- Hardcover: 448 pages
- Publisher: Chicago Review Press; 1St Edition edition (August 1, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1613741049
- ISBN-13: 978-1613741047
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #669,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Joss Whedon: The Biography Hardcover – August 1, 2014
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Pascale offers a biography of television auteur Joss Whedon, who is perhaps the first celebrity television show-runner. The son of a history teacher and a television writer, Whedon began his television career with a staff writing job on the sitcom Roseanne, but once that job experience soured, he turned to features, penning the script for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Though disappointed with the final cut of the film, Whedon enjoyed a prosperous stint writing and rewriting films such as Speed and Toy Story before returning to the small screen to resurrect his slayer. The show was a modest hit, but the passionate fan base it cultivated led to an active online community that Whedon participated in as well as further groundbreaking television offerings (Angel, Firefly, etc.) that cemented Whedon’s status as an icon even before he was tapped to direct Marvel’s high-profile flick, The Avengers. Though Whedon’s many fans are fairly familiar with the ups and downs of his career, the many frank quotes from Whedon, his friends, family, and coworkers make Pascale’s absorbing bio a must-read. --Kristine Huntley
"Amy Pascale delves deep behind the scenes of Joss Whedon's myriad film and television projects, covering Avengers, vampire slayers, and everything in between. This thorough and engaging biography is a must-read for everyone who loves Whedon's work, from the casual fan to the most hardcore Browncoat.” —Tim Hanley, author of Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine “The material is jam-packed with all sorts of behind the scenes trivia. Perhaps that means an update will be needed after Avengers: Age of Ultron. Amy Pascale has written an interesting, well-written take on the life and art of Joss Whedon; any true fan should take a look.” —CliqueClaque
“If you think you know everything about Joss, you haven’t read this thoroughly entertaining and well-researched treasure trove.” —Josh Horowitz, MTV News
“Now that I’ve read this and feel like I know Joss as a person rather than merely a hit-making, critically adored peer, my schadenfreude has been reduced to completely manageable levels.” —Rob Thomas, creator of Veronica Mars
“When art hits us, it’s fun and possibly necessary to look behind the scenes and see what drove it. Amy Pascale gives great insight into Whedon’s work that will interest and surprise even seasoned fans.” —Alan Kistler, author of The Unofficial Game of Thrones Cookbook and Doctor Who: A History
“Like a series of great tales told during a boozy night of friends reminiscing, Pascale’s biography of Joss Whedon does what the great artistic biographies do — it makes you want to go back and re-experience his work.” —Patton Oswalt
“Though Whedon’s many fans are fairly familiar with the ups and downs of his career, the many frank quotes from Whedon, his friends, family, and coworkers make Pascale’s absorbing bio a must-read.” —Booklist
“An informative and readable book.” —Kirkus
“For the story behind one of the hottest writer/directors of the moment, fans will want to pick up this biography.” —SheKnows.com
Pascale has done a tremendous amount of research; the sheer number of interviewees and sources
is impressive. The book is at its most compulsively readable when the author is writing about the
period when Whedon was running three different shows at once. It’s comprehensive, entertaining
and thoughtful and, perhaps most importantly, it will send you running to your box-sets to relive his
work.” —SciFi Now
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
For the fans who happily follow him from project to project because they’ve seen their lives changed because of something he wrote, the answer may be yes, absolutely.
But even casual readers will enjoy Pascale’s look at the life of the man behind “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel,” “Firefly,” “Dollhouse,” “Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” “The Avengers,” “Cabin in the Woods,” “Much Ado About Nothing” and more, and his gift for taking cliched genre formats and subverting them to tell meaningful stories about love, death, family, and redemption with humor and chilling drama, often in the same scene.
Whedon’s father was a second-generation TV writer who wrote for “The Dick Cavett Show” and “The Electric Company” and his mother was a performer and teacher who created feminist course studies and held Shakespeare readings in the home. Humor and artistic expression were baked into him at an early age. Yet as Pascale explains, the driving force behind everything he did was loneliness and a hatred for bullying.
“If Joss Whedon had had one good day in high school,” according to Buffy executive producer and Angel co-creator David Greenwalt, “we wouldn’t be here.”
From exhaustive research and multiple interviews with Whedon, his wife Kai, and their friends and coworkers, Pascale provides a thorough look at Whedon’s life from his ancestry and childhood to his time in boarding school in England and his influences in the film department of Wesleyan University, to his early struggles in writing for the screen. Whedon experienced failures and disappointments aplenty starting out. He landed his dream job, writing for “Roseanne,” but the behind-the-scenes madness ultimately led to his departure. He watched a director turn his script for “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” into a campy movie played solely for laughs, with star Donald Sutherland changing lines on a whim, and he left the production. He rewrote virtually all of the dialogue and changed the tone that arguably made “Speed” a smash hit but didn’t get screen credit. His work on “Waterworld” and “Aliens: Resurrection” was wasted or mangled.
But his work on “Toy Story” helped Pixar refine its now-famous style and brought Whedon an Oscar nomination. When he was offered “Buffy” as a TV show he got to do it the way he wanted this time and he saw his version become a beloved TV icon and cult favorite that ran for seven years and birthed a spinoff, “Angel.” Making a story meaningful was the key, and every story had to be about something real, even if it was told through the metaphors of vampires and demons and students who become invisible. That was the key to avoiding monster-of-the-week episodes and making his shows touch people, he thought.
“I’d rather make a show a hundred people need to see than a show a thousand people want to see,” Whedon said, and he’s done it time and time again. “Buffy” and “Angel” and “Firefly,” even the less-well-received “Dollhouse” has devoted fans talking about the episodes and dressing up like the characters and writing their own fanfiction.
While his science-fiction western “Firefly” was mishandled by the network and canceled early, Joss’ continuing interest in it led to a “Serenity” movie. When that fell short at the box office he worked on more movies and then award-winning comics such as “The Astonishing X-Men,” “Fray,” “Runaways” and a new, official “Buffy” comic. When the writers’ strike interrupted his plans to write a horror movie with Drew Goddard (“Cabin in the Woods”) it gave him the push to develop his own work outside of the studios, which led to the Emmy-winning “Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.”
And then Marvel Studios came calling.
While Pascale drifts into Whedon-worship at times, she doesn’t shy away from his darker sides and missteps. She talks to Charisma Carpenter about the ignominious way the actress was let go from “Angel,” for example, and the stresses that arose when Whedon was running “Buffy,” “Angel” and “Firefly” at the same time.
But mostly this is a lengthy and entertaining exploration and celebration of a brilliant, prolific man with just the right balance of humor, insight, humility and arrogance to create art that will go on affecting people for generations.
With Pilot Razor Point pens.
I enjoyed the book. It's a smooth read and keeps enough interesting story lines going to propel you into the next section. The book covers Whedon's life story, focusing on his career as a television and film writer, director, and producer, back to his invention of the name "Joss," in his school days. It describes the progression of his career with enough interesting detail to keep at least fans of his work throughly engaged. I enjoyed reading about his early influences, including a teacher who played a pivotal role, and some of the rollercoaster drama of life in network television.
I did think the book was missing some color. There's not a lot of insight into Whedon personally, which is a valid choice for a biography, but sacrifices some of whatever emotional resonance a bio might have. The book reads a bit like a very friendly long-form magazine article. There aren't a lot of angles or fresh observations going on here, although again, the book does pull off some decent storytelling.
It also feels a bit sanitized. The bio was clearly done with Whedon's approval and cooperation, and is careful to be vague about any unpleasant (or overly "interesting") bits over the years. For example, the book alludes to a lot of drama over Sarah Michelle Gellar's various feints toward walking off the Buffy show, but grazes lightly over the whole affair, giving no insight or detail not already public. There was a lot going on with that cast, and it would have been interesting to know more about how the dynamics evolved and resolved. The book does a little better with the network tumult over moving Buffy around, but then goes lightly again when it comes to Fox's cancellation of Firefly, focusing more on the Whedonesque fan group, of which I think the author was a part. The style of the writing itself is fairly flat, sometimes verging on the book-reportish. You get the feeling a huge amount of time was spent assembling various anecdotes into chronological order, and eventually there is a "getting through the whole history" element.
And even for fans, the book is an awfully sweet love letter to Whedon's talents and overall wonderfulness. The number of quotes from various people regarding his amazing "one draft" writing abilities and general genius is staggering. We get it. The man can write, and has become a powerful voice in television and Hollywood as a result. But what else? I would have liked to have heard more from the people who worked with him through what must have been extremely interesting projects than, "He's great. Writes everything in one go. Can't wait to work with him again." I got the feeling Whedon has so much clout at this point, and the author such a fan herself, that the scope and tone of the bio were hemmed in a bit.
All of that said, the book held my interest, presented a coherent narrative, and provided enough facts and detail to be worthwhile, at least for anyone with an interest in Whedon and his work, and is probably a must-read for serious fans.