Joss Whedon celebrates birthday with new film release

Joss Whedon at the 2012 Comic-Con in San Diego. photo: Gage Skidmore

Joss Whedon at the 2012 Comic-Con in San Diego.
photo: Gage Skidmore

June 23 marks the birthday of one of pop culture’s most influential artists. Joss Whedon, writer, film-maker, screenwriter, film and television producer, director, comic book author, composer, actor, and pop culture icon, has inspired a global charitable movement. He celebrates his 49th birthday with the June release of his film Much Ado About Nothing, a year after Marvel’s The Avengers, which he wrote and directed became the 3rd highest –grossing film of all time. Much Ado about Nothing plays Nashville’s Belcourt Theatre for an exclusive limited engagement starting Friday, June 21. Celebrate Joss’ birthday Sunday, June 22 with Whedonites United, from 2 – 6 pm, at 3 Brothers Craft Brewhouse in Murfreesboro; and/or attend Whedonfest 2013, August 9-11.

Joss is creator and show-runner of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003), Angel (1999–2004), Firefly (2002–2003), Dollhouse (2009–2010), Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013), and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (2008). Joss co-wrote Toy Story (1995), wrote and directed Serenity (2005), co-wrote and produced The Cabin in the Woods (2012), and wrote and directed Marvel’s The Avengers (2012), which earned over $1.5 billion, the third highest-grossing film of all time, and the highest grossing superhero film of all time. Joss is also notable for his work in comic books, particulary his creation of Melaka Fray and his version of Kitty Pryde.

“I think, ultimately, gun to my head, TV is the place,” said Whedon. “Being able to spend years with a character, to really develop them, to understand them, to challenge the actor, to learn from the actor, to work with a team of writers — that experience is so fulfilling. The idea of putting something out there and letting it grow is really exciting.”

Born Joseph Hill Whedon on June 23, 1964 in New York City, “Joss” is married to Kai Cole; they have 2 children, son Arden Cole and daughter Squire Cole. Joss graduated from Wesleyan University in 1987, and in May 2013, was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters from there. Whedon gives his mother credit for inspiring the elements of feminism in his work.

“His respect and empathy for women are obvious and consistent,” says author Lisa Anderson. “He does more than pay lip service to equality; he also shows respect for women behind the scenes.”

The Joss Whedon Birthday Bash and Concert, Sunday, June 23, 2 – 6 pm, at the 3 Brothers Craft Brewhouse; 114 North Church Street, Murfreesboro, benefits Whedonfest.

“Whedonites United, the organization that puts on Whedonfest, is more than just a fan group,” says Anderson. The middle-Tennessee based group is part of the global Can’t Stop the Signal movement that supports charities through activities involving fans of the film Serenity in action.

Whedonfest is August 9-11, 2013, at Barefoot Republic; 8824 Brownsford Road; Scottsville, KY, about 1 hr. 20 min from Nashville.