Having written and directed Marvel’s The Avengers, Joss Whedon is currently one of the biggest names in Hollywood. The first thing he did with his new found mainstream fame however, was to jump straight back into the world of niche market cult followings. Starring a whole host of alumni from his previous TV series, and filmed in his own home, this week sees writer/director/producer/composer Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing make the leap from festival circuit to UK release.
Two decades ago however, he was just the script writer of yet another campy horror film. Throughout nearly all of those intervening years he has had great success in the realm of TV, Buffy the Vampire Slayer in particular is often credited as changing the way modern series are produced. Avengers aside though, his ability to transfer this success to the silver screen has been something of an uphill struggle.
His directorial debut came in 2005 with Serenity, produced thanks to a pre-kickstarter fan campaign which showed a film based on his cancelled TV series Firefly was a risk Universal would find worthwhile, but garnered only modest box office takings. The Cabin In The Woods got off to a good start when it was produced in 2009, but would spend three years trapped in MGM bankruptcy hell, before being eventually being purchased and released by Lionsgate. Even these however, are still counted among his best efforts when compared to those of his earlier career.
It’s fair to say that Joss Whedon’s involvement in many films has often gone unnoticed. Whether it is because mainstream audiences were unaware of his name prior to Avengers, the fact that on many films he was uncredited, or simply because several films are largely remembered unfavourably (often with good reason), there are more films than you realise that have a Whedon gene somewhere in their DNA…
This article was first posted on June 14, 2013