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Joss Whedon: So Cancelled His Thread Got a Sequel

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As you were everyone.

I'll note that David Boreanaz has publicly tweeted his support of Charisma Carpenter - her reply made it clear that he'd already done so privately.

 

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I mean, yes, but a lot of the actors on Buffy and Angel were in their 30s but were playing teens/college students. Among those who have been explicit about feeling they were involved in something bad, Trachtenberg was obviously very young, but Benson was in her mid 20s, Carpenter was 32 during S4 of Angel.

 This gets a bit overstated. Sarah Michelle Gellar was 19 when they started filming, Alyson Hannigan had just turned 22. A lot of the others were a bit older (Charisma Carpenter was just about to turn 26) but they were still relatively young. I think 90210 had a much worse reputation for casting actors in their thirties as high school students.

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The cast is also a bit older.  Summer Glau is the youngest, and she was 21 during filming. 

Jewel Staite was younger, she was 19 when they started filming.

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If you could go back in time and check on the Buffy cast only halfway through season 1 then I'd be surprised if much of the problematic behaviour had occurred at that point. Abusive people often keep the charming act going for the early relationship and only start the abuse once they have their hooks firmly in and that's going to take longer for professional relationships like this than it does for an intimate partner. It's also just not that long for the problems to have emerged.

On the Buffy cast modifying their appearance mid episode, in addition to it potentially being a way to take some small measure of control I was wondering if it might also just be the filming schedule. Was the crunch on those shows sufficiently bad that there was no time between filming episodes?

 

It does sound like Seasons 1-3 were handled relatively well. The show was still building its audience and hadn't become a giga-success (which didn't really happen until Seasons 3 and 4). They had a relatively relaxed first season because they only had 12 episodes to make and they then got delayed a year, so there were no massive crunch to get the show on air in a few weeks, as on most network shows at the time. 

It sounds like issues kicked in on Season 4 of Buffy/Season 1 of Angel, when Whedon was helming two shows simultaneously, and then on Seasons 3 and 4 of Angel/Seasons 6 and 7 of Buffy/Season 1 of Firefly, when Whedon was helming three shows simultaneously. This was probably a two-edged sword: Whedon was not around much, certainly not day-to-day (which is why the actors who had problems with him could crack on, when he was often gone from the set for months at a time as he had other stuff to handle), but when he did show up he was capable of being an arsehole.

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Or to put it another way, that's an awfully aggressively dismissal and condemnation about someone whose extensive credits also include LostFringe, and 24. He's a guy who had a career before he ever worked with Whedon, and has had a pretty good career after him.

Fury does have a reputation as a good writer but also a writer who's quite precious about his material and if he can't do things his way, he'll walk, which is why he didn't last long on Lost. Other shows he got on with other people better and was able to stick around longer.

 

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Sure, but that’s someone who has standards for his work, not someone who is “Ghislaine Maxwell”. What an absurd thing to say, and all because he dared to suggest that actors should be professionals out of consideration for the production.

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Yeah, I was over the top in that comment and regret it.

But I have very little time for someone who is circling the wagons in defense of the guy who made his career while downplaying actors' legit concerns as whining and from a 'I'm keeping you employed' perspective.

Edited by Vaughn

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Fury's career seems mostly to be riding other people's coattails which is fine, most are, but c'mon he's more a studio cog not some meteoric creative talent.

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And so his opinion as a producer should be dismissed because of it? Because, lets be honest here, most of the actors we’re talking about are middle-of-the-road, jobbing actors. If only meteoric creative talents need be heard from, I guess we’re all waiting for Joss Whedon to address things.

I should add that the quote from Fury is from several years ago, and is not something he said now. It strikes me as imminently reasonable commentary on the profession of acting and the logistics of the business under any circumstances.

Edited by Ran

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Just now, Ran said:

And so his opinion as a produver should be dismissed because of it? Because, lets be honest here, most of the actors we’re talking about are middle-of-the-road, jobbing actors. If only meteoric creative talents need be heard from, I guess we’re all waiting for Joss Whedon to address things.

I'd settle for Espenson or Goddard.

That's a wild take that since the actors weren't Daniel Day-Lewis they should just shut up about abuse? C'mon now, that's as bad as my previous Maxwell comment. The actors are commenting as humans on their work experience and supporting their peers.

I'm dismissing Fury's opinion on this because he's pretty beholden to Whedon. If that quote came out in response to allegations of abuse vs. just complaining about entitled actors, then it's 1000 worse but I think it surely must predate the latest stuff.

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Nicholas Brendon with no filter (probably due to pain meds).

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"I’m not speaking on Joss yet. It’s very personal for me, so I’ll speak on that when I’m ready to speak on that. Because he and I had a relationship.  It’s a big part of my life, a very emotional part of my life and I want to give it the proper respect and time that it deserves. When things happen like this with social media and stuff, it’s hard for me. it makes me sick. It’s not just something I want to make a comment on, do you know what I mean?"

he explained he is feeling ‘nauseous and hung up’ after a recent injury which makes him ‘always feel like I gotta s**t’. He continued: ‘My anus is kinda paralysed and so is my penis, which is weird. I gotta sit down to p**s because I don’t know if I’m s***ting or pissing.

 

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Because, lets be honest here, most of the actors we’re talking about are middle-of-the-road, jobbing actors.

Bit harsh. Most of them were pretty good and some of them have had decent career success since then (Alyson Hannigan and Seth Green most notably, but most of the rest have done good things). Even Emma Caulfield, one of the lower-key castmembers, has got a gig in WandaVision, and Amber Benson is now a successful novelist. Probably the actor with the least amount of subsequent success was Brendon, but he also had mental health issues (stemming from childhood abuse) and later his own massive legal problems, including spousal abuse.

It is a bit weird that the most successful, arguably, is Boreanaz, who had one of the smallest acting ranges, though (although he was solid at what he needed to do).

Edited by Werthead

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Poor guy. Had heard he was going in for spinal surgery due to a fall. Did not know how bad it was. Hopefully he and his doctors will be very careful with his pain meds.

 

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3 hours ago, Werthead said:

Most of them were pretty good

I didn't mean to imply otherwise. Most (not all) of them are known for a role in a Whedon production and have had steady but unremarkable  work since then. It's fair to say that for many of them, working on a Whedon production  has so far been their career peak. 

There's hundreds, if not thousands, of actors just like them who work steadily but are not great talents. My point was not to dismiss them but to say to @Vaughn that if he was dismissing Fury because he didn't judge him talented enough to be worth listening to, well, then you need to be fair and admit that very few if any of the actors are "meteoric" talents (the standard he seemed to be using for whether Fury was worth hearing), but that's no reason that they (nor Fury) should be dismissed.

And I still think the Fury thing... Like, he had sole writing credit on an Emmy nominated episode of Lost, which is easily in the top 10 episodes of that series, and arguably in the top 5 ("Walkabout"). Both of the Emmys he has, and all his Emmy noms, come from non-Whedon productions. I know Vaughn has said he overstated, but still, how many performers from the Buffyverse have Emmys or Emmy nominations, or a Golden Globe? Sarah Michelle Gellar (one Daytime Emmys win and one nom in a child actor category, one Golden Globe nom for Buffy), Seth Green (lots, but pretty much entirely for Robot Chicken), J. August Richards (Daytime Emmy nom). That's it, I think.

Or the other standard, that he's been involved in some duds or whatever. Has anyone actually seen The Ringer? Or Pegasus: Pony with a Broken Wing? 

Anyways, I'm ranting on this point. I understand now that Vaughn's intention was to both dismiss him as a hack and to suggest he had ulterior motives for saying what he did. I think I've refuted the first implication -- the guy's an award-winning primetime writer who doesn't like taking notes or whatever -- and the fact that Fury's remarks come from several years ago should make it plain he wasn't being quoted today (so far as I know, Fury has made no public statement on the matter this year). And they are, in any case, entirely sensible things to say about the professional responsibility actors owe to productions.

3 hours ago, Werthead said:

and some of them have had decent career success since then (Alyson Hannigan and Seth Green most notably, but most of the rest have done good things).

Just to be clear, I was talking about the set of actors we've been talking about right now, not every single performer. Hannigan and Green have not said anything at all so far.

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and Amber Benson is now a successful novelist

Which is not the same thing as saying she's a particularly successful actor. She's good enough to work regularly, as is everyone else (even Brendon has recent credits despite all of his problems -- and, by the by, he was pretty good in the fun, cerebral SF film Coherence). Most of them are very much in the "mid-list", I guess. They aren't stars in lead roles, many of them aren't even doing recurring roles on anything, but they regularly land guest spots and the occasional low-budget straight-to-streaming film. Good on them, it's respectable work, and this fact means absolutely nothing about their experiences on Whedon's shows.

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5 hours ago, Werthead said:

It is a bit weird that the most successful, arguably, is Boreanaz, who had one of the smallest acting ranges, though (although he was solid at what he needed to do).

He became a much better actor over time. He's still not great (or maybe he is now, I haven't seen him since season 6 of Bones), but by the middle of Angel his range had grown beyond different shades of brooding.

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Danny Strong (johnathan) has also tweeted in support.

He’s done pretty well since Buffy, co-wroting The Butler and appearing in other shows, including Justified and Billions.

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22 minutes ago, Derfel Cadarn said:

Danny Strong (johnathan) has also tweeted in support.

He’s done pretty well since Buffy, co-wroting The Butler and appearing in other shows, including Justified and Billions.

Sure, which is why I said "most".

Just to reiterate, the whole point I was making was that we shouldn't care how much or success anyone has as a means of judging the worth of their statements.

Edited by Ran

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4 hours ago, Ran said:

Like, he had sole writing credit on an Emmy nominated episode of Lost, which is easily in the top 10 episodes of that series, and arguably in the top 5 ("Walkabout").

All four of his writing credits on Lost were pretty good episodes.  I've never heard of him before these threads, but pretty impressive he wrote the first centric eps for Locke, Sayid, Michael/Walt, and Hurley (co-wrote on the last one).

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1 hour ago, Derfel Cadarn said:

Danny Strong (johnathan) has also tweeted in support.

He’s done pretty well since Buffy, co-wroting The Butler and appearing in other shows, including Justified and Billions.

Strong's done even better than that: showrunner - producer for the very successful Empire series.  Plus a very strong >ah-hem< filmography, including two of the Hunger Games franchise.

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9 minutes ago, DMC said:

All four of his writing credits on Lost were pretty good episodes.  I've never heard of him before these threads, but pretty impressive he wrote the first centric eps for Locke, Sayid, Michael/Walt, and Hurley (co-wrote on the last one).

Yeah. He's an excellent writer. Also, say what one will about Terra Nova, but it was exec produced by Spielberg, had a huge budget and marketing push, and the opening two-parter which he was a co-writer on was basically the high point of it with a lot of positive press. He left during  pre-production of the first season over creative differences, apparently, presumably because he didn't get on with Brannon Braga, which in some camps would be to Fury's credit.

Edited by Ran

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These parents had recently realized their dream of watching both Buffy and Angel all the way through with their daughters, because they had reached the age for it.  The daughters, and their parents, loved the experience.  I particularly appreciated that the oldest daughter's favorite season is #6, as it is mine.

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....Rewatching the show, far away from its original context, was eye-opening. Lots of it really holds up well, and some episodes even improve on later viewing: Gloomy, stormy Season 6, much maligned by fans online at the time, works much better as a binged experience than it ever did as a slow-moving, week-by-week story. It’s my older daughter’s favorite season for its gritty look at depression, and she can’t understand why we ever thought it was a drag....

Upon rewatching Buffy as adults, the parents too realized season 6 was very good, unlike their previous take.

When the latest allegations hit the media, it is this daughter who saved Buffy for her parents too:

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. . . . When I asked my older daughter, the Season 6 fan, what she thought about the allegations against Joss Whedon, she shrugged. To her, Buffy was never about Joss. “Lots of people made Buffy, and it’s still a really good show,” she said. “And honestly, a lot of the feminism feels really dated.” She laughed about Season 7 villain Caleb: “The way Buffy kills him? That’s a little on the nose!” I guess, with the benefit of perspective, it is a little obvious that the villain was a cruel, misogynistic priest, and that Buffy axed him in the balls. Boy, did it feel great in 2003, though.

To come to terms with Buffy, I think, it’s important for me to be more clear with myself about the circumstances and context of its creation. That it can no longer feel so revolutionary as it once did does not mean that it cannot be meaningful to those who discover it now; it’s just meaningful in different ways. And that its founder was not all that we once thought he was does not take away from the small miracle that is this moving, funny, and stirring show; it’s a testament to the many others who made their way through a difficult environment to ensure that the results would be moving, funny, and stirring.

These days I’m trying to think, as my daughter does, less about Joss Whedon and more about the people I didn’t give enough consideration to 20 years ago. The female producers and writers who did remarkable work at an even more challenging time for women in creative fields. The actresses helping one another through difficult days and sticking together long afterward. And even poor Tony Head, who hoped to be a father figure on that set but learned, as many fathers do, that things he thought were simple were actually terribly complicated all along.

 

https://slate.com/culture/2021/02/joss-whedon-buffy-abuse-allegations-charisma-carpenter-sarah-michelle-gellar.html

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