Whedon Biography Throws Punches
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Whedon Biography Throws Punches

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Trade News | July 21, 2014 | Comments ()


Well you know that you’ve made it when you’re fifty years old and people start writing 450 page biographies of you. Joss Whedon: The Biography is on shelves August 1st. I don’t recommend buying it though, because let’s face it, it’s going to fall off of shelves and kill your loved ones.

All the headlines surrounding the book are not in fact questioning a volume that in length puts those of several president’s biographies to shame (Theodore Roosevelt’s autobiography was famously just a bullet with a racist yet quotable phrase engraved in the the brass) but that it tells just how bad a situation he found The Avengers in when he initially came on board.

See, Zak Penn wrote the initial script for Disney. As you might expect from the sterling pen that brought you Elektra and X-Men: The Last Stand, the script was terrible. So terrible that when Whedon read it, he told the disposable Disney executives that they basically had a pile of oddly shaped toilet paper. “I don’t think you have anything. You need to pretend this draft never happened.”

Then Whedon went home, wrote a five page outline of what he would write for the movie. The executives loved what they saw and signed him instead, presumably with Zak Penn sobbing in the corner, which is really quite surprising given what is greenlit on a day to day basis. Maybe Whedon wrote the outline in crayon, with stick figures of the characters doodled into the margins? I mean, you’ve got to know your audience.

Penn’s response was almost depressingly levelheaded: “We could have collaborated more, but that was not his choice. He wanted to do it his way, and I respect that. I mean, it’s not like on the ‘Hulk ,’ where I got replaced by the lead actor. That was an unusual one. This was more normal.”

You kind of have to feel for the guy when his reaction to being shit on is not to defend his work or complain, but just to compare the consistency and texture of said shit to all the other times he’s been used as a public bathroom. “Still not as bad as the time my wife left me for lawn chair,” Penn might have said in my imagination, “and then there was the time my dog calmly walked into traffic rather than playing fetch with me. That was an unusual one.”

(source: Yahoo)

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Coolg82

    Most of the book is about how he made a good action movie? That take 450 pages? Granted, this is probably on purpose, as it places the book about how the Avengers was made coming out less than a year before Avengers 2 comes out. While I am not a fan of Whedon, I can only imagine that the early parts of his career or when he was making Buffy would be infinitely more interesting than how he got installed into the Disney machine.

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  • Coolg82

    Fair point, but I don't think you can blame Zak Penn for that.

  • Thanks for summarizing the only good bit; now I can pass on the Whedon book. The size suggests it's one of those fanboy hagiographies where Whedon does no wrong, If I wanted that, I'd read another one of Bill O'Reilly's snuff biographies.

  • Dulce et Banana

    Kind of a lack-lustre title, no? "Joss Whedon: The Future WAS Worth Fighting For", "Joss Whedon: Every Team Needs a Captain" etc etc.

  • denesteak

    Joss Whedon: Jossy the Narrative Slayer (But in a Good Way)

  • Dulce et Banana

    If the cover shot has him in blonde wig, it'd be a best seller

  • emmalita

    I'm just happy for Cindy's sake that SLW appears to be alive and/or escaped from the sinkhole in Siberia. Assuming that SLW wrote this and Cindy didn't just steal his name.

  • *Late Sunday, slumps down at the bar in the Pajiba citadel, spits tooth out, snatches tumbler of whiskey Cindy slides down the oak, downs it with a hiss.*

    "Next alien sinkhole, it's TK's turn"

  • Dulce et Banana

    "Next alien sinkhole"

    I'm not sure when the next Transformers movie is due but we'll pencil that in.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    I'm pretty sure you can catch Alien Sinkhole on the History Channel.

  • Bananapanda

    Who needs alien? We've had about 15 sinkholes in DC over past year. I swear we're one fracking idiot away from swampland (again).

  • emmalita

    Jeez. A few years ago it was exploding manhole covers. And before that it was anthrax.

  • Dulce et Banana

    That is strange - Does DC have a history of mining near it? From what I hear, the water table hasn't been a problem either.

  • wonkeythemonkey

    Ooh, I'm off to trademark "Transformers 5: Alien Sinkhole"!

  • Dulce et Banana

    No, it's got to be "Transformers #: {time reference} of {past tense verb/state of matter}"

    ie Transformers 5: Weekend of Constipation
    or Transformers 5: Sunday of Brunch With Neville

    Transformers 5: Fortnight of Alien Sinkhole Madness?

  • wonkeythemonkey

    I'd argue that only the fourth movie follows your rule, but I'll play along:

    "Tran5formers: Alien Sinkhole Future of Our Yesterday"

  • Dulce et Banana

    {wipes tear} The "5" in Tran5formers makes it magical.


  • wonkeythemonkey

    Quote from the trailer:
    SKIDS: "Now DAT a sinkhole!
    MUDFLAP: "You best shut YOUR sinkhole or I'm-a shut it for ya!"

  • I'll give Penn credit for knowing when not to bring a knife to a gun fight.

    If you're going to get in a pissing match with Joss Whedon, the Internet will make sure you lose every time.

  • Rudra Banerji

    --Hi there, can you add a 3rd graf? I think the transition from getting killed by the weight of the tome and the Zak Penn is missing the part where you mention that you (and presumably the book) discusses The Avengers. thanks! (just not sure if that's what you are talking about - i figure that's what you're talking about. you're just a better writer than this most of the time :) )--

    UPDATED: because of early morning reading blindness "...it tells just how bad a situation he found The Avengers in when he initially came on board." grr.

  • ERM 275

    I didn't understand this article either. Did this Penn guy write the biography? Or he just happens to be quoted in it? I guess I'll click on the other article to find out, but it was still an odd read.

  • Why don't you just tell me the name of the movie you want to see?

  • JustOP

    > :)

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Maybe you should read the article again.

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