The 39th Annual Saturn Awards

Wednesday Night The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Horror Films held the 39th Annual Saturn Awards at The Castaway in the hills above Burbank. We got a chance to speak with some of the winners and presenters before they took to the ballroom for a relaxed awards show with food and drinks amid decorations of Stormtroopers, Zombies, and even an Ewok or two.

Joss Whedon and Ming-Na Wen attend the 39th Annual Saturn AwardsMing-Na Wen was keeping tight lipped about the upcoming Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series premiere. When asked what she could tell us about the show she played coy. “From the trailer you know that we have a really cool plane. From the trailer you know that my agent does some kick ass stuff. What else from the trailer. . . we’re not super human beings. We’re more like the James Bond spy, Mission Impossible spy type.” Clearly, she wasn’t spilling. Who could blame her when boss Joss Whedon was only feet away. No one wants to mess with Joss.

As for Mr. Whedon, he admitted he’s keeping pretty busy with The Avengers 2, but he can’t help but be drawn into Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and everything that’s being worked on there. He even admitted to reading a script in the car on the way over (don’t worry, he made sure we knew he wasn’t driving!). “I’m going to be as involved as I possibly can. Every time I think that I can’t give any more I get so fascinated by what they’re doing without me that I get pulled right back in.” He said he’ll definitely throw his hand into scripts here and there, but after writing and directing the pilot, he’s unlikely to have that much time to devote to the show, at least for a while. “I do have that other job and they are expecting a lot of me,” he quipped.

With the topic turning to The Avengers, we couldn’t help but wonder if there was ever a contingency plan should Robert Downey Jr. have been unable to come to an agreeable new contract with Marvel Studios for the film. After a firm “No” in answer, he added, “there was never a contingency plan, nor did I think at any point that that deal was not gonna [be] made. I think a lot of things got blown up. People know the minutiae of this hasn’t happened or it has, so they make assumptions based on that. I think it was very equitable, they were crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s for a long time, because they do. I’ve taken so many jobs where I’m like ‘I can’t wait to tell my friends,’ and then they’re like ‘you can’t for four months,’ so no. Had I had to come up with a contingency plan I would have as that’s my job, but . . . I didn’t want to, so.”

Talk then turned to Much Ado About Nothing and its reception. For a film that was made on the fly, with no definite plan of it being given a theatrical release, it’s definitely garnered a lot of attention. We asked Whedon how it felt to have it so positively received. “It feels good. I mean I was doing it for fun with my friends so that people would want it. We weren’t like ‘hey, we need to alienate people – I tell ya what, let’s make some Shakespeare’. We wanted people to embrace this the way we want them to embrace everything we do. The fact that we made it quickly might indicate to some people that it didn’t matter as much as the other things we do, the same way people think because The Avengers is big budget it doesn’t matter as much, but they’re all stories and I want people to love all of them.” Then he added, “I always say Much Ado is the best script I’ve ever written.”

Before he left us we couldn’t help but wonder about the actors he is constantly using (“Using or abusing? It’s a fine line,” he quipped) in several works. So we asked, do they sign their souls away in blood, or is ballpoint sufficient? His answer, “You can use a ballpoint to draw blood if you really jab,” at which point he proceeded to demonstrate.

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