Joss Whedon Wrote 'Speed' But He Didn't Get a Credit, What's Up with That?
Here's a fact you may or may not have known — Joss Whedon was a writer for Speed , but he never got a credit. How could that happen? Well, apparently, this is a common occurrence with the Writers Guild of America, but it doesn't change the fact that Whedon was "devastated." Here's what went down with the movie back in 1994. The credited writer, Graham Yost, had Whedon come on to rewrite a lot of the dialogue. In fact, Whedon's dialogue is what turned the less credible, outrageous situations into something believable, and he was happy to help out. He told HuffPost Entertainment,
I worked hard on it, I had a really great time and I worked with really cool people. I thought it was good stuff. Graham has been very generous.
So what happened to his credit? How come when you watch Speed, you aren't like, "And THIS was brought to us by the genius Joss Whedon! Bring on the Buffy and Speed mash-up videos." Whendon said,
The studio gave me one, but then the Writers Guild of America took it away, and I was pretty devastated. I have the only poster with my credit on it.
Now there's a poster that could be auctioned off for a very high price. But, considering Whedon was devastated when he saw his work didn't get a visible credit, it's likely that he'll be holding onto it for a while.
This was all fair and legal though. WGA bylaws state that a writer can come in and rewrite all of the dialogue, but if it's not plot-related changes, you still may not get a credit. Whedon explained,
You can come in and rewrite all of the dialogue, and still not get credit. They didn't think I made big enough changes to the plot. I actually did a lot of overhaul, but much of it was to a later draft, so it went back to what Graham originally had.
Still, it doesn't take away from a lot of the major writing choices that Whedon made. He wrote believable dialogue that made the movie that much better. For instance, Sandra Bullock's stand-up comic of a character was viable because of her dialogue. If you don't believe the characters in an action flick, then you won't be glued to the screen. There's only so much special effects and music can do.
Regardless of Whedon's lack of credit, we can't deny that the movie wouldn't be such a well-known blockbuster had it not been for his work. Now that he's talking about it, we can at least acknowledge that twenty years ago (damn!) he made a major impact on Speed. But Speed credit or no Speed credit, it doesn't take away from his undeniably stellar career. Hell, what would geeks be without Whedon's work? (Answer: Not half as lucky as we are.)