Joss Whedon On Dombey And Son Movie Ambitions
What, the Dickens?
Joss Whedon has been in the news a lot recently, in no small part because of what he said in our recent Much Ado About Nothing Empire Podcast, with details on both Loki's absence in Avengers 2 and Quicksilver / Scarlet Witch's appearance in the same ruffling feathers everywhere. And yet, there's more - and this time it's about Mr. Whedon's love of Charles Dickens, and how he'd love to make a Dombey And Son movie.
It's long been known that Whedon loves his Dickens. His top five books are the following: Frances Hodgson Burnett's A Little Princess, Dickens' Dombey And Son, Frank Herbert's Dune, Truffaut's Hitchcock and Jane Austen's Pride And Prejudice. But there's been nothing from the Buffy / Angel / Firefly creator on whether he'd like to take a particular Dickens and put it on the big screen... until now.
"God, I’ve thought about [adapting a Dickens novel] a lot. My big issue is that they are so sprawling. A particular favourite of mine was Dombey And Son, which of course is right in my wheelhouse, but you have to have three different people play the part, and that never really plays… It’s tough."
If you're not already au fait with Dombey And Son's plot, here's a brief outline: middle-class Victorian businessman Mr. Dombey is desperate for a son to continue his family's name, and he is blessed with one, Paul, but the poor child is sickly and dies young. His wife also dies soon after Paul is born. He has an elder daughter called Florence, however, and it's the on-going battle between the two that is the throughline for this typically socially conscious mid-19th century Dickens novel.
"There’s an extraordinary story there," Whedon adds. "More than a couple, in fact, because it’s Dickens. But this story of this girl, and her relationship (or lack thereof) with her father is, of course, very moving. Though at one point, I was like, ‘Get a pickaxe! Stop forgiving everybody!’ Not a lot of people know that he wrote part of the Saw franchise, but as Joss sees it…"
There are few people who can get away with speaking about themselves in the third person, and Joss Whedon is one of them - though that might have something to do with his Saw / Dickens gag, which pretty much no-one saw coming.
Of course, there are no concrete plans here - just thoughts in the Much Ado director's head - but considering he made a passion project after Avengers Assemble, maybe he'll do the same after Avengers 2 comes around on May 1, 2015 - or it could work as a high-end TV miniseries. That said, he'll probably want more than 12 days to do justice to this particular slice of English literature...