Joss Whedon and Neil Gaiman Discuss the Writer's Life

Posted on September 27, 2005

Lev Grossman of Time magazine did a very interesting interview with Neil Gaiman and Joss Whedon at the same time. Neil was with Lev and Joss was on the phone. And although the two writers had never met before, they had quite a nice conversation. Neil says on his blog that the transcript is "not the most accurate transcription you'll ever read. But it's fun, and has significantly more content than the article that came with it." He didn't say which bits were real and which weren't, though. In any event, here's a snippet of Joss and Neil discussing authors writing their own screenplays:

Joss Whedon: Have they ever asked you to write your own?

Neil Gaiman: I did Death: the High Cost of Living, which New Line are meant to be doing next year. They're going to call it Death and Me. I did that mostly because it was one of the things I'd done that was small enough and short enough and actually had a story shape and I could expand it into a movie rather than looking gloomily at something huge and trying to work at what to throw away. I liked that.

But that's barely even a fantasy movie. I mean, it's a story about a depressed sixteen-year-old who runs into a girl who claims to be Death, having her one day off every hundred years, and who may or may not be. It's kind of fun.

But Sandman movies, they just got increasingly appalling. It was really strange. They started out hiring some really good people and you got Elliot and Rossieau and Roger Avary came in and did a draft. They were all solid scripts. And then John Peters fired all of them and got in some people who take orders, and who wanted fistfights and all this stuff. It had no sensibility and it was just...they were horrible.

Joss Whedon: I find that when you read a script, or rewrite something, or look at something that's been gone over, you can tell, like rings on a tree, by how bad it is, how long it's been in development.

Neil and Joss both have feature films opening on September 30th. Serenity, written and directed by Joss Whedon, is the big screen/big budget version of the excellent tv series Firefly (Action/Adventure/SF). Mirrormask is directed by Dave McKean and written by Neil Gaiman which tells the story of Helena, a fifteen-year-old girl who works for her family circus, who dreams of running away to the real world. Early buzz on both films is excellent and we intend to see both on opening weekend. Maybe even on the same day: who knows?