Geek icon Joss Whedon graces his first Entertainment Weekly cover for a surprising, wide-ranging conversation about his career, and a behind-the-scenes of his eagerly anticipated new ABC series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Over the course of the candid, 10-page EW interview, Whedon details his 24-year career in Hollywood, from his first writing job on the chaotic Roseanne to convincing The WB to let him make cult-hit Buffy the Vampire Slayer to the heartbreak of Fox’s Firefly to his triumphs with online smash Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and last year’s mega-hit The Avengers. Plus, Whedon gives us some scoop on Avengers 2, offers his blunt take on pop-culture touchstones (from The Empire Strikes Back to Twilight), and reveals the one story he never should have told.
“I never wanted to take a job because I needed money and I never have,” Whedon says. “I saved my money so when I went, for instance, to the The WB with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I said, ‘This is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If you want something LIKE Buffy the Vampire Slayer, god bless, I’m outta here. If you want THIS, this is what I’m doing.’ Never sit at a table you can’t walk away from.”
Then we’re off to the top-secret set of S.H.I.E.L.D., which brings the sprawling Marvel universe to television for the first-ever live-action series in the company’s 74-year history. But instead of starring Hulks and Thors, the show focuses on the “other guys” of the Marvel universe, with Clark Gregg playing a resurrected version of his affable government bureaucrat Agent Coulson, who gathers a team of highly skilled (and easy-on-the-eyes) young agents to protect humanity from super-powered threats.
“This is basically a TV series of ‘The Zeppo’ [episode of Buffy], which was a very deliberate deconstruction of a Buffy episode in order to star the person who mattered the least,” Whedon says. “The people who are ignored are the people I’ve been writing as my heroes from day one. There’s a world of superheroes and superstars, they’re celebrities, and that’s a complicated world — particularly complicated for people who don’t have the superpowers, the disenfranchised. Now obviously there’s going to be hijinks and hilarity and sex and gadgets and all the things that made people buy the comics. But that’s what the show really is about to me, and that’s what Clark Gregg embodies: the Everyman.”
For more with Whedon — including his love-hate relationship with Twitter and why he’s worried about our sequel culture — pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday, August 23.
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