Monday, July 21 at Noon ET

Joss Whedon Talks 'Dr. Horrible,' 'Dollhouse' and More

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Joss Whedon
Creator of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Angel" and "Firefly"
Monday, July 21, 2008; 12:00 PM

Television writer, producer and director Joss Whedon was online Monday, July 21 at Noon ET to take questions about " Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog," his new show "Dollhouse" and more.

A transcript follows.

Whedon is the creator of the TV shows "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Angel" and "Firefly." "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog," is a musical superhero spoof starring Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion. It was freely available streaming online through July 20, and will be available for download and on DVD.

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Langley Air Force Base, Va.: I've been reading some criticism (insert audible gasp here!) of "Dr. Horrible" about the lack of a strong, empowered female lead. They claim that Penny is merely a prop for Dr Horrible and Captain Hammer to fight over.

What are your thoughts on that?

Joss Whedon: Hi! Here goes Typomania! If I don't get to a question, forgive. There are many, and I'm dodging the tough ones.

But, yeah, Penny is not the feminist icon of our age. And yes, she does exist in the narrative as part of Doc's fate -- but everyone in the story is there to move the story. Is she less real than Hammer? (Is ANYTHING?) We gave her a cause so she wouldn't JUST be the Pretty Girl but the fact is, neither Doc nor Hammer gives her the attention she deserves -- Doc's crush comes before he has the slightest idea what she cares about. Which is not uncommon. It reminds me of "Sweeney Todd," the Judge and Sweeney singing "Pretty Women" -- a beautiful duet with no insight whatsoever. Just images.

But we shoulda gave her more jokes.

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Stuttgart, Germany: I want, no, I need a sequel! Any chances?

Joss Whedon: It's over! Let it go!

Or, okay.... We'd love to, but it wouldn't be simple and it wouldn't be soon. And frankly, Neil needs to work on his singing. The voice has promise, but...

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Cracow, Poland: How was it to work with family members on "Dr. Horrible"? Did it bring back any childhood memories and long forgotten ways of having fun? Did You create any imaginary worlds and stories while you were kids?

Joss Whedon: I used to make home movies -- elaborate genre studies with (occasionally) scripts and all that, starring Jed and Zack (both of whom were tiny.) And Jed and I did write a couple of ballads when he was in junior high. But we've all done our own thing till now and it was a glorious surprise how much we were all in sync. Plus Jed makes me try harder 'cause his songwriting is (appears) so effortlessly beautiful.

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Angers, France: For the DVD of Dr. Horrible, will it be released in zone zero so all the world can buy it?

Joss Whedon: That's the plan. It's more complicated than we thought, but so were a lot of things before we did this.

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Kuwait: How did you decide who was writing each song and scene? Flip a coin?

Joss Whedon: Some we called dibs on, others we grudgingly accepted as our duty. My Freeze Ray I had already written as the template for the sound.

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Zagreb, Croatia: How come you didn't have a cameo in Dr. Horrible? Or did you?

Joss Whedon: My voice is in it, but shooting was so fast I couldn't take the time to be self-indulgent. I am also hideously disfigured. DON'T LOOK AT ME!! (I have issues.)

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Calgary, Alberta: Any ETA on the CD/DVD?

Joss Whedon: Soon as we can, but definitely in time to make the perfect stocking stuffer! (Why does that sound dirty this time...?)

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Richmond, Va.: Joss,

The device of killing lovable protagonists has long been a hallmark of your work (work that I cherish, I hasten to add). Lately, it seems to happen in almost every story you tell. Do you worry about something as big as a character death taking on a by-the-numbers feel? I know the idea in your work is always to subvert the expected, but what happens when sudden, brutal death becomes predictable?

Joss Whedon: Boy, you kill someone, everyone makes a fuss! Yet I still feel differently about this than what I've done before. It's a tragedy, classically structured. Usually death is meaningless and arbitrary in my work, to reflect life, but this is the old brew. And yes, I have issues. This will come up again, I'm sure.

(I sort of thought I needed to follow this up with zombie horror pic that had a romantic comedy ending -- then I remembered "Shaun of the Dead" already did that. Perfectly.)

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Arlington, Va.: Does The Tick live near Dr. Horrible? Moist totally gives it away.

Joss Whedon: The Tick lives IN Dr. Horrible. Ben Edlund was going to do the piece with us but had to drop out. "Bad Horse" was a character he'd pitched incessantly on "Angel" ("How could he make a radioactive device using only HOOVES?!?!?!?") so I wanted that in, and the first thing Ben pitched for this was Moist. But he had to bail right at the beginning. Much sadness, as he's also a great songwriter. (And has an amazing singing voice. On the serious. Get him to do an album.)

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RE: Sequel: Okay, if no sequel, perhaps a spin-off with "Fake Thomas Jefferson"?

Joss Whedon: Fake Thomas Jefferson is so difficult! He demands to design and build his own trailer. He has an entourage he calls "Congeress" that is HUGE! And his wig kinda smells.

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Worcester, Mass.: How long did Dr. Horrible take to shoot, and how did you approach Neil and Nathan about it? What were their reactions?

Joss Whedon: Six day shoot. I was terrified to ask N&N, but they said yes before I said "hi." I heart them, especially since the six days were grueling.

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Atlanta: What will the humor/drama ratio look like in "Dollhouse," compared to Buffy or Firefly?

Joss Whedon: Less overt humor -- "Dollhouse" is more a real-world piece. But asking me not to make jokes is like asking Monet to lose the lilypads. We've all got our tics.

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Valley Cottage, N.Y.: What's your favorite song from Dr. Horrible? Which are you more pleased with the music for: Dr Horrible or "Once More, With Feeling"?

Joss Whedon: Can't pick a favorite, but when Penny and Doc sing together I a little bit cry.

Can't compare to OMWF. Too close to it.

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Tucson, Ariz.: How much do you love your life right now?

Joss Whedon: I want to marry it.

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New York, N.Y.: Hey Joss, are you aware of the huge number of people following your works you have here at NASA?

Joss Whedon: Well, I have seen Firefly discs in zero gravity...

On the serious tip, guys -- donn't go back to the moon. Covered in raptors. Long story.

That's all -- sorry I couldn't type faster! xoxo -joss.

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