Joss Whedon’s Hollywood Status Update: Horror Fantasy ‘Goners,’ ‘Cabin In The Woods’ And More

OK, so we know Joss Whedon is busy with Buffy (as a comic book) — but what about all his other projects? We asked the man himself for an update.

“Goners” — Whedon once told us that he was writing a script for a movie, which he called a “very personal thing about human connection and questioning whether there is such a thing at all.” It was to be an original story, a horror fantasy, “a little darker than I’m used to,” about a young woman who gains some powers. “Not something I’ve written about before,” he joked, “but I’m excited to try some new territory.” Universal, however, has not been quite as excited just yet, as “Goners” “has gotten backburnered,” Whedon said, meaning it’s still in development. “I still have hope for it, though.”

“Cabin in the Woods” — Instead, Whedon moved on to a new movie project, which he co-wrote with “Buffy” alum and “Cloverfield” scribe Drew Goddard. “It’s genius, it’s funny,” Goddard said. “It’s got a harder and darker edge, but it’s also got classic Whedon qualities. It’ll rip your heart out and be heartfelt at the same time.” Enough with the hype, what’s it about? “There’s a reason the title is so straightforward,” Goddard teased. “It’s its own sub-genre, the cabin in the woods, and this is sort of our take on it. It’s fresh and new.”

Whedon, who said the pair are close to going out with the project, is also wearing a producer’s hat on this one; he said doing double duty is “very hard.” “Writing is like a cave,” he explained. “You have to go very far down, and you have to have time to get down there and come back up. But producing, that means you’re involved with everything. Right now, that has more to do with very preliminary stuff, budgeting and whatnot, but it’s still another thing on the list that keeps you having enough time to get into your artistic head.” Don’t worry, Goddard assures us, it’ll be worth the wait. “That man is a genre all to himself,” he said. “He’s comedy, horror, drama, all at once, and you’ll never be able to classify it as one thing. What do you call it? At the end of the day, it’s Joss.”

“Dollhouse” — Whedon once swore off doing another show on FOX after “Firefly,” but come January, he’ll return to the network with “Dollhouse,” which has several Buffyverse alumni in its cast and crew, most notably Eliza Dushku as the show’s star, Amy Acker (Fred on “Angel”) as a recurring character, and Steven DeKnight (as a writer). “I tried not to make “Dollhouse” a family reunion,” Whedon said, “but I reluctantly read Amy, I realized I was the biggest idiot alive. I mean, how can I not have them come back? Have you seen them act?”

The pressure of returning to episodic television is bearing down on Whedon, though, since he’s again realizing that compared to comics, he has to keep to a tight schedule (he once famously delayed a few issues of “Fray” because of his work on “Firefly” — for about a year). Not that he doesn’t take his comics deadlines seriously, but if he has to skip a month’s issue, so be it — “It’ll just be that one month, and one month only, and never again,” he promises. “But we don’t have that luxury on TV. ’Oh, yeah, you can come out a week later.’ Everything has to be taken care of. We just have to cowboy up and get it done.”

Which is all to say that despite the reunion factor, it’s not just “Joss’ friends having a goof,” as he puts it. “Which is what I do want people to think about Dr. Horrible.”

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog — Speaking of which, the trailer is now online for the webisodes, airing July 15, 17, and 19. More on the “Dr. Horrible” project over at, but for now, suffice to say that this was a labor of love. “In some cases, you work with people you know, and they’re reunions, and in some cases, they’re just the people I hang out with,” Whedon said, “so we decided to do something other than go get food.”

Over the course of six days during the Writers’ Strike, Whedon, his brothers, and some friends put together a three-part musical starring Neil Patrick Harris as a supervillian trying to get into the Evil League of Evil. Nathan Fillion plays his superhero nemesis, and Felicia Day (former Slayer potential Vi) as the girl he likes at the laundromat. “You want to work with people you love and trust,” Whedon said. “That’s the theory. It’s not radical, but it’s mine.”

What else? — What, you wanted more? With the Buffy comic, “Dollhouse,” “Cabin in the Woods,” and “Dr. Horrible” soon hitting an Internet near you, Whedon’s already stretched thin. That means, for now, no “Serving Girl” — a short film he was planning to to with Summer Glau. “She’s even busier than I am. She’s busy terminating everybody,” Whedon said. “We’ve both very dedicated to the concept, and it is the next kind of dream for something to do, but it’s like working with any other artist. If they’re good, they’re very often busy, and you gotta wait.” And it means, for now, no offering an assist to Brian K. Vaughan as he maps out the script for “Runaways” (a comic that they both wrote for Marvel, at different points). “I wish him the best. I already have guilt over that. But I probably won’t commit to anything else.”

“I’m only one man!” he cried in fake despair. “No, actually, I’m just a lot lazier than maybe I realize. I am the world’s laziest workaholic.”