Joss Whedon attempts ‘Much Ado About Nothing’

Director Joss Whedon ("The Avengers," "Firefly") filmed his version of "Much Ado About Nothing" in just 12 days.
Director Joss Whedon ("The Avengers," "Firefly") filmed his version of "Much Ado About Nothing" in just 12 days.

It was a quick transition for director, producer, and screenwriter Joss Whedon. Upon completion of directing the superhero smash hit, “The Avengers”, Whedon announced his screen adaptation of the classic Shakespearian comedy “Much Ado About Nothing.” Planning the adaptation while shooting “The Avengers,” Whedon brainstormed ideas for the new film with friends and family on weekends and during his sparse free time. After completion, Whedon introduced “Much Ado About Nothing” to the Toronto Film Festival. A hit at the festival, it was acquired for distribution by Lionsgate shortly after it was screened as stated by the New York Times.

Whedon took a do-it-yourself approach to his adaption, avoiding the typical Shakespearian style with actors in grandiose costumes, boys in heavy makeup playing women’s roles, and gripping soliloquies. Shot in Whedon’s own home, the film introduces a modern twist while still keeping Shakespeare’s original language.

According to NPR, Whedon’s adaption was shot during his originally planned family vacation over a period of only 12 days. Filmed with hand held cameras in a time period that often allowed for only one take, the film demanded that its actors be prepared. In an interview given by the New York Times, Whedon explains the difficulties of the time constraints saying, “I told them [the actors] not only do you need to be spot on in the first take, there is the chance every now and then that we will shoot a different scene. So think of this as a production. Be ready.”

The plot of “Much Ado About Nothing” focuses on the messy matchmaking job Don Pedro has of pairing two couples; the willing Hero and Claudio and the not so willing Beatrice and Benedick. In the end, Don Pedro is able to bring the two pairs of lovers together accompanied by some hilarious mix-ups, witty wordplay and clever plot twists. According to Andrew Robinson from the Film School Rejects, Whedon’s adaptation provides “comedy gag after gag, and there’s barely any time when a joke doesn’t land perfectly.”

Whedon seems confident that movie goers will enjoy his new film as well. In an interview given with The Hollywood Reporter Whedon claims, “If you have eyeballs you must, in fact, love this movie. Is that too hard a sell? No.” If movie goers are as passionate as Whedon is about “Much Ado About Nothing,” they will be flocking to theaters at the same rate as they did for “The Avengers.”

“Avenger” fans will be pleased to see the familiar face of Agent Phil Coulson played by Clark Gregg in the adaptation. Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof from Whedon’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” spinoff “Angel” will play the crafty characters Beatrice and Benedick. Nathan Fillion and Sean Maher of Whedon’s fleeting sci-fi series “Firefly” are also a part of the cast. An official release date has not been set as of yet although it is expected to be sometime in 2013.

About the Author

Katelyn Guichelaar

Katelyn Guichelaar is a Chimes guest writer for the 2012-13 school year.

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