When it comes to Joss Whedon's work, I've seen Serenity, Toy Story and Alien: Resurrection. I've never seen "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", I have seen a season of "Angel" though I'm not sure how many of the episodes he wrote or had anything to do with, I've never seen an episode of "Dollhouse" and I tried to watch a little of "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" but I wasn't able to get into it.
So, when Whedon's new production company Bellwether Pictures announces he has just completed 12 days of principal photography on a modern version of Willian Shakespeare's classic comedy "Much Ado About Nothing" I'm not particularly moved. However, I love the fact he has a team of regulars he works with that truly seem interested in telling stories and are passionate about doing so to the point they do it because they love it and not for the money moves me immensely.
Last night the website MuchAdoTheMovie.com popped up boasting a film by Joss Whedon based on Shakespeare's play with a cast that included Amy Acker, Nathan Fillion, Clark Gregg, Alexis Denisof, Reed Diamond, Fran Kranz, Sean Maher, Jillian Morgese, Emma Bates, Spencer Treat Clark, Ashley Johnson, Nick Kocher, Tom Lenk, Riki Lindhome, Brian McElhaney, Paul M. Meston, Romy Rosemont and Joshua Zar.
The buzz began with a tweet from Nathan Fillion with just the website alone. I was skeptical and waited for more confirmation. Four hours later he tweets again, "Oh, it's real. Very. Very. Real." Today an official press release was made available through the site saying:
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.
I debated including the entire press release, but I think it speaks to the passion for the project plus I don't think including lines such as "exotic Santa Monica," "soon to be beloved" and "because it is fancy" would carry as much weight out of context.
As we all know, Whedon is currently working on Marvel's The Avengers, which will hit theaters on May 4, 2012 and we'll also see The Cabin in the Woods on April 13, 2012, a horror he wrote with director Drew Goddard.