time I watched 4, I paid attention (The pain!  But that's beside the point...)  If his script is still mostly intact, it still makes for an awful Alien movie.  Y'know why?  Them damn jokes.  The ultra-witty work fine for Buffy and Firefly, universes of Whedon's creation where mankind has mutated into a strange, super-snarky doppleganger of itself, but it's just no damn good for an Alien movie.  Thing's have got to be straight and reinforce the dread, and you just can't do that while your heroine is cracking wise in the face of certain death.


Feb 22, 2007, 10:35:07 PM
Reply #6 on: Feb 22, 2007, 10:35:07 PM
Actually, this is the first I've heard of Whedon not liking Alien Res. Has he spoken about it before?

Eh?  The movie is nearly 10 years old and he's bitched and whined about how everyone but him is responsible for it's failings during those 10 years, at every possible opportunity.  How'd you miss it?

I also used to support Whedon when the first film came out and I still think his story is sound.  However based on the aforementioned - highly unprofessional - bitching he craps on with ad nauseum I now think as far as script writing goes he's one of the most over-rated writers around.  Based on the few crappy episodes I saw of Buffy, I never bothered with the re-hashed Betty pirates aka Firefly/ Serenity.

Feb 23, 2007, 02:27:54 AM
Reply #7 on: Feb 23, 2007, 02:27:54 AM
Eh, reading the shooting script, it wasn't really much better than the movie. I'd say what everyone else did helped made it better.

Feb 23, 2007, 03:48:02 AM
Reply #8 on: Feb 23, 2007, 03:48:02 AM
Quite.  Some of the dialogue is truly awful, msome of which was mercifully ditched. There was a bit more action in the drafts I've read, which would've been pretty expensive, but the problems with lack of tension and the Newborn coming from too far out of left field in the last act were all there in those drafts.

Feb 23, 2007, 04:12:14 AM
Reply #9 on: Feb 23, 2007, 04:12:14 AM
Doesn't the one on the net have Ripley snapping an Alien's mouth?

Amongst other weird things...

Feb 23, 2007, 04:26:03 AM
Reply #10 on: Feb 23, 2007, 04:26:03 AM
Seem to recall a scene where she has a punch up with an Alien - in the cage area I think - big falls, quite full-on.  She mighta broke it's jaw at the end of it.

Feb 23, 2007, 05:59:16 PM
Reply #11 on: Feb 23, 2007, 05:59:16 PM
Eh?  The movie is nearly 10 years old and he's bitched and whined about how everyone but him is responsible for it's failings during those 10 years, at every possible opportunity.  How'd you miss it?

Not sure. I never really took that much of an interest in Res. I've never heard anyone talk about Res other than Sigourney Weaver.

Feb 25, 2007, 01:41:35 PM
Reply #12 on: Feb 25, 2007, 01:41:35 PM
I never liked Serenity. I thought that too much effort was put into trying to not be like regular sci-fi that I felt too much like I was watching bad actors in a sound stage. The fact that everything seemed so run-of-the-mill to the characters also did nothing for me. I'm glad so many people liked it, because it did nothing for me.

Feb 26, 2007, 09:30:24 PM
Reply #13 on: Feb 26, 2007, 09:30:24 PM
I like Whedon's work, but I think that the Alien franchise was a bit out of his league.  (I think A:R should've been shot in the semi-documentary style Ridley Scott used in the first film to give the whole clone and human/alien hybrid subplots some more weight.)  The maternity ward ending that he mentioned would've been interesting, at least from a thematic point of view.

Feb 28, 2007, 02:56:24 AM
Reply #14 on: Feb 28, 2007, 02:56:24 AM
There were references in 'Angel' to both the fourth film being considered boring and Weyland-Yutani existing as a company. :)


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