Joss Whedon's 'Dollhouse' w/ Eliza Dushku on FOX - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 2557 Old 10-31-2007, 09:41 PM - Thread Starter
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« Ausiello Report Eliza Dushku Lures Joss Whedon Back to TV!

Short of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer reunion movie, this is just about the best news you could ask for: Eliza Dushku and Joss Whedon are reteaming for a new series! (Told ya it would be worth tearing yourself away from the candy corn to drop by The Ausiello Report.) Here are the five things you have to know about the show, and I mean now:

1. It's a one-hour drama produced by 20th Century Fox to air on Fox. The first of the seven episodes to which the network has committed could premiere as early as spring.

2. It's called Dollhouse because that's the nickname of the high-tech lab where a group of human chalkboards are kept between assignments.

3. Human chalkboards?! Yes! What else would you call characters like Dushku's Echo who can be given new memories, skills and even personalities, then stripped of them just as quickly, leaving them virtual children.

4. Whedon is the creator, head writer and executive producer, and perhaps in part because Dushku convinced him to do the show, she's getting a producer credit. (Fellow Buffyverse alum Tim Minear is also on board.)

5. I just got off the phone with both of them!

First things first: How in the hellmouth did Dushku get her Buffy and Angel boss to do it? In a word, food. Shortly after she signed a development deal with Fox in August, "I called the one man that I knew I wanted to do [a series] with and had to have to have the best show possible" and invited him to lunch, she says. "And he was seduced!"

Actually, hypnotized, Whedon counters. "Eliza was wearing a hat with a big spiraling wheel on it, and she kept saying, 'Look into the wheel. You want to make television. You want it to be about me ' It sounds hokey, but it really worked."

And how. Not only did Dushku get Whedon to agree to work on the project, but what she calls their "contagious, freaky, awesome energy" at that very get-together inspired him to create it. "I came up with [the concept] at lunch completely spontaneously, based on my conversation with Eliza," he insists. "It wasn't [an idea] that I was nurturing or that I tailored or I tried to retro-fit to her."

So what is the concept, exactly? Explains Whedon: "Dollhouse is a suspense drama about a girl who can have any personality except her own." So it's part Alias and part Quantum Leap, "because Echo is literally changing who she is," he continues. "She gets into people's lives a little bit."

Even Dushku's. "I relate so much to this character," she marvels. "Echo is essentially the story of my life. I've lived a crazy life the past 16 years, traveling around the world and then tripping and falling into this business. Everyone wants you to transform and be a different person every week."

Great chemistry and intriguing premise notwithstanding, you'd think that after Fox snuffed Whedon's Firefly and hung up on Dushku's Tru Calling, one or both of them would have been more than a little hesitant to get back into bed with the network. "Honestly? Walking back into that building was pretty damn strange," Whedon admits. But "I always had a good relationship with [20th Century Fox], and on the network end, it's a completely new bunch of people, and from what I've seen, a fairly impressive bunch."

Dushku seconds that emotion. "I really get the sense that they're committed to [this show] It feels right."

Besides, as Whedon notes, "I told them I was interested in writing a pilot, and they gave me seven episodes. They've already shown more support for it than I have."

Now it's your turn to show the comeback kids some love. And, like Dushku, I don't think you'll let them down. "We have the best fans in the business [in the] the Buffy and Whedon universe," she says. "It's going to be pandemonium when this [news] hits." And it's only just begun. Additional reporting by Ben Katner
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post #2 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 12:01 AM
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Great info, thanx.
Now if Whedon can keep his ego under control, maybe we will have another winner like Buffy and Angel.

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post #3 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 01:24 AM
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Thanks for this heads up. I'm there, keep us posted!
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post #4 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 08:12 AM
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Hmmmm, sounds like an odd premise that hopefully can cover ground NBC isn't already beating into the ground this season. This sounds like a blend of some animes though, Gunsmith Girls crossed with Kite perhaps. Also sounds like too much temptation for Whedons "kung-fu girl" fetish to really take over. Should be a good way to stretch some acting chops for the leads though, no doubt some other Whedon favorites will pop up.

But why in the HELL did these guys go back to FOX???? How much punishment do these guys need to take before they learn? The concept is WAY too highbrow for Fox marketing to understand so I expect a lot of confusing action scenes with an overlay of "From the creator of Buffy and Angel...", mostly played during baseball and girly comedies (i.e. completely the wrong market). Plus a 7 ep commitment smacks of second ep cancellation much like Drive. Sheesh, now my day is ruined.
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post #5 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 08:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oink View Post

Great info, thanx.
Now if Whedon can keep his ego under control, maybe we will have another winner like Buffy and Angel.

I love Whedon's work. I liked Firefly as much as I did Buffy, which is to say that I liked it a whole lot. I still can't understand why Fox cancelled it but they did, alas.

Eliza Dushku is a terrific young actress (26) and the idea of casting her as a character who takes on a whole new personality each week has promise. I was a little surprised to see that Whedon is getting back into bed with Fox, given the apparent bitterness of his breakup with them following Firefly's cancellation. Perhaps his apparent inability to get a new gig since Serenity in 2005 is the reason.

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Originally Posted by jason10mm View Post

The concept is WAY too highbrow for Fox marketing to understand so I expect a lot of confusing action scenes with an overlay of "From the creator of Buffy and Angel...", mostly played during baseball and girly comedies (i.e. completely the wrong market). Plus a 7 ep commitment smacks of second ep cancellation much like Drive. Sheesh, now my day is ruined.

I am inclined to agree that the show seems a little too smart for Fox's suits, but then the term ,dumb network exec, is an oxymoron, if ever there was one, so the show may be an little too smart for any network's suits.
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post #6 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 09:00 AM
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Sounds pretty interesting, I think Whedon has done some good stuff.

I'm a casual fan - watched the first 4 or 5 seasons of Buffy, a season or two of Angel, saw Serenity before any Firefly EPs (started watching them afterwords in re-broadcast).

I mentioned this since I know there are *rabid* fans that think he can do no wrong. I do think when he's at the top of his game he's one of the more talented people working in TV. Dushku is a pretty solid actress with the right "character optimization" (i.e., write to her performance style), attractive (much more so than the Veronica Mars chick everyone is drooling over in the Heroes thread...subjective I know...), I think she'll work for this.

I'm assuming he needs to work like anyone else, and hasn't really done anything substantial recently - I figure even with Fox's reputation, he said to himself OK, I've got 7 episodes, creative control (writing/directing and I think producing as well?), and with my fan-base the potential to make something that will last.

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post #7 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by gwsat View Post

I am inclined to agree that the show seems a little too smart for Fox's suits, but then the term ,dumb network exec, is an oxymoron, if ever there was one, so the show may be an little too smart for any network's suits.

I don't think "dumb network exec" is an oxymoron, I do believe it's a bit redundant though.

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post #8 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 10:45 AM
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So is Wheden resurrecting Mutant Enemy? I thought they closed their doors when Firefly folded...
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post #9 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 11:05 AM
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will there be more than one "doll"? cause I want Morena Baccarin and Jewel Staite back on TV.
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post #10 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 11:12 AM
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Hmm, this sounds like an interesting premise for a show but one thing I wonder about. Generally people like to follow shows because they get to know the characters and become vested in them. If the lead character is essentially a "different" person every week (or for each story line anyway), it would seem to take that away from them. Will be interesting to see how they work around that.


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post #11 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 11:25 AM
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How could this "Human Chalkboard" idea not be abused, especially if Eliza and Morena were "Chalkboards?" Would not the mad scientists program those ladies with memories and personalities that convinced them they were madly in love with the scientists?

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post #12 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 11:31 AM
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I'll give this one 3 episodes.

Joss Whedon is foolish for working with Fox..period.

and no surprise that oink, the firefly troll, made a special appearance in the first reply to this thread.
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post #13 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barth2k View Post

I want Morena Baccarin and Jewel Staite back on TV.

Jewel Staite is back on TV. She has a recurring role on Stargate: Atlantis
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post #14 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by [DT] View Post

Dushku is a pretty solid actress with the right "character optimization" (i.e., write to her performance style), attractive (much more so than the Veronica Mars chick everyone is drooling over in the Heroes thread...subjective I know...), I think she'll work for this.

I like the Veronica Mars chick, Kristen Bell a lot, too. She is pretty but her best attribute is her acting ability. She played a young whore in a couple of episodes of Deadwood's first season and blew me away. She can sing, too, and was terrific in Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical. I think that she is also very good in her current recurring role on Heroes, where she plays a bad girl with super powers.
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post #15 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 12:08 PM
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wow roger...no matter how closely I follow whedon gossip you still find stuff I haven't heard of. Thanks for the info...
In defense of oink, he's proven to be much more than a "firefly troll". Don't fully understand how Joss' ego caused the failure of Firefly and Serenity though. And I'm a little wary of Minear's involvement. He's never been my favorite writer in the whedonverse, and more importantly has got quite a track record of being involved with short lived shows...still, right now, all I can say is...YAY!!!

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post #16 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 12:35 PM
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This has several things going against it:

1) Joss is dealing with Fox again. Honestly, this sounds like a better companion piece to something like Kyle XY on ABC Family or perhaps Lost on ABC.

2) There's a writer's strike coming up right as it's being developed. Delays will only hurt the chances of it getting on the schedule.

3) Joss tends to be "set in his ways". Sometimes you have to be ready to compromise on your "vision" in order to get something done. Time and again, he's tried to fight that when he really doesn't have enough juice to do so.

I hope I'm wrong and it succeeds. It sounds like a good show. In addition, that sort of plot appeals to my tastes.

I wish him luck and let's hope he and Fox can get it done this time.
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post #17 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Roger Lococco View Post

"I came up with [the concept] at lunch completely spontaneously, based on my conversation with Eliza," he insists.

To have 'THAT' kind of talent is awe inspiring. The ability to eat lunch and pass a creative sci-fi TV series. That gets my vote for the next HERO super.

If it succedes I predict he'll never have to pay for lunch again.
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post #18 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by RockyF View Post

I don't think "dumb network exec" is an oxymoron, I do believe it's a bit redundant though.

Yeah, I meant to say smart network exec. Anyway there was some sort of moron at work there, which might have been me.
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post #19 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 02:10 PM
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Sounds a lot like this book: http://www.amazon.com/All-My-Sins-Re.../dp/0575072814 only not as good.
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post #20 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [DT] View Post

I do think when he's at the top of his game he's one of the more talented people working in TV. Dushku is a pretty solid actress with the right "character optimization" (i.e., write to her performance style), attractive (much more so than the Veronica Mars chick everyone is drooling over in the Heroes thread...subjective I know...), I think she'll work for this.

As much as I liked Veronica Mars and the looks of Kristin Bell - she doesn't hold a candle to Eliza.

I'm placing the over/under at Episode 3 for the first episode that she gets the "promiscuous hot chick with a taste for skimpy clothes" personality.
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post #21 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by CPanther95 View Post

As much as I liked Veronica Mars and the looks of Kristin Bell - she doesn't hold a candle to Eliza.

I'm placing the over/under at Episode 3 for the first episode that she gets the "promiscuous hot chick with a taste for skimpy clothes" personality.

I say, she ends up soaking wet in the pilot wearing cloths that cling like Saran Wrap when drenched.
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post #22 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 03:14 PM
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CPanther and NetworkTV: There is a writers' strike pending; perhaps you gentlemen could submit some teleplays to JW for consideration? I like the direction you're taking the show...

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post #23 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by IAM4UK View Post

CPanther and NetworkTV: There is a writers' strike pending; perhaps you gentlemen could submit some teleplays to JW for consideration? I like the direction you're taking the show...

As long as I don't have to join a union. I've avoided being in one for most of my 15+ years in TV and I don't want to go back to the BS I endured when I was in one.
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post #24 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 03:42 PM
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There is a writers' strike pending

I thought JW wrote the scripts?
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post #25 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 04:00 PM
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joe, JW does write some scripts for his shows; I just wanted to see Panther's and NetworkTV's ideas on-screen...

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post #26 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 04:32 PM
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Well I'm interested. I'm also ready for it to be cancelled. One gambles with Fox, Whedon, and genre shows.

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post #27 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by jason10mm View Post

But why in the HELL did these guys go back to FOX???? How much punishment do these guys need to take before they learn? The concept is WAY too highbrow for Fox marketing to understand so I expect a lot of confusing action scenes with an overlay of "From the creator of Buffy and Angel...", mostly played during baseball and girly comedies (i.e. completely the wrong market). Plus a 7 ep commitment smacks of second ep cancellation much like Drive. Sheesh, now my day is ruined.

Exactly.

"I knew you'd say that"...*BLAM!*
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post #28 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by hollywoodjoe View Post

I thought JW wrote the scripts?

Chuck Lorre is creater/producer/writer (Two and a Half Men, Big Bang Theory) and one of his recent vanity cards ended with "See you on the picket line". See #190 here: http://www.chucklorre.com/index.php?p=190

I can see JW supporting the writers.
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post #29 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 06:38 PM
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Sorry, Mr Whedon is not allowed to do any new projects unless and until he makes a Wonder Woman movie that doesn't suck!

My sincere thanks to everyone who makes AVSforum such an awesome resource.
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post #30 of 2557 Old 11-01-2007, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Eliza interview from E! Online:

From Eonline.com - By Webmaster - 2007-11-1
Eliza Dushku - "Dollhouse" Tv Series - Eonline.com Interview
Eliza Dushku as Faith on Buffy

Congrats on the showthis is so exciting. First off, how did it come about?

It was the best scenario. Basically, I went in with Peter [Chernin] and all the heads over at Fox, and they really honestly and really confidently told me that they wanted me to come in as a producer and an actress. They told me to bring them the material that in my heart I wanted to do.

So, I sat on it for a couple of weeks. I knew Joss was working on other things, and his Wonder Woman stuff, but he's been a friend since I moved out here, when I was 17. He became my favorite writer/genius, and I've always said I'll follow that guy anywhere. So, I called him just to have coffee, and talk about life and what I was going to do with this deal. And we got to talking. He just gets women, which is the most amazing thing. He gets them, and I think that was clear from all his past things, from Buffy.

He can use the science fiction, and he can use these metaphors or exaggerationsbut he gets women, and he gets people. He gets down to the real human emotion and the real beating heart.

So, we talked about life, and we were telling each other crazy stories about the things we had done in the past time since we had talked, and the Internet and download that thing, and we talked about hunting, and that person with that fetish, and that thing we were trying to do, and that woman we knew, and that fear that we had, and all of the sudden, it was locked in, and the rest was history, and we have this crazy, exciting bomb-ass new show.

Are you already prepping to be Echo?

Yes, I'm already training and getting ready for it. I'll be a different Echo every week, which is great for my ADHD personality, it's trulythe stars aligned in this one, the timing, the people, the creative ability, the potential is really there. I can't wait for the fans to finally hear about it, because I've been asked about it for years, is there going to be a spinoff. Everything happens for a reason, and timing is just right here.

It sounds like you guys developed it together. Can you talk about how you came up with Echo, and the concept of the actual Dollhouse, and not just the show?

We did kind of come up with it together, and that's one of the cool thingsI'll be one of the producers of the show and it's eventually kind of a story of my life. I've had kind of a crazy life, traveling around the world with my mother at a young age, going on these crazy trips and adventures, and then being in this business. It is the story of who I am, in this business especially, like the objectification of people, and who people want to make other people into, and people clicking a button and thinking they can make something happen.

We have so much control in this day and age with the Internet and television and what we want and our desires and fantasies and thinking we can make them come true. And all of this, I think, just makes this such a smart concept, because it's all infiltrated in there, and it's part me and it's part the world. It's part people's fantasies, people's demons, their high times, their low times, their hilarious times and in between, mixed withI gotta have some serious action, because that's just, like, I realized that a procedural show isn't right for me. I need to be jumping out of a car or kicking butt or making love.

It sounds like you'll get to do all of that with this. Another thing I liked about the pitch was that there's a whole bunch of you, you're all in this dollhouse, and you're all trying to find yourselves one way or the other. Can you talk about other parts, other casting? Anything like that yet?

Yeah, we have, and it's nice, again, that we kind of have similar tastes. I think that we all know, we can kind of see it and feel it and taste it, and it's just kind of about putting it together, and getting the orchestra and getting all the variables into the equation. But we're both major fans of some of the previous people that we've worked with in other shows, and we also have writers from Buffy that are going to be coming over and joining us. It's just going to beit's gonna be fun to watch I think. Because I think people are going to be excited at what we have.

Everyone is super-super-excited I guarantee youI squealed.

The Red Sox won the World Series again, and things are goodI have my boy [Brad Penny], and he's going to be playing baseball for the Dodgers next year, and I'll be here shooting my show for Fox. It's all gonna be good.
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