Friday night at SXSW, Joss Whedon spoke briefly before screening “The Cabin in the Woods”. On Saturday morning, Adam Vary of Entertainment Weekly sat with him to moderate A Conversation with Joss Whedon. The room at the Austin Convention Center was packed; there were even people standing at the back and side walls. I was lucky enough to get a front row seat but regardless of whether you were standing, sitting or watching on the monitor outside, Joss Whedon was a blast. Adam Vary was an excellent host, asking all the right questions and following up in all the right ways. The last fifteen minutes or so was for audience questions in which Joss dropped a mini-spoiler on what to expect from “The Avengers” and gave a guy a high five.
The interaction opened with a discussion of “The Cabin in the Woods”, which Whedon had never before seen screened in front of an audience until Friday night. He said the idea came from wanting to do something different with the horror genre, to take it back to a more classic horror style but then turn that on its head. He praised the recent “found-footage” style that has been the fad of horror films, explaining that they are closer to classic horror than many others. Both he and Adam commented on the “Spolierific” nature of Cabin and how tricky it is to market. But to Joss, it is important to maintain the mystery. “My favorite thing is to go into a movie and not know what to expect,” he told our audience.
Recently, Joss Whedon and team have been working on a number of projects including his take on “Much Ado About Nothing” which was shot instead of going on his 20th anniversary vacation with his wife. Like many of his projects, it was done on a micro budget, outside of the studio system. His other big upcoming film is a studio project, the highly anticipated film “The Avengers” which comes out May 4th. It was somewhat of a new experience for Whedon to be working on such an enormous budget with seven big name actors who were simultaneously attached to other projects. For the film, his focus was on the characters as a team, he says it is really a story of “isolated people who come together and become more than the sum of their parts.” He also described it as more of a war film rather than a traditional superhero versus individual villain piece. Speaking of the central villains, he announced that it will be neither the Skrulls nor the Kree, both Marvel creatures prevalent throughout the universe. As to what the enemy will be, well I guess we will just have to wait until it comes to theaters in May.