Joss Whedon To Direct Serenity for Universal Pictures
Posted on April 16, 2004
Joss Whedon, an Oscar and Emmy-nominated writer/director responsible for the worldwide television phenomena of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, is set to make his feature film directorial debut with the futuristic action-adventure Serenity, it was announced by Mary Parent and Scott Stuber, vice chairmen, production, Universal Pictures.
Based on Whedon's cult hit television series Firefly (which has taken on a second life following its December 9, 2003, DVD release, winning new fans and critical praise worldwide), Serenity will continue and expand upon the adventures of the memorable characters launched in the series, who will be joined by new characters created expressly for the motion picture adaptation. Whedon will act as both screenwriter and director, with Barry Mendel (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and the upcoming Wes Anderson film, The Life Aquatic) producing and Chris Buchanan (president of Whedon's Mutant Enemy production company) and Alisa Tager (of Barry Mendel Productions) serving as executive producers. The Serenity cast will include such returning Firefly cast members as Nathan Fillion as Captain Malcolm 'Mal' Reynolds, Gina Torres as Zoe Warren, Morena Baccarin as Inara Serra, Jewel Staite as Kaylee Frye, Adam Baldwin as Jayne Cobb, Sean Maher as Dr. Simon Tam and Summer Glau as River Tam.
"We have wanted to be in business with Joss Whedon for a long time and we're incredibly excited to be working with him on his feature film directorial debut," said Parent and Stuber. "Joss is a true creator, whose talent crosses all mediums. His mythic worlds are inhabited with rich, detailed and very human characters. Serenity will provide him with a great opportunity to paint another larger-than-life canvas with very identifiable, real characters at the heart of the story."
The film centers around Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a hardened veteran (on the losing side) of a galactic civil war, who now ekes out a living pulling off small crimes and transport-for-hire aboard his ship, Serenity. He leads a small, eclectic crew who are the closest thing he has left to family -- squabbling, insubordinate and undyingly loyal.
When Mal takes on two new passengers -- a young doctor and his unstable, telepathic sister -- he gets much more than he bargained for. The pair are fugitives from the coalition dominating the universe, who will stop at nothing to reclaim the girl. The crew that was once used to skimming the outskirts of the galaxy unnoticed find themselves caught between the unstoppable military force of the Universal Alliance and the horrific, cannibalistic fury of the Reavers, savages who roam the very edge of space. Hunted by vastly different enemies, they begin to discover that the greatest danger to them may be on board "Serenity" herself.
In addition to creating the series Firefly, Angel and Buffy (as well as serving as executive producer on all three while writing and directing multiple episodes), Whedon's feature film screenwriting credits include the original motion picture Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Toy Story (for which he received an Academy Award nomination) and Alien: Resurrection. Whedon also composed the music and wrote the lyrics for the self-directed Buffy episode "Buffy, The Musical," and the CD of the original songs from that landmark episode has sold more than 400,000 units. Whedon was nominated for the Emmy for outstanding writing on the Buffy episode entitled "Hush." Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the second highest-selling television series on DVD.