At the Serenity premiere: top, director Joss Whedon; middle, executive producer Christopher Buchanan, castmembers Chiwetel Ejiofor, Adam Baldwin, Nathan Fillion, Sean Maher and director Joss Whedon; bottom, Gina Torres, Summer Glau, Morena Baccarin and Jewel Staite
Edinburgh International Film Festival, Monday, 22 August, 2005
"I'm Luke, I'm 5 and my Dad's Bruce Lee. He drives me around in his JCB."
I hate Mirrorball. If it weren't for them, I would be able to use my brain for some kind of semi-useful activity, instead of simply chanting the chorus of "The JCB Song" over and over in a torturous, unstoppable loop. If you want to know the tune so you too can suffer the fear of incipient madness, check out Mirrorball Animation. Freaky, beautiful and sometimes annoying - loved it.
There is only one film that anyone is talking about today, and I'm afraid you won't be getting a break from it here. Hushed silence please for... Serenity.
Not only was Joss (God) Whedon here in Edinburgh, but the whole cast came along as well, all nine of them. Since I was too slow and useless to get tickets for either the premiere or the Reel Life event, being able to go to the press conference was the only thing keeping me from suicide. And no, that's not being melodramatic - ask me a question about Buffy. Any question. Go on - dare you. I tell myself that it's good to have a hobby, but it's hard to shake the suspicion that watching TV doesn't count.
Anyway, due to a frustrating and tedious problem with Microsoft Word, I only had ten minutes to get to the conference. Ten minutes to walk down the Royal Mile and North Bridge, where every cobble bears a mime artist, leafleteer or camera-wielding tourist. Normally I'm quite a calm, placid, lazy person, but being trapped in a shuffling horde when someone you have imaginary conversations with in your head is a mere half mile away was too much to be borne. By the time I got there (in 8 minutes and 30 seconds) there was a trail of fallen pensioners and crying children in my wake. I feel no guilt. It had to be done.
Josh saves the day
What with the infuriating crowds, falling in a muddy puddle and spilling coffee down a white vest first thing this morning it was kind of a bastard of a day. But when I sat down and wiped the sweat from my brow, and Joss Whedon came in with the whole cast, I could have fainted with happiness. Without Joss Whedon there would be no Charmed, Scrubs or O.C. to make weekends worth getting excited about. Buffy changed the face of modern pop culture. Joss Whedon is American, but he understands irony, and he writes the best female characters on telly.
There was clearly a lot of camaraderie amongst the cast, good-natured banter batted back and forth and they laughed at each other's jokes, which is always a good sign. There was a lot of male love in the room for Summer Glau, an ex-ballet dancer who plays River Tam and who trained to do 95% of her character's stunts. Joss (we're on first name terms now) will be making Wonder Woman next, and I wouldn't be gasping in surprise if Summer dons the spangly hot pants and armbands. Although she's a bit short to convince as an Amazon.
They spoke a bit about the cancellation of Firefly, the TV series of which Serenity is sort of a continuation. Despite a loyal and obsessive international fanbase, this show was cancelled halfway through its first and only series, but huge DVD sales gave them the necessary clout for Serenity to get greenlit.
There were mixed feelings about going back on the same set on a different lot. For Adam Baldwin, it was about redemption and validation, and Morena Baccarin commented, "It's like coming home but your parents have rearranged the furniture."
Nathan Fillion, who plays Captain Mal Reynolds and blinded poor Xander in Buffy (season 7), claimed it was all about revenge, "sweet sweet vengeance. I am a bitter bitter man."
Judging from the body language, I would say that Nathan is Joss's best mate on set. Not only did they cross their arms at exactly the same moments, but they also appeared to be playing hangman at one point.
Nathan, a very funny man with nice shoes, has been described as a cross between Harrison Ford and Han Solo (also Harrison Ford) and when questioned about the accuracy of this he said, "What I do isn't just inspired by Harrison Ford, it's copying him exactly."
I didn't want it to end. But at least I have my memories... and a restraining order.
More from the Edinburgh International Film Festival.