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Herald Scotland

In praise of - Joss Whedon.

Herald Scotland:

Reported by Robert McNeil

Columnist

Published / Opinion

WHEDONESQUE.

There's a word you don't hear every day. The Whedon under advisement is Joss of that ilk. Who he? He am heap big film director, and he's coming to the Glasgow Film Festival later this month to introduce his new film Much Ado About Nothing.

There's been much ado about this, as tickets to the film sold out within an hour of the programme announcement. You might think Shakespeare something of a departure for a director whose last major movie was Avengers Assemble.

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Whedon is one bright cookie, with an agile imagination, fine sense of humour and a clear vision of what he's trying to achieve. Whedonesque is actually a weblog dedicated to his work, but it highlights the fact here's a man with a certain way of doing things. Famed for his snappy dialogue and linguistic inventiveness, his key ingredient for movies and television series is backstory between the lines. This, he feels, gives a story texture. It needn't be spelled out in detail, but requires subtle depiction, which he finds the most "exhausting" part of movie-making. Dialogue? "That's just candy. That's booze and candy all day."

Whedon started in television, and continues there. Last year, he said: "I think ultimately, gun to my head, TV is the place." TV, he says, allows more space for characters to grow.

His Buffy the Vampire Slayer grew into a monster, while Firefly – the best show never commissioned for a second series – still has a fanatical following 11 years on. One Firefly episode, Objects in Space, was based on Jean-Paul Sartre's existentialist novel, Nausea. Whedon wears it all so lightly. That's what makes it work.

Despite the transition to Hollywood, Whedon still has the dreaded c-word flung at him: "cult". Not bad for an atheist who makes shows about the undead.

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