Somehow, in the age of the Internet and information overload, Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) has managed to complete production on a film that nobody ever knew was even in development. Apparently writing and directing Marvel’s upcoming, massive superhero team-up movie The Avengers hasn’t been keeping the creative visionary busy enough, because in his downtime he has penned an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, cast it, and put it in front of cameras. Wow, that shouldn’t help to make the Cult of Whedon any less fervent.
Much Ado About Nothing is one of those Shakespeare comedies that takes several romantic couples and mixes up the pairings in order to produce momentary drama. I’m not sure if that’s really a legitimate way to categorize a work, but there are at least a few of them, I remember that much from college.
The cast includes Whedon veterans Amy Acker and Alexis Denisoff playing the male and female leads Beatrice and Benedick, Franz Kranz and Jillian Morgese playing the secondary couple Claudio and Hero, and supporting roles by people like The Avengers’ Clark Gregg and additional Whedon vets like Nathan Fillion and Sean Maher. Maher himself confirmed on his Twitter account that this project isn’t a hoax by saying, “I promise you it’s the real deal and we’re VERY excited about it!” With those sorts of names put together in one cast, I’m sort of excited about it, too.
The film was apparently shot over the course of 12 days in Santa Monica, and it’s the first project from a “micro-studio” that Whedon has started with Kai Cole called Bellwether. Bellwether is apparently designed for “production of small, independent narratives for all media, embracing a DIY ethos and newer technologies for, in this particular case, a somewhat older story.”
The film has yet to find any sort of distribution, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Whedon just puts the movie out onto the Internet himself without even looking for any studio involvement. When talking to Entertainment Weekly about his upcoming web series Wastelanders, Whedon called making web content “the punk rock of filmmaking,” and that ethos seems to very much jibe with the concept of a “micro-studio.” And taking that approach probably makes a lot of sense to a guy who has seen countless TV shows cancelled by Fox and the movie he produced, The Cabin in the Woods, that was shelved due to movie studio red tape. I’m generally a fan of what Whedon does, so good luck to him as he tries to pave a new way. [muchadothemovie.com, via The Wrap]