Don’t believe the hype – ‘Dollhouse’ is very much likely to be back for a second season, says show creator Joss Whedon.
It was a night full of delightful dolls on Wednesday night’s ‘Dollhouse’ panel at PaleyFest 09,’ where Sci Fi guru Joss Whedon joined Eliza Dushku, Dichen Lachman, Miracle Laurie and Fran Kranz at ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood.
They first treated us to exclusive red carpet scoops about the future of Paul and Mellie, upcoming characters for Echo, and the possibility of Topher leaving the ‘Dollhouse,’ and later chatted with fans and critics inside the event.
At the panel, with fans hanging on his every word, Whedon talked at length about the possibility of the show getting picked up again, saying “Right now I’ve gone from a sort of place of ‘You don’t even care, nobody loves me’ [laughs] to a place of God, I can’t believe I’m saying this … hope.”
What about the last episode (episode 13, “Epitaph One,”) being included in the DVD but not airing due to a pesky DVD contract that Fox could not get out of? “I’ve been saying that I want this to air as part of the season. … The jury is out on that,” said Whedon.
Eliza Dushku explained why she was drawn to doing yet another project with the writer (both had teamed up on Buffy): “Everyone sort of just painted me in black leather pants and put me in a push-up bra and made me kick ass and he was like, ‘I want to put you in a floral dress and have you have daddy issues.’ i was like ‘really?’” she said, laughing.
She also gave a preview on what characters Echo will be tackling in upcoming episodes. “Playing a 40 or 50 year old woman was a good one,” she said. “That’s coming up on Friday, and then there’s some episodes where there are three to four different characters.”
And that’s not all! Check out the plethora of juicy character scoops we got on the red carpet:
Miracle Laurie – “Mellie”
What was it like to step into this sort of robotic role, where we suddenly find out you’re one of the dolls?
That was a really intense episode but a really fun one. It was cool because Mellie is very simple and she likes to cook, she loves Paul and she just does her thing. She’s very sweet. I don’t think she’s dim or anything she’s just a very simple character. And that scene alone was very fun and easy because the theory is that when you’re programmed like that you have one goal and one purpose and all the skills for that. So it was like I’m being attacked and you defend and you kill. You get in the zone. It’s part of the fun of being an actor. To do things you would never imagine being able to play.
Where is Paul and Mellie’s relationship going to go?
Poor Paul and Mellie, it’s such a tortured relationship. I don’t know. He just found out from me that I’m a doll. It’s a little intense. And he can’t tell me. He’s in between a rock and a hard place. And the tricky thing is that Mellie has no idea what’s going on. She’s just in love and will stick around forever. So we’ll definitely see how he handles it a little bit better in the next episode. And we’ll see where the relationship goes and if there’s a possibility that they can keep it up.
Joss Whedon – show creator
What do you think the chances are of seeing a second season?
I’ve been talking to the executives and stuff and the jury is definitely out that we do have a good chance because the DVR numbers are good, the demographic is good. People also know that we took time to find our footing very publicly and what we have now is a really interesting premise, and extraordinary ensemble, the best first year writing staff I’ve ever had, and that kind of stuff is starting to create a real alchemy. The last few episodes I’m as proud of as anything I’ve ever done. So they know if it’s got a chance to build we will give them a reason to build. And that’s all I can ever offer is quality. Quality and very skimpy outfits which maybe is the same thing.
There’s that infamous story that was everywhere that said you and Eliza were having lunch, and ‘oh my god they’re doing a new show’ and all that. Take us through that process:
I was literally just having lunch with Eliza talking about what she should do. It should be ensemble, it should be sci-fi. But sort of five minutes into the future sci-fi so that we can talk about topical things. She wanted to cover sexuality but without just being a hottie. We wanted to investigate the concept and all of this stuff fell together. She talked about my agent wants me to do this. These people think I should do this. Who does everybody want me to be? And in the middle of that conversation I went oh, well that’s the show. And it’s called Dollhouse. I went home to my wife and was like honey, I accidentally created a Fox show!
What role does sex play in the series and what is it like working with these amazing ladies?
As you can tell they are the most beautiful women imaginable. Sometimes we just stand in the middle of the set going my eyes hurt. It’s like, stop. Make it stop. And the boys ain’t ugly either. When Tahmoh takes his shirt off I’m like woo, I do like show tunes [laughs]. But pretty is not nothing and sexuality is a part of the show. It’s part of the package. Hopefully we’re examining it in a responsible way so that we can use it as every show does without abusing it without falling into real objectifications. It’s a fine line but the show is about that line.
Eliza Dushku – “Echo”
How do you handle the hard core action scenes?
I’ve always just sort of been that tom boy kid that sort of jumps into it. The second day they were like can you ride a motorcycle? And I’m like yeah! I can ride one, I have before. I have brothers. I like to ride motorcycles, ride horses, climb buildings and walls, and run through the woods, fire weapons, and just sort of do whatever is necessary. In the ‘Buffy’ days I would show up and just want to jump into all the fight scenes. It was like six cops beating up my character and I’m fighting back? Yeah just stick me in. I can do it.
Fran Kranz – “Topher Brink”
Tell us what’s coming up for Topher. Will we ever see him outside of the lab? Will we get to know his background?
The more I’ve thought of it for all intensive purposes Topher may as well been born in the Dollhouse. People talk about if he’s good or bad or is he ever going to leave. He’s a major part of the Dollhouse. If it was an organism he would be a major organ. Moralities are relevant to him because he functions solely within the Dollhouse and he works well with it. At the moment he’s like a kid in a basement playing with his toys and he’s the best person for the job. I got that idea of him being a child with his toys and good an evil being irrelevant more based on what happens to him later. Especially the twelfth and thirteenth episode, which I wont give away. I think people will be surprised to see what happens to Topher later down the road. And I really hope hey get a chance to elaborate on it even more.
On a more serious note, what is it like to work with such a hot cast?
It’s pretty sweet man. They’re all really talented and I’m really awkward around them. I don’t know, maybe shy works. It’s not terrible going to work.