Joss Whedon is having a very good past couple of years. He wrote and directed The Avengers to $1.5 billion worldwide, he put together a successful modern day adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing that he shot in his own house, and his latest television show Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. just had the biggest debut for a TV drama in four years. Whedon is currently busy prepping the sequel The Avengers: Age of Ultron for a March 2014 shoot, but he recently sat down for an extended interview in which he discussed basically his entire career. Whedon talks about the “haphazard” structure of The Avengers and how his feelings towards the first film have impacted his approach to the follow-up, and he noted that he plans on doing something original after he completes the Marvel sequel. He also discussed his involvement with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Hit the jump to read on.
Speaking with EW in an extensive profile, Whedon noted that he has a couple of qualms with The Avengers as a film:
“When I think of a great film, I think of something that’s either structured so perfectly like The Matrix or made so lovingly like The Godfather Part II. There was haphazardness in the way it comes together—not just the people, but the scenes. I don’t think you’d look at it and go, ‘This is a model of perfect structure.’ You’d go, ‘This is working.’ I like it. I’m proud of it and I like its imperfections. The thing I cared most about—making a summer movie like the ones from my childhood—is the thing that I pulled off.”
Though there are plenty of Marvel fans that might disagree with him, it’s nice to see a director who can acknowledge the imperfections of his past work without taking a dismissive or apologetic attitude towards the film as a whole. Moreover, Whedon has used his experience on The Avengers to make some tweaks to his approach on The Avengers: Age of Ultron:
“[With Age of Ultron,] I want to be clearer about how I engage the audience, and where I take them. I want more control visually, more time to prep it. Not that I didn’t dictate every shot—I did. But there’s only so much you can do when you’re making a summer film when the ball is already rolling as fast as it was when I got in. Why do it again if you can’t do it better?”
Whedon initially signed a contract with Marvel that extends through 2015, encompassing his work on Age of Ultron and consulting on Marvel’s other features. It’s unclear if he will re-up with the company once his contract is up, but he told EW that it’s important for him to tackle something original after he finishes the Marvel sequel:
“There’s probably a dozen [properties I’ve always wanted to do]. It’s very important I don’t do that. It’s very important that we start creating new content again. We can only build on nostalgia so much before we have nothing left to build on. Before we’re rebooting Spider-Man—again. It’s dangerous to the culture, and it’s boring to me. I squeezed in between my Avenger smovies a 400-year-old play. So I really need to create some new worlds.”
The filmmaker went on to admit that his plan, as it stands now, is to become more involved with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. once he’s finished with The Avengers 2, noting that he doesn’t intend to tackle any giant endeavors like his proposed Hamlet adaptation post-Ultron:
“If everything works out according to plan, S.H.I.E.L.D. will be on when the movie is over and then I’ll already be too busy [to do something like Hamlet].”
Speaking of S.H.I.E.L.D., Whedon admitted that his Avengers clout only goes so far, as he received his fair share of notes from ABC when developing the pilot:
“They gave me a ton of notes. We’ve jumped through every hoop. There’s no trust in television. But there’s been nothing but encouragement and excitement about what exactly you’re trying to do. So you take the notes. You don’t take all of them. But you never walk in expecting not to get any.”
Head over to EW to read the full Whedon piece, which delves much deeper into everything from the origins of Buffy to the disappointment of Dollhouse. The Avengers: Age of Ultron opens in theaters on May 1, 2015.