May 4, 2015

Age of Ultron Hard on Joss Whedon Because He Has a Family

Avengers: Age of Ultron ruled the box office this weekend. And before that, it ruled director Joss Whedon‘s life. This was, according to the director, difficult on him because he has a family. Here’s what he said in an interview:

English: Joss Whedon at the 2010 Comic Con in ...

English: Joss Whedon at the 2010 Comic Con in San Diego (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“When I watch it, I just see ‘flaw, flaw, flaw, compromise, laziness, mistake,’” said Whedon. “The reason I set out to make another film is because I wanted to make one that was better, and I wanted to up my game as a shooter and work harder on every aspect of it and sort of give myself up to it in a way that’s hard for me, because I have a family. I started as a writer in low-budget TV, and there was always this element of, ‘This is good enough.’ And with this movie, I never wanted to say, ‘This is good enough.’” (emphasis added)

And now the explanation.

The first part of the quote refers to the first Avengers movie, which is generally regarded as excellent by both Geek Gold Card members and those who don’t know who Jeremy Renner’s character is. (The answer is Hawkeye. Not, as someone actually wrote, Arrowhead.) I personally think the first Avengers movie is almost perfect; I say “almost” because as a rule I don’t think anything is PERFECT. I’m not surprised to read that the talented Mr. Whedon sees flaws in his work that others might not.

I was struck, though, by the comment I highlighted in the quote above. Directing a blockbuster film takes over your entire life. (Or so I’m told. I’ve never done it.) That makes it difficult to find time for family. Some people may not care about such things, or maybe are more willing to give up on family time in favor of career. That isn’t limited to the movie business; plenty of professions are extremely demanding on one’s time. But with a big-budget movie, you don’t get to take a week off because you want to. There are no sick days, no personal days. The movie is scheduled to open on a particular day, and you have to get the work done in time. I would imagine there are thousands of smaller deadlines that lead up to the big one. And while directing a big-time movie is a cool job, it’s still a job, and a high-pressure one at that.

It’s hard on the actors as well — Scarlett Johansson was pregnant during the filming of Avengers: Age of Ultron, requiring three stunt doubles. (I can’t find the link but I read it somewhere. Apologies.) But actors aren’t responsible for, you know, everything, the way a director is. I can imagine (again, never done it myself) how that could become frustrating for a father. Or a mother. (I would’ve said “frustrating for a parent” but “frustrating for a father” is alliterative. And this website is called DaddyTips.)

In other news, Joss Whedon quit Twitter, apparently over criticism he received about the Black Widow’s role as a “damsel in distress” in Age of Ultron, according to the site DigitalSpy. I just checked and indeed his account, @josswhedon, is gone. That’s a bummer to me because I had a joke for him and I vainly hoped he would retweet it. Mostly it’s unfortunate that people would go after a guy who has made so much terrific entertainment — Firefly, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, and of course a little movie called The Avengers, plus the smash-hit sequel. As the song says, why can’t we be friends?

Source: How Age of Ultron Nearly Broke Joss Whedon — Vulture