The Avengers helmer Joss Whedon is trying the other end of the spectrum with micro-budget indie relationship dramaIn Your Eyes, which premiered at Tribeca and is being offered exclusively to viewers via online platform Vimeo. Brin Hill directs the Whedon-penned and -produced pic about an ex-con (Michael Stahl-David) and an East Coast doctor’s wife (Zoe Kazan) who suddenly start sharing an inexplicable metaphysical link. Viewers can watch the trailer which debuted today below and, thanks to the brave new world of digital distribution, can then watch the entire film for $5 via Vimeo on Demand:
As a guy who has covered features my whole career, I find it distressing that the only time feature folks do risky things seems to be when they are making TV projects. Because theaters and studios can’t figure it out, films are frozen in an arcane system where you wait six months for a DVD and those who don’t want to wait, or see it in a theater, have no choice but to steal it. When they work in TV, these writer-directors play in a sandbox that gives viewers the ability to see that work, whenever and wherever they want to. Joss Whedon premiered a Brin Hill-directed micro-budget relationship film In Your Eyes at Tribeca, and announced right after that he’s making it available on Vimeo for five bucks. Obviously, Whedon makes a fortune on Marvel’s The Avengers movies, but he is onto something here, and other star filmmakers should take notice and empower new filmmakers by offering small-budget films directly to their audiences. Maybe it’s going to take mavericks like this guy to hasten the glacial pace of the evolution of the way consumers digest feature films. Here is his announcement:
The Avengers: Age Of Ultron helmer has launched a pre-emptive strike of sorts. In a subtitled YouTube video, Joss Whedon warns/pre-apologizes to the people of South Korea’s capital about the ruckus he’s likely to cause when the Marvel sequel films there for a few days. “I’m really grateful and excited to be filming in your city,” he says, seemingly without a script. “We are going to mess it up and inconvenience some people.” There will be some street closures while the cast and crew of the superhero flick film some big action scenes. “We love this movie. We love this city. … I hope it will be worth it,” he says. Take a look:
ABC says it’s going to rerun the pilot episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.at 8 p.m. Thursday, instead of the scheduled Shark Tank repeat — a no-brainer. S.H.I.E.L.D.premiered as TV’s highest-rated new drama in nearly four years in the demo. Last night’s unveiling drew 11.9 million live viewers and a 4.6 rating in adults 18-49. The rest of ABC’s all-new Tuesday lineup did not keep up the pace.The Goldbergsopened with a 3.2/9 immediately following S.H.I.E.L.D. The premiere of Trophy Wife slipped to 2.3/6, while new dramaLucky 7 (1.3/4) suffered the lowest-rated fall drama premiere in ABC history. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel’s first television series, was co-created by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon & Maurissa Tancharoen (Dollhouse, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog), who also serve as executive producers along with Jeph Loeb (Smallville, Lost, Heroes) and Jeffrey Bell (Angel, Alias). It’s produced by ABC Studios and Marvel Television.
Joss Whedon is clearly in Ben Affleck‘s corner following word that he’s been named the new Batman. Here’s what Whedon tweeted tonight: “Affleck’ll crush it. He’s got the chops, he’s got the chin — just needs the material. Affleck & Cavill toe to toe — I’m in”. Whedon’s vote of support comes amid online reaction to the news that has been, for the most part and putting it kindly, less than positive. Warner Bros has set the Zack Snyder-directed Batman-Superman pic to open worldwide on July 17, 2015.
PREVIOUS 7 PM: There are no stats available on whether heavy secrecy, heavy branding or heavy hype has any correlations with TV quality. But all have raised anticipation for ABC’s new superhero drama with the unwieldy title, Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.l.E.L.D. AT TCA, TV journalists were not given the usual screeners or previews of Marvel’s first TV series (from Joss Whedon and the creative team of Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, with additional EP’s Jeph Loeb and Jeffrey Bell, all on today’s panel). Instead, reporters were only allowed to watch the pilot on big screens during lunch hour before the late afternoon panel. And earlier at ABC’s TCA day, entertainment president Paul Lee had joked that secrecy surrounding the show is such that TV writers could expect to be asked to submit “a sample of your grandmother’s urine or the Marvel guys won’t let you in.”
On the panel, producers and cast insisted the secrecy is not a promotional gimmick but necessary. Loeb said that the show’s first day of shooting took place on a military base, with both military security and Marvel security personnel. Still, the producer said someone snapped a picture of a vehicle on the road on its way to the set and the shot went viral. He complained about the 24-7 news cycle. “What we are trying to do with this show is bring back some of the urgency of television,” Loeb said. The idea, he added, is to get back to a place where people watch the show in real time before every element has been “shared and re-shared and spoiled and revealed and un-revealed”…
Whedon was asked to reveal what kind of notes the producing team is getting from ABC. “We’ve gotten trust, which is different than freedom,” said Joss, who is also at work on the Marvel movie The Avengers: Age of Ultron. “They are making sure it’s what they want for their company and their network, but they are supportive of our vision. We are all really trying to make the same show. We are on the same page, which occasionally has not happened to me.” Read More »
In the final moments of Marvel’s rousing panel at Hall H, Marvel chief Kevin Feige brought out Joss Whedon, who showed a very early teaser of the sequel The Avengers and revealed that the film will be called Age Of Ultron with a May 1, 2015 release date. Marvel Comics aficionados might know that the title and the baddie Ultron are the subject of 10-issue limited series comic book crossover storyline published by Marvel Comics that involves the return of Ultron and his conquest of the earth. Ultron and his Sentinels should prove a worthy antagonist for the Avengers and it looked like all will be back though there was no mention of Vin Diesel, who is rumored to be in line to play The Vision. The comic series was published between March and June 2013 and features a storyline by Brian Michael Bendis. Artist Bryan Hitch provided the art for issues one through five, and Brandon Peterson for issues six through eight. Other artists who contributed to the series include Carlos Pacheco and Joe Quesada, the latter of whom drew part of the final issue.
After a brief introduction from panel moderator Chris Hardwick and Feige, Hiddleston came onstage dressed in character as Loki to present new footage from Thor: The Dark World. “Silence, you mewling quims,” a scenery chewing Hiddleston said, referencing The Avengers‘ most notorious line of dialogue. Delivering a speech based heavily on his lines from the blockbuster, Hiddleston exhorted the crowd to shout his name. The Thor footage included scenes previously seen in the recent teaser, but mainly offered a much expanded look at the film’s larger scope. It was small on actual plot details but demonstrated that Marvel intends to keep doing what has worked for them for the last 5 years.
The irony wasn’t lost on Joss Whedon as he lobbied for more original content in Hollywood in his anything-goes Comic-Con Q&A Friday evening. The director behind both Marvel’s The Avengers and indie Shakespeare pic Much Ado About Nothing acknowledged his own recent successes with adaptations big and small between answering Whedonverse queries from fans. “I do feel like we are in desperate need of new content,” he said. “Pop culture is eating itself at a rate that is going to be dangerous. Too many narratives are built on the resonance of recognition. That’s going to become really problematic. Even though it’s enormous fun to work on something I read as a child, I think it’s important for us to step back from that and create new universes, new messages, and new icons … so that 10 years from now we can reboot those.”
Whedon said he’d like to do more with Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, the indie web series he directed, co-wrote, and produced during the WGA strike. He drew loud cheers with the dream project idea of getting the crew of Serenity back together, but he expressed no interest in returning to other projects he was formerly attached to, like his Wonder Woman script for Warner Bros. and DC. “I don’t like to go back to things,” he said, “and I also feel there’s plenty of room for a new iconic female heroine. So let’s look to the future.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: With buzz heating up at Comic-Con over network shows and new series, indie documentary Showrunners is primed to capture the zeitgeist. Director Des Doyle nabbed interviews with some of TV’s biggest and brightest creators, including JJ Abrams (Lost), Joss Whedon (Buffy The Vampire Slayer), Bill Prady (The Big Bang Theory), Hart Hanson (Bones), and Jane Espenson (Once Upon A Time). Submarine Entertainment snatched up US distribution and worldwide sales rights on the Black Sheep Productions pic, which held its own panel today at the pop culture confab. “We are very excited to be working with Des Doyle and the team on their amazing behind the scenes documentary Showrunners, which reveals the seductive, yet terrifying, world of being in charge of running a television show,” said Submarine’s Co-President Dan Braun announcing the deal. “The unprecedented access and attention to detail they achieved in this film is impressive and unique.” Showrunners takes a behind the scenes look at the writing, development, and production side of television from the captain’s chair. Project got its start with backing from the Irish Film Board and a Kickstarter campaign that grew fan interest online. Among the TV heads featured in the film: Matthew Carnahan (House Of Lies), Steven S. DeKnight (Spartacus: War Of The Damned), Chris Downey (Leverage), Mike Kelley (Revenge), Robert and Michelle King (The Good Wife), Ali LeRoi (Everybody Hates Chris), Damon Lindelof (Lost), Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica), Jeff Melvoin (Army Wives), Jeff Pinkner (Fringe), John Rogers (Leverage), Mike Royce (Men Of A Certain Age), Shawn Ryan (The Shield), David Shore (House M.D.), Janet Tamaro (Rizzoli & Isles), Terence Winter (Boardwalk Empire), and J.H. Wyman (Fringe). Read More »
The news was announced a few minutes ago on Marvel.com. Robert Downey Jr reprises his role as Tony Stark in a 2-picture agreement for Marvel’sThe Avengers 2 (May 1, 2015) and Marvel’s The Avengers 3 (undated). The sequel will start production on March 2014 led again by writer and director Joss Whedon. Downey had been involved in tough negotiations with cheapskate Marvel as I’ve previously reported; now the question is which other Avengers 2 actors will solve their contract disputes. Downey is represented at CAA by Bryan Lourd, Jim Toth and Matt Leaf and by his attorneys Tom Hansen and Stewart Brookman of the firm Hansen Jacobson. Downey’s past two Marvel films, 2012’s Marvel’s The Avengers and this year’s Iron Man 3, rank as two of the top five grossing films of all time, collectively earning over $2.7 billion worldwide to date. Marvel.com said it will be revealing additional casting updates, new characters coming to Marvel movies, and more in coming weeks.
Joss Whedon‘s Much Ado About Nothing clearly ruled the Specialty Box Office this weekend. Opening in 5 theaters, the Roadside/Lionsgate release gave the 4-century-old play some 21st century adulation, grossing over $183K in 5 theaters for a $36,680 average. Whedon broke box office records last year with The Avengers and will likely do so again with his second round with the franchise, but the versatile filmmaker has clearly shown his filmmaking chops outside the big summer tentpole. Sundance Selects debuted its timely Dirty Wars in 4 runs, also opening solid. The distributor said it played sold out shows in all venues and called the launch a “promising start.” This weekend’s limited release newcomers were plentiful, though most others opened soft at best. Oz pic Wish You Were Here bowed in 11 theaters, averaging $2,338, while Kino Lorber’s You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet opened in two locations, averaging $3,500. Cinedigm’s Violet & Daisy, meanwhile, debuted in 17 locations, with a very slight $602 average, taking in over $10K. The film will move into the top ten markets next weekend. Read More »
It may be blockbuster season, but the Specialties are parading a number of new titles into theaters this weekend. After ruling the box office last year, Joss Whedon‘s modern take on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing will open in limited release. Similar to many of this weekend’s new offerings, the title does not have high-named stars. Sundance and Tribeca docs Dirty Wars and Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie join the fray Friday along with Precious writer Geoffrey Fletcher’s Violet & Daisy. Joel Edgerton stars in Australian film, Wish You Were Here, opening Stateside via eOne, while Freestyle Releasing will bow two features, Hello Herman and Tiger Eyes. And SXSW doc competition film Hey Bartender will also straddle up for a shot at the box office.
Much Ado About Nothing
Director: Joss Whedon
Writers: William Shakespeare (play), Joss Whedon (screenplay)
Cast: Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Fran Kranz, Clark Gregg, Reed Diamond
Distributor: Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate
Roadside’s Howard Cohen is returning to a Shakespeare he knows well, having been involved with Kenneth Branagh’s 1993 version two decades ago. The latest, which debuted at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival is a black and white re-telling of the story with a modern edge. “It has a great combination of upscale art house appeal and fun modern, hipster vibe,” noted Cohen. “The actors are Americans doing Shakespeare. Joss breathes a fresh air into Shakespeare. People love Shakespeare, but you have to breathe new air to re-invent 400-year-old plays.” Shot over 12 days at Whedon’s Santa Monica home while taking a short break filming The Avengers, the undertaking was something of a passion project for Whedon who used actors that have participated in Shakespeare readings at his home. “There’s a real purist aspect to it. It’s not like he randomly decided to do a prestige movie. It’s aspirational because it’s Shakespeare, but it’s with actors he works with,” added Cohen. Read More »
On Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night Friday, Joss Whedon confirmed that Marvel characters Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver would be in The Avengers 2. “I found their powers to be very visually interesting,” Whedon explained. “In the last film a lot of the characters had very ‘punchy powers’ where they were always punchy something and that got kind of boring after awhile.” Whedon said no one has been cast yet, and Fallon suggested Selena Gomez and Channing Tatum. (Was that a joke?) Whedon didn’t raise the name of Evan Peters, who was cast as Quicksilver in Fox’s X-Men: Days of Future Past earlier this week. Here’s the Fallon-Whedon video:
“Last spring, Bob Iger sent us some bonus footage from The Avengers, with a simple question, ‘Is there a show here?’” said ABC Entertainment Group chief Paul Lee at the network’s upfront presentation today. Obviously the answer was yes, and next fall the ABC series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.takes the Tuesday 8 PM slot previously given to Dancing With The Stars which moves to Monday night for a 2-hour block. Joss Whedon was nervous and rambling as he faced TV media buyers and advertisers right before the end of the presentation. He appeared on stage with the entire cast of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge. Whedon at first tried to be funny. “I’ll be brief. I was born…” But then he grew serious. “I wasn’t born. I was grown in a lab… and fed on Marvel Comics — and that turned out OK for me.” As to why Avengers was so successful, Whedon said, “It worked because everyone felt included” and predicted the TV show would have the same effect on viewers. He praised S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s unorthodox leading man Clark Gregg as “an actor so talented even I couldn’t kill him” so Whedon said he “built S.H.I.E.L.D. around him” because he “had a story to tell [how] to be an ordinary person in an … Read More »
There’s been so much Hulk talk lately. The direct-to-DVD film from Marvel - Iron Man and Hulk: Heroes United - was originally slated for an April 23 release date but now won’t come out until December 3. Much has been made of the rumors of World War Hulk or Planet Hulk being adapted into live action films. Then Mark Ruffalo tweeted this week that he won’t play Hulk again until The Avengers 2. All of which is just creating more speculation around a third standalone Bruce Banner/Hulk movie this time with Mark Ruffalo. The latest to weigh in is Joss Whedon who tells Deadline:
I didn’t actually read World War Hulk so I’m not sure how I’d adapt it.
Mark and I loved the Hulk and went over and over the concept of rage and how it should manifest, and that part of it was fascinating to both of us. But when it comes time for the Hulk he has to put on the silliest damn pajamas you ever saw, a tiara made of balls, and a bunch of dots on his face and growl around like an idiot. The real heart of the experience ultimately becomes playing Banner, and the thing that people fell in love with was Banner because I think Mark has you from the first time he shows up.
The Hulk is the most difficult Marvel property because it’s always about balance. Is he a monster? Is
THURSDAY PM:Joss Whedon is making a much anticipated appearance at SXSW to present his indie modern retelling of the Shakespeare comedy Much Ado About Nothing. That’s the microbudgeted pic he shot in 12 days in secret under his Bellwether Pictures banner while working on Marvel‘s The Avengers. Picked up after its Toronto debut, the film screens in Austin with a panel on Saturday in front of his rabid fanbase – then hits theaters June 7 via Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions. (The film releases June 14 in the UK via Kaleidoscope, which is also handling international sales.)
Whedon recently wrapped his pilot for Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D. series and is set to work on The Avengers 2 for a 2015 release. He’s also contracted for three years as a creative consultant to Marvel, helping studio head Kevin Feige develop the sprawling superhero universe. Whedon admits the Marvel commitments may not leave time anymore for passion projects like Much Ado because he’s “in constant danger of burning out”. He also talks to Deadline’s Jen Yamato and contributor Joe Utichi about what could have been – Wonder Woman, Star Wars – and what might still be for The Hulk:
DEADLINE: Most directors helming a giant summer blockbuster wouldn’t choose to use their 2-week break to make a small Shakespeare film. WHEDON: Making The Avengers was very important to me, but it was also extremely arduous. I missed my friends and I missed my home, so I decided to throw them all on camera which is the only way I seem to know to relate to people. But I was blissfully happy when we were shooting Much Ado About Nothing – and it was actually one week and three weekends – and then I went back to cutting Avengers much better. I was in the very early process – my first assembly was very long. When I came back from Much Ado, without any rancor or confusion, I was able to cut the film down to length and readily focus on the things that mattered. I think I would have come to that one way or another, but Much Ado sped it up. Here I was making absolute giddy ridiculous art with no expectations, and nothing but joy – and wishing that my neighbors’ dogs would shut up. Read More »
Here’s the official trailer for Joss Whedon’s indie Much Ado About Nothingthat he’ll be presenting Saturday at SXSW. The pic is a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s classic comedy about two pairs of lovers with different takes on romance and a way with words. Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker star along with Nathan Fillion, Clark Gregg, Ashley Johnson, Fran Kranz and Spencer Treat Clark. Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions will release on June 7.
Avengers 2 helmer Joss Whedon and actors Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, and Clark Gregg will host a discussion at SXSW following the U.S. premiere of their Much Ado About Nothing, the fest revealed today. Also joining previously announced panelists Carlton Cuse (presenting a look at A&E’s Bates Motel) and Matthew McConaughey in the Film Conference sidebar are Harmony Korine and the Spring Breakers cast; Danny Boyle, who will tease his April release Trance; and Rob Zombie (Lords Of Salem). Fox Searchlight’s anarchist drama The East, from Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling, will close the fest which runs March 8-16 in Austin. Fifteen additional features have been added to the line-up including Stevie Nicks’ self-directed (with the Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart) documentary In Your Dreams – Stevie Nicks, James Ponsoldt’s Sundance favorite The Spectacular Now, and the iPhone short A Year In The Life Of Wayne’s Phone directed by The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne. Here are new Film Conference and Film Festival additions unveiled today: