Joss Whedon - Television and Film Writer Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Joss Whedon - Television and Film Writer

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Joss Hill Whedon came into this world on 23 June, 1964. Joss's career path could be seen as inevitable. A third-generation writer, his father Tom Whedon and grandfather John Whedon were both notable television writers. Their credits included Leave It To Beaver, The Donna Reed Show and Benson.

Joss grew up in Manhattan, New York. He moved to England for three years where he attended Winchester College all-boys school to study for his A-Levels. He later attended Wesleyan University where he received a degree in film studies. He moved to Los Angeles, California, shortly thereafter and landed his first writing job as a story editor for Roseanne, and even wrote several of the episodes. He then moved on to become co-producer and writer for the short lived show Parenthood. Joss's big break came in 1994 when he agreed to take on a ten-week assignment rewriting the film Speed. The skill he demonstrated led to further script-doctoring jobs on the likes of Waterworld and Twister.

It was around this time that Joss sold his first film script, Buffy The Vampire Slayer. However, during filming it soon became clear to Joss that his vision of Buffy wasn't being taken seriously, and he walked off the set. Disappointed with his first attempt to break into films, Joss shelved Buffy and moved onto other writing projects, including the hugely successful film Toy Story.

In 1997, Joss was approached by casting agent Gail Berman. Her intention was to revive Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but this time as a television series, giving Joss full control of the programme. The resurrected version of Buffy became an overnight success.

Joss's career then started to take off. In 1997 he was approached to write the fourth instalment of the Alien franchise, Alien: Resurrection. In 1999, with the success of Buffy, Joss, along with fellow Buffy writer David Greenwalt, set about creating the spin-off to Buffy: Angel. This starred David Boreanez in the lead role. In 2000 Joss was also asked to revise the script for the X-Men movie, which he reportedly completely re-wrote, although his final draft was sidelined by the studio.

In 2002 Joss started on Firefly. This was a futuristic tale, set 500 years ahead, about renegade war veterans trying to survive warring factions. This latest project wasn't as well received and after only 12 episodes the show was cancelled. The next year saw the end of Joss's much beloved Buffy and shortly thereafter, the cancellation of Angel. With the 'Buffy-verse' in mourning and through much speculation about more spin-offs, it came as a surprise to some that Joss chose to resurrect Firefly. This time in movie form and retitled Serenity.

Just before starting on Serenity, Joss, along with writer Brett Matthews and in association with Dark Horse comics, produced a number of Serenity prequel comicbooks, with more on the horizon. Joss is currently working with comicbook artist and writer John Cassaday, in association with Marvel Comics, to produce a series of Astonishing X-Men comics. One of Joss's own ideas from these X-Men books, the idea of a cure for their mutations, was the main story arc behind the 2006 film X-Men: The Last Stand.

Joss currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife Kai Cole and son Arden.

Quotes and other Notable Facts

  • Joss made cameo appearances in Buffy, Angel and Firefly.
  • He created two Buffy spin-off comic books called Fray. These were set in New York 200 years into the future.
  • Joss was always ahead of the game, writing much of Buffy and Angel at least one season ahead of where they currently were.
  • Reported as saying about Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers):
'If we hadn't have found Sarah when we did, the show may never have happened'.
  • On Warner Brothers' cancellation of their contract for Angel:
'We put a lot of that heartbreak into the script, into the show, so it would hurt as much to watch as it did to have it taken away from us. I would not have been as brutal about the ending had we had another season'.
  • About Buffy and Angel:
'Redemption is something you have to fight for in a very personal, down-dirty way. Some of our characters lose that, some stray from that, and some regain it'.
  • Joss's vision of Buffy:
'I'd rather make a show 100 people need to see, than a show that 1000 people want to see'.

Writer, Producer and Director Credits

  • 2006 – Wonder Woman
  • 2005 – Serenity
  • 2003 – Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds (uncredited)
  • 2002 – Firefly
  • 2001 – Atlantis: The Lost Empire
  • 2000 – Buffy The Vampire Slayer (video game, uncredited)
  • 2000 – Titan AE (screenplay)
  • 1999 – Angel (creator)
  • 1997 – Alien: Resurrection
  • 1997 – Buffy the Vampire Slayer (creator)
  • 1995 – Toy Story
  • 1992 – Buffy the Vampire Slayer (movie)
  • 1990 – Parenthood
  • 1988 – Roseanne

Despite the cancellation of all of Joss's previous projects, Joss and his shows still maintain a loyal fan following, and all are awaiting Joss's next project with bated breath.

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