Paley Festival ’09: DR. HORRIBLE’S SING-ALONG BLOG

dr horrible paley festival 2009

Knowing full well that the story of how a ridiculously talented family band together during last year’s WGA strike to create what would become the most buzzed about internet sensation of last year has been told ad nauseam, this TV Addict thought we’d take a different approach in recapping last night’s DR. HORRIBLE’S SING-ALONG BLOG panel from Paley Festival 2009. So here it goes, one or two (or fifteen) things that you may not have known about DR. HORRIBLE. Including but not limited to Nathan Fillion’s true feelings about Neil Patrick Harris, the power of Sondheim and the true power of Wonderflonium… but more on that later.

FAMILY MATTERS
Aside from changing the whole landscape of television and becoming the accidental poster-boy for do-it-yourself content on the web, one of the major driving forces behind DR. HORRIBLE was to give Joss an excuse to work with his brothers. Or as Joss explained, as only he can, “DR. HORRIBLE will bond us or break the family apart forever. It’s worth the risk.”

LITTLE KNOWN PALEY TIE-IN
If you were one of the hundreds of fans lucky enough to attend last year’s Paley Fest BUFFY reunion and was curious as to why exactly Joss was out of breath and looked like he had just run a marathon prior to the event, well… mystery solved. “The very last night of the very last shot [shooting DR. HORRIBLE] was when I snuck in the bathroom of the laundromat, changed into a suit and came here to talk to you about BUFFY,” revealed Joss.

FILLION=FUNNY
Okay, so not exactly shocking news, but when asked by the event’s fantastic moderator Matt Roush (Part-Time Whedon Fanboy, full-time critic for TVGuide Magazine) as to what his favorite part of the experience was, Fillion dead-panned, “You [looking at the Whedon Bros. and Felicia Day] did all the heavy lifting…. I’m just so happy now…. I can’t even tell you guys how much joy it brings to my heart that… Neil [Patrick Harris] couldn’t make it.”


IT PAYS TO HAVE FRIENDS
Or to be more specific, friends in high places — as Joss explained to all you aspiring filmmakers out there, “The head of production at Universal gave us the lot, the run of the whole thing, for a song, just because we worked together on Serenity and he’s a really sweet guy.”

IT ALSO PAYS TO BE A MUSICAL THEATER GEEK
Being raised listening to showtunes may not exactly scream popularity in high school, but as Zack Whedon can attest to, may in fact pave the way for a lucrative career in television and movies, “Definitely a Sondheim influence because it’s unavoidable if you’re writing something that’s good.”

FELICIA ON THE FUTURE
When she’s not starring in DR. HORRIBLE and dropping by popular television shows such as BUFFY, HOUSE and DOLLHOUSE, Felicia Day spends her time writing, directing and producing THE GUILD, one of the web’s most popular online television shows. “I basically got bored and wanted to act, but nobody would hire me,” explained Felicia, semi-seriously backpedaling, “Well, people will hire me… sometimes… whatever, I’m still here. But I got so passionate about it [THE GUILD] because I really had control of it and with DR. HORRIBLE it’s the same thing. Here we are making it, having a great time, putting our heart into it. You just don’t see that in the traditional world of television.”

JOSS’ FELICIA FASCINATION
“THE GUILD was really the first series I watched on the internet, that I was involved in and made me laugh,” explained Joss about his internet viewing habits. “And before we ever talked about Felicia being in it [DOLLHOUSE], I asked her for advice about how do I do this.”

Which as it would turn out, paid off in unexpected ways, when Felicia gave Joss’ agency and their internet gurus a lesson [or two] in online marketing, “Felicia just schooled them. They had no idea what to do with this. It was completely new, even though it was very traditional storytelling and ultimately the exact same length as an episode of TV… It was a great thing to watch. Little Felicia who had been very quiet and then started to speak and everybody else got very quiet. It was quite a BUFFY moment – the woman you aren’t paying attention to is the one who’s getting it done.”

JOSS ON TWITTER
Since it’s virtually impossible to have a conversation these days without the topic of twitter coming up, here is Joss and Jed’s take on the subject. After of course a shameless plug for theTVaddict.com’s own Twitter account (Follow us here!)

Joss: I don’t get twitter, I think it might be dirty.
Jed: You’re going to twitter tonight.
Joss: Buy me a drink first.

Note, you can now follow Joss @drhorrible and Nathan at @nathanfillion on twitter.

MORE FUN WITH FILLION
Not only did Nathan reveal that one of his part time jobs while working through university was as a Karaoke host “I could kill ‘The Rose.” Joss let us in on a little secret about actors. They always want to do whatever they’re not doing. “When we were doing Serenity, we were recording the Reavers and Nathan said, ‘I can take a run’ and of course it was the best vocal track we got.”

DR. EVIL LAB INCLUDED
One of the other ways in which Joss and Co. were able to cut costs for DR. HORRIBLE was in the set department. Where as luck would have it, Dr. Horrible’s lab wasn’t so much of a set as an actual lab, “Our Assistant Director Otto was friends with a guy who had an evil lab,” explained Joss. “All those tubes you see in the background of his blog all dispense Vodka and Jack.”

THE HORSE OF COURSE!
Who’d have thought that the most famous actor aside from Neil Patrick Harris who couldn’t attend tonight’s panel was a four legged-one. Turns out, that the horse who played “Bad Horse” is one of Whedon’s most prolific stock players, having appeared in DR. HORRIBLE, ANGEL and next week’s episode of DOLLHOUSE.

PROOF THAT YES, WHEDON’S ARE HUMAN TOO
In testing the initial DR. HORRIBLE trailer, Jed fessed up to uploading it to Vimeo and then naming it ‘Dr. Horrible,’ “Like I’m a genius…. I mean who’s going to go on the internet and find it!” Joked Nathan, “How ever did they crack your code?” Replied Jed, “Not my finest hour.”

JOSS IS A NPH FANBOY
“I’m a huge fan, I saw him do ASSASSINS. I love his voice and comedic chops,” explained Joss when asked how casting Neil Patrick Harris came about, “I know him through Amy Acker so I’ve known him for a while and actually sung with him and Amy and James Wedding. Which put me in full “Squee” mode, I was geekin’ out so hard!”

FUN WITH FILLION PART 3
“I would wear a darker outfit, to symbolize the darkness,” joked Fillion when asked what he imagines his character would go through in a DR. HORRIBLE sequel. “I would grow my hair out and do more of a pompadour. All heavy hitting character stuff. Layers upon layers of acting challenge.

AKWARD QUESTION OF THE NIGHT
Goes to the fan who asked Joss what would happen if you took all the money FOX is giving you for DOLLHOUSE and made more episodes of FIREFLY, would anyone notice?

MORE FUTURE OF THE WEB WITH FELICIA
“I love doing the web shows, but I’m not rolling in money,” admitted Felicia who it turns out was only slightly embarrassed to have discovered that she is wearing the same shirt that she wore in DR. HORRIBLE. “I haven’t bought new clothes for a year!”

CRINGEWORTHY FAN QUESTION OF THE NIGHT
As much as we cringed when a gentleman in the audience asked Felicia if she would join his World of Warcraft Guild. We kind of want to thank the man for making us feel only slightly better about our unhealthy obsession with television.

BEST QUESTION OF THE NIGHT
What will happen if Wonderflonium is bounced? “It’s too terrible to tell,” Joss says. “But I will tell you that it will cause me to Twitter.”

ACTUAL BEST QUESTION OF THE NIGHT
When one fan asked Joss why he keeps on going back to FOX after the FIREFLY fiasco and now DOLLHOUSE (not to mention, joked Joss, “Let’s not forget ALIEN RESURRECTION”) “The fact is it is eerily similar in some ways [but] very different in other ways. And the reason I went back was because of Eliza [Dushku]. And I don’t care, she’s worth it. There are different people that I’m dealing with [at FOX] and I think they’re pretty decent, honest people. Some of them have left recently but some of them are still there. The relationship has always been equitable. It’s always been [about] trying to find the show. And it’s very different than when it was with FIREFLY. But I will say that probably the worst thing I could have done right before starting DOLLHOUSE was DR. HORRIBLE. Because it just rolled off us, it just came out from our hearts. We sang and bang that was it. I mean five months total between our first sit down to stream. And then to work so hard and get so lost [on DOLLHOUSE] by a process that, you know, it wasn’t being run by bad people or mean people, it’s just that grind after the freedom of DR. HORRIBLE. It made me a much crankier person and a worse boss.”