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Joss Whedon's Hollywood reputation took another hit last month when it was reported that the famed writer/director of beloved geeky franchises had allegedly "abused his power" on the set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with Charisma Carpenter and several other cast members speaking out about their negative experiences on set. But the stars of The Nevers — Whedon's Victorian-era superhero show that comes to HBO next month — tell a different story about their own experiences with the TV and filmmaker.
"I loved working with Joss," cast member Ann Skelly (Penance Adair) told Entertainment Weekly. "I found him to be a lovely boss and director, he was very open. I felt he cared a lot for the actors and the crew. It was definitely one of my favorite on-set experiences for sure ... Everyone would show up to work happy to be there, ready to go. That is a very contagious feeling. It was a very positive energy."
Laura Donnelly, who plays Amalia True, added that the production was "the best screen, film or TV, experience" she ever had on a set. "From my point of view, [Joss] always felt very supportive and protective of the artistic integrity and what we as actors needed in order to be able to do our job. One of the great things was the way that trickled down. I've never worked on a show that has a cast and a crew that all seem to be so at the top of their game and who are all so lovely and I say that without a single exception."
The Avengers and Justice League filmmaker created the new series, but ended up parting ways with the project last November, citing pandemic-related exhaustion as the cause. Showrunning reins were then handed over to Philippa Goslett (screenwriter of How to Talk to Girls at Parties).
"I was certainly gutted. I was going to miss him a lot — he was our captain," Donnelly said. "But at the same time, he left for personal reasons and you can't argue with that. People have to look after themselves, they gotta look after their families, they gotta look after their mental well-being. These are all the conversations that we're having at the moment and it's really important that that happens. I wouldn't want it to be any other way for him."
"I found out the same way and I was really sad," Skelly added. "I'll miss him going back to work, but I am very trusting in who we have leading the show now."
Part League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and part X-Men, The Nevers centers around "The Touched," a group of women with unique abilities, who must rise above cultural and religious backlash in order to save the world. The show premieres on HBO and HBO Max Sunday, April 11.
Watch the full trailer here.