Joss Whedon’s mother sure must have raised him right. On the heels of the record-shattering weekend the writer/director’s film The Avengers had he did what every polite person does – He wrote a thank you note.
Taking to the fan site Whedonesque, Whedon expressed his gratitude to all those who saw the film over the weekend in his usual self-deprecating way. He also stresses that the success of the film will not suddenly put on the backburner, but that he will continue forward with his planned Wastelanders and Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog 2 projects.
Well, it’s been quite a weekend. Someday, long from now, I will even have an emotional reaction to it, like a person would. I can’t wait! But before I become blinded by this “emotion” experience, there’s a few things I’d like to say. Well, type.
People have told me that this matters, that my life is about to change. I am sure that is true. And change is good — change is exciting. I think — not to jinx it — that I may finally be recognized at Comiccon. Imagine! Also, with my percentage of “the Avengers” gross, I can afford to buy… [gets call from agent. Weeps manfully. Resumes typing.] …a fine meal. But REALLY fine, with truffles and s#!+. And I can get a studio to finance my dream project, the reboot of “Air Bud” that we all feel is so long overdue. (He could play Jai Alai! Think of the emotional ramifications of JAI ALAI!!!!)
What doesn’t change is anything that matters. What doesn’t change is that I’ve had the smartest, most loyal, most passionate, most articulate group of — I’m not even gonna say fans. I’m going with “peeps” — that any cult oddity such as my bad self could have dreamt of. When almost no one was watching, when people probably should have STOPPED watching, I’ve had three constants: my family and friends, my collaborators (often the same), and y’all. A lot of stories have come out about my “dark years”, and how I’m “unrecognized”… I love these stories, because they make me seem super-important, but I have never felt the darkness (and I’m ALL about my darkness) that they described. Because I have so much. I have people, in my life, on this site, in places I’ve yet to discover, that always made me feel the truth of success: an artist and an audience communicating. Communicating to the point of collaborating. I’ve thought, “maybe I’m over; maybe I’ve said my piece”. But never with fear. Never with rancor. Because of y’all. Because you knew me when. If you think topping a box office record compares with someone telling you your work helped them through a rough time, you’re probably new here. (For the record, and despite my inhuman distance from the joy-joy of it: topping a box office record is super-dope. I’m an alien, not a robot.) So this is me, saying thank you. All of you. You’ve taken as much guff for loving my work as I have for over-writing it, and you deserve, in this our time of streaming into the main, to crow. To glow. To crow and go “I told you so”, to those Joe Blows not in the know. (LAST time I hire Dr. Seuss to punch my posts up. Yeesh!) Point being, you deserve some honor, AND you deserves some FAQs answered. So please welcome my old friend and certainly not-on-my-payroll reporter/flunky, Rutherford D. Actualperson!
RDA: So good to see you, young Joss! is it possible you’ve gotten more attractive since we last spoke, and less fungal in odor?
JW: Thanks for noticing. Let’s talk.
RDA: “the Scavengers” is a huge success! Does this mean you have changed the very fabric of existence?
JW: Dude, it’s just a movie. Also, yes.
RDA: I’ve seen a lot of a talk about “the Availers” vs “the Dark Knight Rises”. How will you feel if you’re eclipsed by Nolan?
JW: I’m glad I made you ask that. I will feel sad. But let’s look at the bigger picture, and I can’t say this enough: THIS IS NOT A ZERO SUM GAME. Our successes, whoever has the mostest, are a boon to each other. We’re in the business of proving that superhero movies aren’t just eye-candy (they’re eye-TRUFFLES!). People seem intent on setting us against each other, and though I’m proud to be Woody Strode to Nolan’s Kirk Douglas, I think they’re missing the point. Whatever TDKR does on its first weekend, the only stat that matters to me is the ticket I’M definitely buying. Nolan and Raimi INVENTED the true superhero flick, yo. (Special mention to Jon Favreau and James Gunn.) Happy to be in the mix.
RDA: What does this mean for your upcoming slate of tiny independent films/Internet shenanigans? Will they fall by the wayside?
JW: There may be new ideas realized — I always leave myself open to that — but my commitment to Wastelanders and Dr H.2 does not waver. Those stories bubble on my stove.
RDA: And TV?
JW: TV is my great love. To tell stories with that alacrity, intensity, and immediacy… Nothing quite like it. I imagine it’s not dissimilar to the feeling great poker players have: “Here’s what I got, here’s where I’m going… How to trick everybody into thinking I know what I’m doing?” [Full disclosure : Joss hates poker. He is probably talking about bridge. But it should apply nonetheless.].
RDA: What message would you give fans of “the Lavenders” who are not so familiar with your previous work?
JW: “Cabin In the Woods”: still in (some) theaters!
RDA: Is ‘the Ravengers” a perfect movie? It did get an A+ cinemascore…
JW: There are very few perfect movies. “The Court Jester”, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, “Godfather” I & II… The list does not go on and on. “The Avengers” is notably IMperfect, which makes its success mean so much more to me — because it’s striking a chord that matters MORE than its obvious flaws. Like the team, it appears to be more than the sun of its parts. Boo-yah!
RDA: What do you feel is the greatest achievement of “the Avoiders”?
JW: Getting “mewling quim” out there to the masses. Also, Hulk.
RDA: Anyone in particular you’d like to thank?
JW: [Reads from notecard]. I couldn’t have done this myself. Part of this Saturn Award belongs to Jeremy Latcham, Kevin Feige, and the fine Marvel folk… But the secret ingredient is my closest peeps: J-Mo, who did uncredited punch-up work (carrier battle, yo!), Z-bro, Drew “I am Loki only taller and foppier” Goddard, and Kai, all of whom worked the story with me. Without them (and Jeremy), I’d still be figuring out how the Wasp fits in to this, and where to put Red Hulk.
RDA: What’s next for Joss “finally got it right for a change” Whedon?
JW: Can we not call me that?
RDA: Just deal. Whut up?
JW: I really think we should discuss that nickname, but I’m finishing “Much Ado About Nothing” this month. If you liked “the Avengers”, you’ll love… I can’t. It’s Shakespeare. And not in the park. I hope it gets watched.
RDA: Any message to your precious “Whedonesk?”
JW: I’m not aware of that group.
RDA: Didn’t they know you when?
JW: I’m not sure who you mean. I’m discarding my old fans so I can concentrate on fame, Euro-trash guy-jewelry and my precious “Air Bud” reboot. But, dude, don’t print that!
RDA: You have my word.
So, that’s our post! Hope you enjoyed it. Hope you’ll continue to carry the banner even though other people may have joined the parade. (Kind of a gay pride/Newsies vibe: sentence accomplished!) Hope you understand how I feel. Cliff notes: grateful.
“Here’s to us. Who’s like us? Damn few”
— Stephen Sondheim, “Merrily We Roll Along”.
“It took a dog playing Jai Alai to teach us humanity!”
–Me, in that awesome film I’m gonna make.
Whedon has always tried to maintain an open line of communication with the fans of his work and so while this missive should really come as no surprise, I still can’t help but think that this marks him as a class act.