Tuesday, October 20, 2009

(Several) Dollhouse inteviews hit the tubes today

One with Miracle Laurie at the Buffyfest blog (it's probably still on the blog roll to the right), one with Dichen Lachman on the SFX magazine site.

And one with John Cassaday, the Astonishing X-Men artist during Joss Whedon's run who is about to direct an ep. of Dollhouse, in which he says this:

The Beat: I’m with you on both of those! Do you have any thoughts on the cast and characters going in? Any favorites?

Cassaday: I like the relationship between Echo and Ballard. There’s a strange dynamic there. They’ve grown into something very different than where they started out. Ballard has become part of the machine he swore to take down in order to get the job done. He’s no longer CIA. It’s a personal mission for him and that mission is embodied by Echo. I enjoy the back and forth between all the employees and the actives. I’m fascinated with the trickiness of the technology and how it can be applied to anyone to serve any purpose… The possibilities are endless and mind-boggling.

The Beat: What’s your biggest challenge, do you think, going into this?

Cassaday: I read a script and have specific ideas as to how I want to tell the story. When I draw, it’s me and only me– essentially a one-man show. One challenge comes in dealing with a crew of a hundred people waiting for and watching me… I’ve met most of them and they really know their jobs. I’ve watched the crew at work and feel I’m in good shape. Another issue is working with actors. I’m excited about this as much as anything. I feel lucky in a sense, that with it being a television series, the actors will have been playing their characters for roughly 22 or 23 episodes by the time I hit the set. We won’t be forming their characters from the ground up. They know their origins. They understand themselves and their motivations. I also look forward to dealing with any day-players, so I can get those creative juices flowing there too… Constructing personalities. So very Dollhouse!

Causing me to think about that 'construction of personalities' as it is done by the director, yes, but more so by the writers and creators (and of course the actors, at a later stage). I'm focusing on the writer's role because you have to consider aspects of the Dollhouse to be metaphors for what the TV writer does--but be careful not to let such a discussion collapse into a black hole of infinitely reflected self-representations. You'll be sucked into your own navel and become an ultra-dense singularity of wankery.

Then there's Paul Ballard's character arc: he tries to bring the Dollhouse down but ends up inside it. Sucked in like it was a belly-button. It reminds me of a problem a friend had once about the author's voice: a voice that is trying to be genuine, honest, free of stylistic affectation and rhetorical artifice is in fact using that stylistic choice in the same way as the other stylistic devices, the ones it's trying to avoid, are used. There is no escape from choosing a self-representation. Likewise, a parent organization, like the CIA, won't let you pursue a crazy quest to defeat something like the Dollhouse, and you certainly can't defeat it by becoming part of it. You might think you can outfox the foxes but that just makes you an even foxier fox.

I don't know. I thought I had a thing there.

So as a director or a writer, you're creating everyone's self-representation, and trying (sometimes, I hope) to show a true representation of the world as you see it--but it's all make-believe, and make-believe about deception and false identities. And if you're Dollhouse, you're doing it on Fox (but maybe not for very long).

Oh man. See the note above about ultra-dense wankery. I'm really sorry.

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