Amy Pascale’s biography of Joss Whedon hits shelves today, and with it comes new insight into our Geek Overlord. We’ve already seen Tom Hiddleston’s love letter to Whedon, which came from the book, now io9 has an except of Chapter 17, about the creation of Firefly. It goes in depth about his inspiration for the show, casting, writing Chinese slang, and why he named the show after the ship. He even throws shade at Doctor Who. You should probably read the whole thing (Especially because I’m not going spoil the reason he named the show Firefly. Its reveal is too good in the context of the excerpt.), but here are a few highlights.
Whedon wanted the series to be about “how politics affect people personally. And the personal politics are the only politics that really interest me. I'm not going to make this big, didactic polemic—I'm just going to say, 'When there are shifts in a planet, those tiny little guys are the ones who are affected. So let's hang out with them—not the Federation heads or the Jedi Council.'"
There are nine characters because the show is strongly modeled after John Ford's classic western, Stagecoach. The book contains a literary analysis of the similarities by professor Fred Erisman, plus discussion about the show’s philosophical underpinnings.
Whedon dropped out of talks to direct Iron Man so that he could focus on Firefly.
Fox objected to Zoe and Wash’s marriage. They said a pick up was dependent on them not being in a stable relationship. Whedon threatened to walk. “And I said, 'Then don't pick up the show, because in my show, these people are married. And it's important to the show.'"
Neal Patrick Harris was in contention for the role of Simon Tam, which ultimately went to Sean Maher.
Adam Baldwin calls Whedon a better director of actors than Stanley Kubrik. “I worked for Stanley Kubrick—Stanley was not as good a communicator with actors as Joss is. Stanley would just have you do it again and yell at you that you were lame and bad and need to be a better actor, whereas Joss would say, 'Well, try this' or 'Try that,' and he would care. Being a good actor, he was able to give all of us guidance toward his vision of how the scene would play. And that was a huge, huge benefit."
And finally, the Doctor Who shade: "People were always talking to me about [Blake's] 7, Red Dwarf, even Doctor Who, and I just never watched them. I watched one episode of Doctor Who and I was like, 'Did they film that in my basement?' because it looked cheesy."
Read the whole thing here.