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Somehow Joss Whedon has managed to create more buzz for his newly announced adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing with a simple press release than he has for his major feature film comic hero flick The Avengers. Fans of the Whedonverse were ecstatic to hear that aside from directing what will likely be the biggest film of 2012, he also managed to find time to shoot a film using many of fans’ favorite actors from Whedon’s shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and my favorite Firefly.
EW got an interview with Whedon and was able to squeeze a few details about the project out of him and land a few pictures of the film’s stars as well. Whedon is famous for holding Shakespeare readings at his home (the location in “exotic Santa Monica” where Ado was shot), but never dug in and adapted one for film. Here’s what he had to say about why Ado became his first Shakespearean foray and what to expect from the film:
I had trouble at first, because it had the words “About Nothing” in the title. So I was like, “I don’t have anything to say about nothing.” But really when I started pouring over it, I got a very strong sense of how a little bit dark and twisted it is. The movie’s in black-and-white partially because it’s kind of a noir comedy. I realized that everybody in it behaves like such a dolt — an articulate dolt, but a dolt. I fixated on this notion that our ideas of romantic love are created for us by the society around us, and then escape from that is grown-up love, is marriage, is mature love, to escape the ideals of love that we’re supposed to follow. So that clicked for me when I realized, oh, I get why it matters everybody goes through the weird machinations we go through.
Employing many Whedon alumni, Ado stars Nathan Fillion and Sean Maher from Firefly, and Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker from Angel. With the exception of Fillion, you can see your first look at these actors below.
This version of the film has been updated slightly from the old Shakespearean text, and Sean Maher dropped some details about how it’s been modernized and how Joss Whedon’s house worked as the sole location for the film.
It does feel contemporary. The direction we were getting from Joss was to make it was real, especially with the language, not to be big and Shakespearean, but to bring it in and be intimate and bring it as close to a realistic way of speaking as we could. And Joss’ house is just magnificent. Not ostentatious by any means, but just a maze of halls and so many different bedrooms and this pool that overlooks the Santa Monica mountains. It’s gorgeous, just the most perfect setting. Everybody who was there, so desperately wanted to be there and you felt that. It really felt like we were doing something great. So I’m excited.
According to Whedon, no distributors are moving in on the property just yet, which isn’t surprising since the announcement of the film came only yesterday. Whedon’s plan has Much Ado About Nothing starting its life in the festival circuit next year, where it will inevitably find a distributor if no one grabs it before then.
This project feels like something film students would do on their Easter break, and that sort of intimate family environment, especially for these folks who have been friends for over a decade, means that we’re going to get something very special when the film finally finds theaters next year. It’s nice to know that Whedon isn’t afraid to keep to his roots even when he’s busy making big budget tentpoles. More on Much Ado About Nothing as it comes to us.