Slowly but surely, Joss Whedon‘s upcoming Shakespeare adaptation Much Ado About Nothing is becoming a reality! (Yes, Whedon had time between Cabin in the Woods and The Avengers to adapt The Bard. I know, I feel lazy too. Here’s the official announcement from a few months ago.) We recently learned that Much Ado will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival this September, but now the first images from the film — shot at Whedon’s home over the actors’ “vacation” time of twelve days — have found their way online! So, let’s walk you through the next great modern Shakespeare film.
Above is Nathan Fillion, who plays the constable Dogberry: According to Wikipedia, he’s “an idiot with a too-large sense of self-importance” who botches everything he tries to do. Think Captain Hammer but with an actual heart. His partner in crime is Verges, played by Tom Lenk, who you’ll remember as the weaselly but ultimately redeemed Andrew on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Get a load of that mustache, right?
I’m especially excited about who Whedon’s cast as his romantic leads Benedick and Beatrice: Alexis Denisof, whose Buffy/Angel character Wesley Wyndam-Price was one of the series’ most evolved, and Amy Acker, who is such a nuanced, tough actress that her schedule should be a lot more booked up. Fingers crossed that Much Ado will get her more work! Beside her in this photo is Jillian Morgese, an unknown who will nonetheless play one of Shakespeare’s most famously-named characters Hero.
OK, so this image isn’t exactly new: It was attached to the first press release that came out last October. But now that we know more about the movie, we can definitely appreciate Fran Kranz armed with a scuba mask and martini. He’s another actor who may not have “broken in” traditionally but is well-respected within the Whedonverse for playing the brilliant Topher Brink on Dollhouse and embodying the stereotypical horror movie stoner character — then reversing that trope — in The Cabin in the Woods.
And here is our Benedick and Beatrice again. Like I said, the movie was shot at Whedon’s Santa Monica home; he’s described it as a love letter to love itself, to the actors who did it out of respect for him rather than a paycheck, and to the house itself. Check out the whole cast here, including Firefly‘s Sean Maher and The Avengers‘ Clark Gregg. And if you haven’t already guessed, yes, it was shot in black-and-white. That’s Whedon, classy all the way through.
Photos: Bellwether Pictures