Joss Whedon: Geek King of the Universe by Amy Pascal
I’ve been a huge fan of Joss Whedon’s work since I stumbled across an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on TV and haven’t looked back since. There have been plenty of tie-in books and biographies regarding the writer/director/creator. However Amy Pascal has had access to many of Whedon’s cast, crew and family members, with Firefly’s Nathan Fillion providing the foreword to Pascal’s book. She’s also had been able to interview the man himself making this biography full of interesting details and stories.
Born Joseph Hill Whedon, the biography charts Joss’ early years in New York, his three years at Winchester College in England, his university years and through his vast work in TV and films. While I knew a lot about Joss Whedon from various interviews I read over the years, Pascal managed to obtain lots of new and interesting story about Whedon. I enjoyed reading about his early life and the women who inspired him to create the strong female characters his work is filled with. It was also amazing to think that Whedon and Michael Bay were both creating student movies at the same time at Wesleyan University (imagine that double bill!).
I knew that Whedon had been an uncredited writer on movies like Speed and X-Men and the book goes in depth into how much of Joss’ work ended up in the finished products and how it impacted on him. His credited work on Toy Story and Alien: Resurrection are also delved into, including how the latter did not quite live up to expectations. Of course a huge bulk of the book centres on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, from its initial creation, the ill-fated movie and the critically acclaimed and loved TV show. As it chronicled the highs and lows of the show, I loved finding out more about my favourite TV show and hearing from the cast and crew about what made it so special. There is also great detail about Angel, Firefly, Serenity, Much To Do About Nothing and The Avengers .
While the book is full of praise of Whedon it thankfully stops short of being too much of a love-in by acknowledging some of the disputes Joss has had with previous cast and crew members, while also analysing why some projects did not work out as well (Dollhouse, season 6 of Buffy and season 4 of Angel in particular).
For those who love Joss Whedon’s work and are just as interested in the man himself this book is a must read. Funny, insightful and effortlessly readable.