This series of interview were made during a press event with Joss Whedon and members of the Firefly cast in 2005 for the release of Serenity. They talked about the challenges of turning a great television series into a feature film, the possibility of sequels, and more. For some reason, they has never been published in their entirety before, until now.
Here are excerpts from the interviews focusing on Summer Glau :
[The first event was a conversation with Joss Whedon himself]
Here, you have a two-hour movie, and yet you have the same large cast of characters. What were the challenges you faced because of the change in format?
Joss Whedon : Obviously, on a show you’re going to give everybody equal time to an extent, and you’re going to make sure that everybody’s [developed.] In a film, you’re going to say, “Okay, Mal is the hero, he’s the guy we have to be watching. We come in through River–she’s kind of his proxy. It’s … about how she affects him and how they help each other.’ (That doesn’t mean, however, that anyone is expendable.) You make sure that everybody’s perspective brings something different to the movie, and everybody’s physicality, their actions, and what they’re useful for….
The film answers many questions raised in the television show. Are these answers the same things we would have seen if the television show had continued?
Joss Whedon : Yes, that was where I was going with the idea of River and her secret and the Reavers and theirs, and how it all connected. I had planned to get there in a couple of years instead of in a couple of hours.
Who would win in a fight? River or Buffy?
Joss Whedon : Wow, nobody’s ever asked me that, and I’m shocked!
Ultimately, I can’t say. I’m going to have to watch. Buffy’s got the super strength, but River’s got all kinds of crazy training. She’s not a super hero in the same way, but she’s very focused. It’s tough. It’s a smack-down. Be there.
[The second event was a press conference with Nathan Fillion (Malcolm Reynolds), Gina Torres (Zoe), and Morena Baccarin (Inara).]
What was it like working with Summer Glau?
Nathan: [joking] She was unprepared. She was unprofessional…
Gina: That’s not fair. She’s not here to defend herself.
Nathan: … but she was flexible.
Morena: She’s so sweet, it’s hard to say those things about her even jokingly.
Gina: We all just wanted to take care of Summer in our own way. [She then adopts a low, sexy tone...] And some ways are kind of illegal.
But we don’t talk about that.
Nathan: Not in this state!
Gina: She’s adorable and she’s sweet and she just wanted so much to do a great job. So, how do you not support that?
[The third event was a press conference with Adam Baldwin (Jayne), Summer Glau (River), Sean Maher (Simon), and Jewel Staite (Kaylee).]
Summer, did your experience as a dancer help you with all of the fight scenes and the stunts you had to do?
Summer: It did help me, because I was used to the training every day, going to the gym and working out all day. Doing lots of different types of training. But really it’s completely different muscle memory. I had to completely retrain my body. It took three months, all day, every day.
Adam: And it worked!
Summer, how many of the stunts did you do?
Summer: It’s all me. There were two dangerous stunts that they wouldn’t let me do. One, falling down the stairs, that was just two risky. One other flip, one that my stunt double ended up getting hurt doing, and I felt terrible. But everything else, those swords, all of the blade weapons I did myself, all of the guns I did myself… the daggers. Joss wanted it to look real. And I felt it. I punched everything.
Is Joss really precious with his dialogue? Does he let you make suggestions and revisions?
Summer: He’s pretty specific. It’s like poetry.
Did you have any input on your costumes?
Summer: [I got] to fight in a dress. I kept the boots.
In the meantime, what do you guys have coming up?
Summer: I just got back from Romania. I finished an independent there. It’s called Mammoth. It’s a sci-fi comedy. It was so much fun. It’s going to be released on the Sci-Fi Channel. It was fun for me because it was sci-fi, but it was completely different. I’m used to playing really serious, sad characters. This was fun for me to get to do action. It’s a really different character.
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