extreme fan loyalty. saying: ‘1 was in a unique position as 1mm really took off at the same time as the internet did and I had an

opportunity no-one else had to talk to fans of

the show. clown around and have fun. It allowed me to get to know them.‘

He sells himself short. Buffy was the anti- 902/0 dark. wry and witty. its issue-dealing done with a minimum of preaching. lt introduced storylines covering an out lesbian couple. the death of a parent and depression. with sensitivity and wit. In the end. Whedon admits: ‘They got pretty slack with the demon creations because really people were responding to it emotionally.‘

It remains to be seen what emotional response his new movie will elicit. but given that the lidinburgh premiere of Serenity sold out in 40 minutes. l doubt he's losing much sleep. Picking up where Firefly left off. it features the crew of Serenity. a space ship on the losing side of a galactic war. When Captain Reynolds (Nathan l‘illion) and his loyal crew: Zoe (Gina Torres). her husband. the pilot. Wash (Alan 'l’udyk). the mechanic. Kaylee (Jewel Staite). and the muscle. Jayne (Adam Baldwin). take on two new passengers. a young doctor. Simon Tam (Sean Maher) and his unstable. telepathic sister River (Summer (ilau) they get much more than they bargained for. L'niversal‘s decision to back this movie however appears to have nothing to do with the plot. and everything to do with the fans.

Whedon explains: "l‘he fans supported the series right from the beginning. Then liox cancelled us. Universal stepped in. We'd wanted to work together for some time and Serenity seemed an ideal opportunity. Then when their senior executives came to screenings of Fire/7y and conventions they began to understand what they were dealing with in terms of community and fan response. It all helped. and Universal took on a film

without film stars. This isn‘t the kind of

generous behaviour you expect from a major corporation.‘ Not unless they can smell a franchise a mile away. Still. he insists L'niversal showed understanding about the global fan culture. saying: ‘Serenity and Fire/7y exist beyond the corporation and are the property of the fans and me and the actors.’

While he describes his fans as being ‘really sweet and kind‘. I ask how he feels about jossisahottiecom and he can‘t suppress a blush. ‘I know 1 have become something of a media figure. That‘s really nice but if it was all about me. I would back off. You know it‘s gone wrong if the persona overwhelms the work.‘ A fine sentiment but it doesn’t explain the ‘Joss Whedon Is My Master Now‘ T—shitts.

()ne fan pledges allegiance with ‘I think l love Joss more than life itself.’ But another hints at perhaps the true cause for worship when. after I44 episodes. Bit/fr finally came to an end: ‘I felt lost. for l wondered. what show will I tape now‘."

Cineworld, 623 8030, 22 & 24 Aug, 9.30pm 8: 9.45pm, £7.20 (£5.20).

Beauty tre

German model turned actress DIANE KRUGER, is playing a model in her new, long Cherished film Frankie. She tells Paul Dale why this was the role worth waiting for.

iane Kruger shares a birthday with

Jacques Derrida. the French philosopher

who said: ‘To pretend. I actually do the thing: I have therefore only pretended to pretend.’ Kruger has not had much luck with the critics in her four-year career of pretending to pretend or. as most people not grounded in Derrida's semiotics like to call it. acting.

‘l’m more than pleased.‘ she gushes in her pleasantly flat (iermanic tone. 'This is for me really a labour of love I've always believed in it and that's why for four years I‘ve continued to work on it. To me it is very dear: it allows me as an actor to be shown in a different light.‘

Kruger is talking about her fascinating. long gestating film l’runkie. a challenging. rhytlnnic. occasionally arrestingly beautiful cinematic poem on the brief. lonely decline of a catwalk model as told from inside the walls of a mental institution. Infused with the spirit of Maurice l’ialet (particularly his Van (Jog/t). Phillipe (iarrel (Bereeuu (1e ('tjvstul) and Derek Jarman. it is quite an achievement for this up and coming actress and first time feature writer/director liabicnne Berthaud. But this project was begun in 200]. What took them so long'.’

‘I was still in drama school when l auditioned for the part of a different character in the movie. it was going to be made with a much better known French actress playing the lead role but


when 1 met Fabian she was convinced that I should play the lead role. The producers wanted to go with someone much better known so they dropped out. so l’abian had no money but she did have a video camera and some free locations. And then my career kicked off so we had to work around my schedule. so Fabian would come to film me wherever she could. As I continued to work and get fairly well known. producers started to open doors to the film.‘

But for Kruger. making this oddly autobiographical film was probably the toughest thing she has ever done.

‘To hold a character for three years is really tough. There were many times when l wanted to abandon the project.‘

So what's her own favourite film about modelling? ‘()h God. I love Jerry Schatzberg's 1970 film The Puzzle oft/2e Down/ill] Child with l‘aye l)unaway about a once famous. now broken model. I couldn‘t stop thinking about it all the time we were shooting this film.”

Filmhouse, 623 8030, 20 Aug, 2.30pm, £7.95 (£5.20). Cameo, 623 8030, 21 Aug, 1.30pm, £7.95 (£5.20).