Joss is riding high after directing the most financially successful comic book film ever made, so nerd-folk everywhere have been looking forward to seeing what project he will focus on next. Remember, Christopher Nolan followed up The Dark Knight (the former most financially successful comic book film ever made) with the 160 million dollar Inception. It’s simple Hollywood math that after Avengers, Whedon is likely to get one no-holds-barred, mega-budget passion project. So what’s his next movie going to be?
Much Ado About Nothing—Shakespeare, in black and white, shot over 12 days, in Whedon’s house.
While that may seem a bit anticlimactic, true Whedon fans are likely fanning themselves in excitement at getting to witness on the big screen a significant part of long-time Whedon lore. Since at least the time of his fist successful television shows, one of the ways that Whedon liked to have fun was to invite friends over to read Shakespeare’s plays.
Fans have known about this for some time from various interviews and DVD commentaries. In fact, the Shakespeare parties play a pivotal role in the late seasons of Angel (SPOILER ALERT for a show that’s been off the air for 8 years). The story goes that at one such get-together, Amy Acker (who played the sweet and painfully shy Fred) read the part of Lady Macbeth. She did such a stunning job at playing the disturbingly focused and uncaring woman that Whedon decided to kill off the character of Fred and put Acker in the role of Illyria, a disturbingly focused and uncaring demon from earth's primordial past.
So, what fans might expect to see are Whedon’s actor friends from projects past and present coming together for an ensemble super-cast, and that’s exactly what the new film has. Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof (Wesley Wyndam-Pryce from Buffy/Angel) play the leading roles with a supporting cast including Clark Gregg (Agent Phil Coulson from The Avengers), Sean Maher (Dr. Simon Tam from Firefly), Fran Kranz (Dollhouse/Cabin in the Woods), Tom Lenk (Buffy/Angel/Cabin in the Woods), Ashley Johnson (Dollhouse), Riki Lindhome (Buffy), Reed Diamond (Dollhouse), and of course, Nathan Fillion, who we hope needs no introduction.
The projects been in the works for the better part of a year, but new production photos showed up last week, which you can check out here. We must confess to a bit of disappointment that the project will use Shakespeare’s original script, but only because so much of the fun of a Joss Whedon show is the witty dialogue. That said, we are still eager to see the Geekmaster get his hands on the Bard, and the use of limited set and modern costume should make the whole thing visually engaging, as well.
If you want to set your eyeballs on Much Ado About Nothing, you’d better get up to the Toronto film festival next month, because so far the film doesn’t have a distribution deal.
Any other Shakespeare classics that need the Whedon treatment? Who would you cast?