Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing

Joss Whedon’s hip, cool trailer of Much Ado About Nothing has been making the rounds in advance of the film’s release in theatres on June 7, 2013. Like a beautiful art piece, the black & white modern telling of Shakespeare’s comedy is visually stunning; a smart, contemporary setting for the merry war between Beatrice and Benedick. Filmed in one location – quite literally Whedon’s own backyard – it plays out in the public and private recesses of his home and grounds, and will most certainly open up the world of Shakespeare to younger audiences, delivered as it is by a familiar collection of Whedon’s television and film actors.

It was shot in under 12 days while Whedon was on a contractual break that required him to take a week off after completing principal photography of The Avengers in 2011 before beginning to edit his director’s cut of the film. Instead of taking a vacation, he called up his friends and in the true theatrical spirit of “let’s put on a show, my dad has a barn,” he produced this film. 

It may seem like an odd choice, but not for those who know Whedon. Over the years he and his wife, producer Kai Cole had invited their actor friends over to read and perform Shakespeare’s plays for fun so it wasn’t unusual that their love of Shakespeare would eventually result in a film project. The cast consists of both actors who have training in the work and others who have never performed before, all of whom jumped in without hesitation.

Amy Acker, best known as Winifred “Fred” Burkle in Whedon’s TV series Angel plays the feisty Beatrice. Acker has appeared in stage productions of Much Ado and other classics as part of her early training. Fans of Alexis Denisof, who plays Benedick, will see an entirely different character than the one he played in Whedon’s The Avengers (The Other), or in Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Wesley Wyndom-Pryce. Denisof also has Shakespeare in his background, most notably appearing in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Hamlet starring Mark Rylance.

MUCH-ADO-Tom-Lenk-and-Nathan-Fillion-CREDIT-Elsa-Guillet-Chapuis-2MB

Castle’s Nathan Fillion [pictured here with Tom Lenk as Verges] gets the crowd-pleasing role of Dogberry, a character known for his perpetual malapropisms. Fillion, a master at comedy, also appeared in Whedon’s popular Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog with Neil Patrick Harris. Among the other cast members are such recognizable faces as Sean Maher (Serenity) as Don John, Reed Diamond (24, Franklin & Bash) as Don Pedro, Clark Gregg (Ironman, The New Adventures of Old Christine) as Leonato, Fran Kranz (Broadway: Death of a Salesman) as Claudio, Ashley Johnson (The Killing) as Margaret, and newcomer Jillian Morgese as Hero.

In addition to directing the film, Whedon also created the music, along with Clint Bennett, his music supervisor. Whedon wrote the melodies and structure for the score, then Deborah Lurie arranged them and completed the score. First time’s a charm with the music and sound design which completely enhances the chic stylistic vision of Whedon’s film.

You can follow Much Ado About Nothing’s Facebook Page for more news about the upcoming release or visit www.muchadothemovie.com.

“There was a star danced, and under that was I born.”
― William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing Act I, sc. 2

Photo credit: Elsa Guillet-Chapuis

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