UPDATE: See the just-released press release below, which explains more about the film, including the fact that it was shot in 12 days and will start touring the film festival circuit this spring (SXSW, anyone?).
While he was busy directing The Avengers
, Joss Whedon
somehow found the time to make a Shakespeare movie. This is either really amazing news, or someone is playing a terrible joke on us. Whedon's version of Much Ado About Nothing
was leaked by star Nathan Fillion on Twitter over the weekend, and the Firefly
actor even posted a link to the project's site
. There, an announcement about the completion of principal photography was posted, along with a cast list that's pretty exciting for Whedon fans.
Shakespeare co-star Sean Maher chimed in on Twitter adding, "I promise you it's the real deal and we're VERY excited about it!" Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, and Clark Gregg are among the others cast for this re-telling, which is a loose adaptation of the famous scribe's play set in modern times. Fillion will apparently be playing Dogberry — a buffoonish, self-important constable. The man in the photo on the site is none other than the geeky Topher from Dollhouse, Fran Kranz.
Not much else is known about the project at this point, but further announcements are expected. We'll update you as soon as we can, but for now what do you make of all this?
Santa Monica, CA (October 24th, 2011)
Bellwether Pictures proudly announces the completion of principal photography on MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, a modern version of Shakespeare’s classic comedy adapted and directed by Joss Whedon (Marvel’s upcoming THE AVENGERS, “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”). Filmed in just 12 days entirely on location in exotic Santa Monica, the film features a stellar cast of beloved (or soon to be beloved) actors -- some of them veterans of Shakespearean theater, some completely new to the form. But all dedicated to the idea that this story bears retelling, that this dialogue is as fresh and intoxicating as any being written, and that the joy of working on a passion project surrounded by dear friends, admired colleagues and an atmosphere of unabashed rapture far outweighs their hilariously miniature paychecks.
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING is the first feature from Bellwether, a micro-studio created by Joss Whedon and Kai Cole for the production of small, independent narratives for all media, embracing a DIY ethos and newer technologies for, in this particular case, a somewhat older story.
Shot in glorious black and white by Jay Hunter (PAPER HEART, “Dollhouse”), the film stars Amy Acker (CABIN IN THE WOODS, “Alias”) and Alexis Denisof (“How I Met Your Mother”, “Angel”) as Beatrice and Benedick, the world’s least likely lovers headed for their inevitable tumble into love. As Joss Whedon puts it: “The text is to me a deconstruction of the idea of love, which is ironic, since the entire production is a love letter -- to the text, to the cast, even to the house it’s shot in.” The supporting cast includes Nathan Fillion (“Castle”, WAITRESS) as Dogberry, Clark Gregg (AVENGERS, IRON MAN) as Leonato, Fran Kranz (CABIN IN THE WOODS, “Dollhouse”) as Claudio and Reed Diamond (“Franklin & Bash”, MONEYBALL) as Don Pedro.
The film was produced by Whedon, line-produced by Nathan Kelly and M. Elizabeth Hughes, and co-produced by Kai Cole and Danny Kaminsky. The super-impressive cast is listed below. Full tech credits (for the extraordinary crew) will be up shortly. The film should be completed by early spring and headed for the festival circuit, because it is fancy.
Amy Acker - Beatrice
Alexis Denisof - Benedick
Nathan Fillion - Dogberry
Clark Gregg - Leonato
Reed Diamond - Don Pedro
Fran Kranz - Claudio
Sean Maher - Don John
Spencer Treat Clark - Borachio
Riki Lindhome - Conrade
Ashley Johnson - Margaret
Emma Bates - Ursula
Tom Lenk - Verges
Nick Kocher - First Watchman
Brian McElhaney - Second Watchman
Joshua Zar - Leonato’s aide
Paul M. Meston - Friar Francis
Romy Rosemont - The Sexton
And introducing Jillian Morgese as Hero