Joss Whedon announces secret film of 'Much Ado About Nothing,' ability to warp time and space at will

Just kidding about the second thing. And yet it seems that as far as Joss Whedon is concerned, writing and directing the massive comic book tentpole blockbuster The Avengers; writing and overseeing the Buffy Season 9 and Angel & Faith comics for Dark Horse; readying the long-in-limbo The Cabin in the Woods (which he co-wrote and produced) for an April 13, 2012 release by Lionsgate; and developing a post-apocalyptic web series with Warren Ellis is just not busy enough. Earlier today, actor Nathan Fillion, among others, tweeted out a link to muchadothemovie.com, announcing that Whedon had finished principal photography on a film presumably based on William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing

The cast includes a host of Whedonverse alums, including Fillion (Firefly, Buffy, and Dr. Horrible) as Dogberry, Amy Acker (Angel and Dollhouse) as Beatrice, Alexis Denisof (Buffy, Angel, and Dollhouse) as Benedick, Sean Maher (Firefly) as Don John, Reed Diamond (Dollhouse) as Don Pedro, Tom Lenk (Buffy) as Verges, and Fran Kranz (Dollhouse and The Cabin in the Woods) as Claudio, as well as Clark Gregg, a.k.a. Agent Coulson from Iron Man, Thor, and The Avengers as Leonarto.

Also in the cast is Spencer Treat Clark (Gladiator) as Borachio, Riki Lindhome (The Last House on the Left) as Conrade, Ashley Johnson (The Help) as Margaret, Emma Bates as Ursula, Nick Kocher as First Watchman, Brian McElhaney (Arthur) as Second Watchman, Joshua Zar as Leonato’s aide, Paul M. Meston as Friar Francis, Romy Rosemont (Glee) as the Sexton, and Jillian Morgese as Hero.

Whedon has famously held Shakespeare readings at his home from time to time, but how he managed to squeeze this project into his post-production schedule on The Avengers remains a tantalizing mystery. Much Ado follows two couples — Benedick and Beatrice, chatty and cynical, and Claudio and Hero, driven almost mute by their love for each other — who are comically tricked by the dastardly Don John.

UPDATE: Joss Whedon on his secret film of ‘Much Ado About Nothing': ‘This is the best vacation I’ve ever taken’ — EXCLUSIVE

Follow Adam on Twitter @adambvary

Read more:
‘The Avengers’ dis-assembled! EXCLUSIVE cast portraits revealed
Joss Whedon planning end-of-the-world web series
VIDEO: Joss Whedon talks ‘The Avengers,’ ‘Cabin in the Woods’ and the new ‘Buffy’ comic


Comments (94 total) Add your comment
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  • Wes

    Please oh please tell me that Nathan Fillion is Dogberry.

    • asparagus-man

      He is

      • elizabeth ann

        with Lenk as his sidekick. :)

      • MkaGen

        Another flop project from the flop director/hack who brought ya Firefly (cancelled after 11 episodes due to tepid ratings), Dollhouse (cancelled due to tepid ratings), Serenity (box office flop with a 40 million budget that couldn’t even match that GLOBALLY at the box office). And now he brings his “talents” to the Bard, which I’m sure he will probably try to punch up with ridiculous in-jokes about pop culture and laughless “puns”. Whedon, please go home and choke on a banana. We don’t need your crappy writing.

      • argo

        Was that a royal “we”, MkaGen, or are you just prone to generalising? Cuz I, myself, am pretty excited.
        Whedon+Fillion+Acker=win

      • Mike

        @MkaGen:

        You’re the worst person in the entire world, officially.

        Whedon is a genius, and you seem to think that ratings and viewership have something to do with quality. If that was the case, the Transformers movies would be considered the best films of all time. I really, really want to make sure you’re aware of how dumb you are, so if you could get back to me at any point, that would be great.

      • Jenn

        Whoa @MkaGen – did he run over your dog or something??

      • America

        MkaGen loves to come and complain about Firefly (which had tepid ratings due to Fox, not Whedon) and Serenity (which , in fact, fell short of its production budget in its release, but is none the less loved by Whedon, the cast, and the fans of Firefly), and Dollhouse. He never mentions the huge impact Buffy had (guess he doesn’t like to remember that part) or that Angel was right behind Buffy in that respect. He chooses to not see how Toy Story was art (and Whedon was a writer on that) nor how he is putting out what is bound to be the biggest super hero movie yet next year. I get the feeling Whedon fired him or peed in his corn flakes or something. So no worries Whedon fans, just don;t feed the troll and maybe it will go find a new hobby. Just think about how miserable he must be to live a life of such hate and anger toward someone he doesn’t even know. I mean, how pathetic is that?! We should pity this guy, he needs it.

      • Jenna

        Whedon is a “genius”? Since when? The only people who call Whedon genius are his geek fans. He is just a mediocre director (not as bad as McG, but certainly not a genius like Scorcese), just mediocre, who’s never had a huge, mainstream hit. And sorry, Buffy was not mainstream. It was a show that had good numbers for the small netlet it was on, and developed a strong cult following. AVENGERS will be a hit because comic books are hot at the moment, and Marvel/Disney will use all their marketing muscle, NOT because people will flock the theatres to see “the latest Whedon film”.

      • America

        Jenna, he isn’t known for directing, he is known for writing, and he is quite good at it. Buffy was not mainstream but had an undeniable impact on pop culture and if you deny that your just showing your bitter and unable to see through your hatred of a guy who never did anything to you. For instance, I do not care for the music of U2. At all. Like, I really dislike it. Yet, I can admit that U2 had had an undeniable impact on music… of course I am not a petulant child trolling EW either, so maybe that is the difference between you and I

      • Joe Camel

        These points are not without merit. Whedon is an exceptional producer and idea man. Buffy and Angel both got incredible once he moved on from day-to-day production and let other writers he hired handle the scripts.

        However his writing does leave much to be desired. Especially in TV, you should never be able to watch an episode and know immediately who wrote it. Every time Whedon’s work interferes with his writer’s room it creates a standalone experience that really cheapens the overall narrative impact.

        Also he pioneered the “ancient evil antagonist who uses modern slang and has a contemporary sense of humor” trope which has done a lot for destroying the genre.

      • Channing

        For masterpieces such as ‘The Body,’ ‘Hush,’ ‘The Gift,’ ‘Waiting in the Wings,’ ‘Restless,’ ‘Dopplegangland,’ ‘Spin the Bottle,’ ‘A Hole in the World’ and ‘Once More, With Feeling,’ I’ll gladly take a cheapening of the overall narrative impact.

      • Scorp

        I think MKaGen is a pretty cool guy. He bashes on Whedon and doesn’t afraid of anything.

      • Steph

        Jenna: his geek fans are LEGION. They also run your internets. Be nice to the Help Desk crew.
        Or we’re coming for you.

      • Rick G

        Dear Jenna: If you can’t even SPELL Scorsese, your credibility is trash in the first place. But thanks for playing. Ignorance is adorable.

    • Will

      is there a more apropos title for Whedon’s career than Shakepeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing”? That’s exactly what Whedon’s supposed standing in the industry is. The guy can’t write or direct to save his life, yet his fans revere him as some sort of modern-day Shakespeare. LOL

      • Matt

        You’re taking a contrarian position in an argument, and you used the word “apropos” – you must be really smart!

      • daisy

        fail troll is fail

  • Sean

    Whedon… before the old Buffy and Angel cast need walking canes and oxygen tanks… Make the Buffy and Angel movie already! Give it a finale and give those of us still holding some glimmer of hope of a movie, some freakin peace! Thanks!

    • Dave

      Buffy and Angel continue every month in Dark Horse comics. That’s all the movie you’re probably ever gonna get, considering Boreanez’s refusal to be Angel again. But that’s the story as it continues. direct from Whedon and other writers from the shows.

      • Flip

        I definitely want a Buffy & Angel movie too, but the comics are the next-best (and currently, *only*) thing.

      • Nadine

        Rightly so, tho I would love to see Spike and Angel in action again, it’s ridiculous for humans who age to play ageless vampires. Also, I’ll watch anything Whedon is involved in.

    • echo

      I’m with Nadine — James and David are clearly aging, and though they may be looking good and aging well, they aren’t able to do immortality.

    • KFM

      Both of those shows had a finale. Angel had a really good one, actually. Why can’t you be satisfied with the ending you were given?

      • christinareads

        I was never a huge fan of Buffy or Angel, but I think they want a movie (despite being given endings) because the thought behind a tv-to-movie movie is that you’ve hit it big, that you’ll get this huge, elaborate, nostalgic finale.

  • aisha

    Amazingness!
    OT: Could somebody tell me why Nathan Fillion looks SO much better just about anywhere than on his current gig? Seriously, any footage or photo I see of him – he looks great! On Castle – not so much. And all this appears to be equally recent. Castle wardrobe and lighting crew has something against him or what? Or is it all some secret creative idea to pan out later in the season?
    Promise, I’m not a stalker. It’s just mind-boggling, like 2 diff. men

    • aisha

      Oops. Where is the comment I was replying to? With this pic ht tp://twitpic.com/74zw7y

      • Alexandra

        Some great comments. Adding to my oiagrnil, I won’t touch most movies that are gory or graphic. I think those types of films do a great job at desensitizing people to the real thing. Jurassic Park was an exception. There was some shock value in it but the movie was more a thriller than a gore flick. The characters is the main reason I stick with SVU on TV even though it has some gore – mostly reserved for the first 5 or 10 minutes. Then it’s the story and the characters. There aren’t too many shows on TV that have distinct characterizations. Most characters could be interchanged with any of the actors on that show. Meryl Streep. I love her and will see just about anything she does. She’s so versatile. BUT she is also a most intelligent lady and picks great projects to work in, so I’m sure it’s the story and the script that draws her in.On TV, I stay tuned to the characters and story but it’s hard to keep me around for the medical dramas, even if they have good characters and scripts. House is totally character-driven as was Boston Legal but I’m more inclined to watch a Boston Legal than a House. The ailment of the week becomes boring after awhile. Murphy Brown was another show I watched for script and character rather than actor. I wish they would release more seasons of Murphy Brown on DVD. Season 1, which they did release, was the weakest season of all.As for movies, I am much more selective now than I ever was because so much out there is drek. Horror, gore, toilet humor – nothing worth spending money or time on. I was really thrown by the toilet humor in Monsters VS Aliens. Gave that movie an F for that and was sorry I saw it.

    • Eva

      It’s not just you who thinks this. I don’t watch Castle but every time I see a commercial for it I think that the wardrobe department is doing NF no favors. His clothes always seem too baggy or something. Makes him look older, more schleppy.

      • Eva

        Ooops, my last comment should be @Aisha. Not sure why it posted as it’s own.

    • FlossAus

      I love Nathan, let there be no doubt about it but I think he might have put some weight on recently. He carries it in his face as well and if you watch S1 Castle or Serenity from 05 you see he is a lot slimmer. I think wardrobe are just dressing for that issue. Again, for the record I love Nathan, no matter what size he is.

      • shmooz

        Yeah, that he put on weight is a fact, but I agree with Aisha. He always looks from good to great anywhere besides Castle. I mean this pic from Much Ado ht tp://twitpic.com/74zw7y is definitely recent, but he looks much better than on Castle.
        I actually kinda like him with the added weight more:), it’s just that he always looks so tired on Castle.. And not so anywhere else

      • shmooz

        Oops I thought I replied to FlossAus
        Smth happening with comments?

  • Cris

    This news makes me very, very happy.

    • Ravinder

      The movie was meh , but with great potenial. The show used that toepntial and was great then got a bit meh . What a remake is doing is trying to capitalize on the greatness of the show. Who do they think will watch it? I mean, Buffy didn’t go off the air so long ago that new fans aren’t formed from the DVD.I classify this as the worst idea since someone suggested an American Werewolf in London remake sans Landis/Baker Reply

  • Asha

    Just reading this cast list made me shriek like the teen girl I was when I first started watching Buffy.

  • Dash

    Sounds like 2012 is going to be a regular Joss-a-palooza! Can’t wait.

    • Ajeng

      Funny you should say Joss Whedon is no Christopher Nolan when it comes to hivnag a cinematic eye. I think Nolan’s strength is in writing. His directorial style is nothing that spectacular (though Inception does have a few impressive visuals). Joss Whedon’s strength comes from writing as well, so if early viewers are saying that everything about the movie is great except the cinematic look, that’s still a thumbs up for Whedon since he’s credited as screenwriter.

    • Mehdi

      In such a comparison Battlestar Galactica would lose out, seuacbe unlike Terminator and Dollhouse, it has a plethora of superb episodes against which it’s final would have to be compared. On the other hand, if the comparison was one related to a percentage of consistency, well it would win hands down.It’s a difficult topic this one, for I feel I am painting a poor picture for Terminator and Dollhouse. Truth is, I absolutely love Terminator and think it’s the second best sci-fi series on television (taking into account that BSG is now complete).

  • David F.

    Fresley lives!

    • Michelle

      THIS. Finally, the happiness they deserve! ;)

      • Caroline

        : Roh je trouve qu’elle se de9brouille tre8s bien ! (et la premie8re oscnhan of9 elle chante seule avec des de9mons est une de mes pre9fe9re9es). @Celine : Buffy en meame temps, si tu t’es pas attache9e aux personnages, tu peux avoir du mal (vu qu’en plus, c’est un peu la force de la se9rie, ses personnages, la famille qui se cre9e9e, comme dans Firefly tiens), mais c’est vraiment un mode8le niveau sce9nario (bon ya des rate9s aussi ^^). De9je0 c’est pas comme les trucs fantastiques us qu’on voit souvent en ce moment, e7a se rapproche plus des trucs anglais avec avant tout ses personnages, et le surnaturel comme me9taphore (le lyce9e est l’enfer, la de9couverte et la maeetrise de la magie sont l’appre9hension et l’acceptation de sa sexualite9 pour Willow, etc etc). Et il y a des e9pisodes tre8s tre8s bons, parfois plus re9alistes (The Body est parfait, sans doute l’e9pisode qui traite le mieux de la mort parmi toutes les se9ries, Hush ou Once More With Feeling ont le meame the8me de la communication rompue avec deux me9dias diffe9rents pour la re9tablir, etc). Bon j’arreate le0 ^^

  • Flyer

    I would not rush to assume that Acker & Denisoff play Benedict & Beatrice because they “share top billing.” They may very well play those roles, but their names are the first two names, alphabetically, of the A-cast (with the B-cast also listed alphabetically afterwards). Having their names on top like that may just be a formatting choice.

    • znachki

      As it turns out however, they do.

  • Miss Dragon

    Does Whedon ever sleep?!

  • echo

    This is something I’d actually love to see. Glad Amy Acker appears to be the lead!

  • Albert

    I seriously doubt that this version of “Much Ado” will be anywhere near as good as Kenneth Branagh’s 1993 one.

    • strickens girl

      The Branagh version is very good but not without it’s faults. Keanu Reeves and Densel Washington were terribly miscast and some of the shots are less than stellar. Thompson and Branagh really do make the film outstanding and Michael Keeton as Dogberry was brilliant. I honestly can not wait to see what Joss brings to the table with this one.

      • Chris

        What are you saying? Are you implying that Keanu Reeves is not a good actor?

      • S.

        LOL Chris.

        I’m a big Kenneth Branagh fan, but his version was not memorable or definitive. Now if someone tried to make a new version of Henry V, I would be more skeptical.

      • Literature Girl

        Oh god, Keanu was so bad in that! xD But that’s part of the fun I suppose.

        I just laugh now every time I see Robert Sean Leonard riding in on the horse at the beginning <3 House ruined that for me. Even if I really hate Claudio as a character anyway. *doesn't like any of Shakespeare's wimpy romance characters*

  • Ronald Bradley

    Whilst there is no doubt Joss Whendon is a highly creative individual, capable of generating fantastic drama and humour when he sets his mind to it, he is also nowhere near the level of “genius” that others label him. No genius would ahve tried to pass off something as dreadful as Season 6 of Buffy, then blame the fans for his shortcomings. No geius would have created not one but two shows that bear the distinction of being the only shows i’ve never had an emotional reaction to (as in, I neither hate nor love Firefly or Dollhouse, they did not illicit any emotional reaction from me). No genius would allow himself to champion himself as the great subvertor of cliche then be resposnible for the most visible examples of one of the worst cliches and in the creation of his work create his own inescapable cliches (to the point where my friends and i upon hearing that Joss was doing the Avengers movie all instantly reacted with “well, someone’s getting killed off!”. As for this project, it has a talented cast and a director who can, when he puts his over-rated ego on hold, create moments of magic but if his ego is in play, this will be bad.

    • Ronald Bradley

      And just to correct my own typo that is of course Joss Whedon, not Whendon.

      • Ironypolice

        Gotta love it when a poster comes back to correct a single typo in a post full of them. Hee hee.

  • chris

    Tom Lenk was on Angel too :)

    • soz

      Really?

      • Sean

        Truly.

      • Rokan

        Yes, it’s very cool, but that’s very normal and saradntd at Comic-Con. I always wonder who will come out first, and how far into the session, and if we will be able to hear them speak much. It’s also common to have surprise guests, and that’s always fun.

    • Channing

      Yeah, Andrew had two fifth-season appearances.

  • Judy

    Season 6 Buffy brought us the musical “Once More With Feeling” which WAS brilliant. also Tabla Russa and others that if gone back to look at today, instead of the initial reaction from some of, Oh that wasn’t a good year, would most likely be surprised at how Good they were.

    • KFM

      One More With Feeling is the only Buffy episode I skip when I rewatch the series. It’s just embarrassing. Never understood where the “genius” came from, except the technical genius required to score all that music by yourself.

    • Kay

      Actually, season 6 is my favorite!

    • S.

      Season 6 is underrated for sure and I could watch Once More With Feeling over and over again. The only reason I can think that someone wouldn’t like it is if they just don’t like musical theater in general.

  • DocRules

    With Amy and Alexis as Benedict and Beatrice (if that is correct), I can only hope that Beatrice will ask Benedict why she can’t stay.

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