When Entertainment Weekly visited Joss Whedon on the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank, California in late March to discuss its Avengers: Age of Ultron cover story it described him as appearing in rumpled and baggy clothes, shuffling into the room and quickly slipping into the corner of a couch looking like a pair of discarded pajamas. He simply didn’t seem like the genial Joss Whedon we’ve come to think of from various other interviews, panel appearances, DVD commentaries, etc. On his way out, the EW reporter expressed polite concern to a crew member only to be told, “Joss will be fine. He’s about to make $2 billion.”
When Vulture’s Kyle Buchanan interviewed Joss Whedon for his own Age of Ultron story he didn’t even have to ask if Whedon was okay. The answer was obvious the moment the 50-year-old Whedon walked in the room, appearing exhausted, barely able to speak above a whisper after months of postproduction and late-night editing. Through that whisper, Whedon admitted, “This was the hardest work I’ve ever done, and at some point, when it’s that hard, you just feel like you’ve lost.” In another interview, someone asked Whedon if there were any films or TV shows he was really loving right now, which elicited a smirk followed by a, “It’s so cute that you think I could do that.”
Why is he so exhausted? Because making Age of Ultron was ever so difficult. The film is finished, released today in countries like France, Italy and Switzerland and due to drop in around 50 total countries over the next 7 days before hitting the U.S./Canada on May 1st. It marks the end of Whedon’s formal relationship with Marvel, and his replacements, Joe and Anthony Russo, have already been hired to direct the next two Avengers movies. However, Whedon still has interviews to give, promotional appearances to make, and older interviews finally being published. As such, like the scavengers we are so many sites have been running with “Joss Whedon Says…” headlines to highlight something he said in some interview.
For your convenience, here’s a round-up:
He Thought Edgwar Wright and Joe Cornish’s Ant-Man script was “the best” (BuzzFeed)-
“I thought the script was not only the best script that Marvel had ever had, but the most Marvel script I’d read. I had no interest in ‘Ant-Man.’ [Then] I read the script, and was like, ‘Of course! This is so good!’ It reminded me of the books when I read them. Irreverent and funny and could make what was small large, and vice versa. I don’t know where things went wrong. But I was very sad. Because I thought, ‘This is a no-brainer. This is Marvel getting it exactly right.’ Whatever dissonance that came, whatever it was, I don’t understand why it was bigger than a marriage that seemed so right. But I’m not going to say it was definitely all Marvel, or Edgar’s gone mad! I felt like they would complement each other by the ways that they were different. And, uh, somethin’ happened.”
Suck it, Paul Rudd and Adam McKay and your official re-write of the Wright/Cornish script…I guess.
He Thinks of Agent Coulson As Dead to the Movies (For Now) (BuzzFeed)
“As far as I’m concerned, in this movie, Coulson’s dead. If you come back in the sequel and say Coulson’s alive, it’s like putting f***ing John Gielgud in the sequel to ‘Arthur.’ It mattered that he’s gone. It’s a different world now. And you have to run with that.”
Makes sense, although it does raise the question of why you even resurrected Coulson to begin with if that’s how you feel. He offered a more robust explanation to MentalFloss:
The Coulson thing was, I think, a little anomalous just because that really came from the television division, which is sort of considered to be its own subsection of the Marvel universe. As far as the fiction of the movies, Coulson is dead .But I have to say, watching the first one with my kids—I had not watched the first one since it came out—and then watching it with my kids and watching Coulson die but [thinking], “Yeah, but I know that he kind of isn’t,” it did take some of the punch out of it for me. Of course, I spent a lot of time making sure he didn’t. And at the time it seemed inoffensive, as long as it wasn’t referenced in the second movie, which it isn’t.
He Wanted to Be Agents of SHIELD’s Showrunner (BuzzFeed)
“They didn’t actually want me to make it. It’s like, ‘Uh, Joss, we really wanted you to do [‘Age of Ultron’]. Instead you created a TV show, you moron.’ ‘I thought you wanted me to!’ ‘No, we just wanted you to make a movie.’ ‘Oh. My bad.’ … It went from being absolutely 100 percent the driving force and totally hands-on to ‘That sounds great, Jed! You should do that!’”
Whedon’s brother Jed and sister-in-law Maurissa Tancharoen ultimately ended up with the showrunning gig.
He’s Aware of the “None of the Marvel Cinematic Characters Stay Dead” Problem (MentalFloss)
There’s a thing where you can do that so many times and there’s nothing at stake. But it’s difficult because you’re living in franchise world—not just Marvel, but in most big films—where you can’t kill anyone, or anybody significant. And now I find myself with a huge crew of people and, although I’m not as bloodthirsty as some people like to pretend, I think it’s disingenuous to say we’re going to fight this great battle, but there’s not going to be any loss. So my feeling in these situations with Marvel is that if somebody has to be placed on the altar and sacrificed, I’ll let you guys decide if they stay there.
Age of Ultron’s Original Cut Was Nearly Three and a Half Hours Long, But He Worked With Kevin Feige to Slice it Down to 142 minutes (Vulture)
“There’s one or two things that I’m unhappy about not having in there, but they’re small. I said to Kevin before we started, ‘My secret fantasy that’ll never come true is that the second one is shorter than the first.’ And we’re shorter by a minute.”
EW indicates the character who appears most negatively impacted by the excised footage is Thor.
He’s Still Not Happy With the First Avengers Movie (Vulture)
“When I watch it, I just see ‘flaw, flaw, flaw, compromise, laziness, mistake,’. The reason I set out to make another film is because I wanted to make one that was better, and I wanted to up my game as a shooter and work harder on every aspect of it and sort of give myself up to it in a way that’s hard for me, because I have a family. I started as a writer in low-budget TV, and there was always this element of, ‘This is good enough.’ And with this movie, I never wanted to say, ‘This is good enough.’”
A re-watch of Avengers reveals a lot of truth in what he says, but dang if that movie isn’t a lot of fun.
He’s Happy He Won’t Be the One Figuring Out How to Write for Thanos in the Next Avengers Movies (Vulture)
“He’s really difficult to write for. So, [to James Gunn, tasked with expanding Thanos a little in Guardians of the Galaxy] I was like, ‘Good luck, you’re welcome!’ But when I read the comics, Thanos was the guy behind the guy. He was always the great evil deity, and eventually, it’s gonna come down to facing Thanos.”
He Was Offered the Chance to Do the Next Avengers Movies (Vulture)
“They came to me about the movie, and what I said was, ‘I’m tapped out’ … and I think they knew that even if I could give them something, it wasn’t going to be anytime soon,”
He’s Not Ruling Out Some Kind of Return to Marvel (Vulture)
“I love this place and these guys, and I can’t imagine not sitting down and talking about the movies with them, but whether or not that’s an official thing, I don’t know.”
He Wants to Do Something Original Now, Yet Doctor Horrible 2 Is On the Table (MentalFloss)
“Everything is “bring back this,” “bring back that,” which is great, because they’re not tweeting “For the love of God, don’t make any more of that.” And Dr. Horrible Two is very much in the mix … But I also think this is an opportunity for me to create something new, really new, and it’s been a while. Because I did two Avengers movies, the S.H.I.E.L.D. show, and Much Ado About Nothing, none of which were original to me. So that’s a long time.”
His Favorite Marvel Movie is Iron Man (MentalFloss)
Of the Marvel movies besides mine? I think it’s probably still the first Iron Man. That’s where it all started and it’s never more exciting than when it starts. But they all have a place in my heart. Except Iron Man 2; it doesn’t have a place in my heart.
And that’s it for this week in Joss Whedon quotes.