[Click on the poster to see it in hi-res]
Joss Whedon isn’t a man who likes to take things easy.
After filming a blockbusting, game-changing superhero epic that smashed box-office records and became the third highest grossing movie ever - we’re talking about Avengers Assemble - you’d probably agree that he’d be entitled to a break.
But, instead of using the downtime between the shoot and post-production to take a vacation, Whedon instead assembled a top-notch cast of his most frequent colloborators from - Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, The Cabin In The Woods - and holed up in his California home to make a sharp, stylish adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s most famous comedies.
Lensed in crisp monochrome, the film retains Shakespeare’s dialogue, but don’t be disheartened if you skipped English lit classes at school – the distinctly drawn characters, single sun-dappled location, clear visuals and contemporary setting make it a breeze to keep up with. A lover of Shakespeare’s original? Fear not, as the respectful adap discards none of the spirit of the play, retaining the humour and the heartbreak.
Whedonites’ll get a kick out of the spot-the-regular casting (check out our handy Cheat-Sheet below), but those less familiar with his back-catalogue will be thankful that the characters fit their roles like gloves, negating any claims of nepotism. Multi-talent Whedon (who produces with his wife Kai Cole) also crafted the movie’s score, and the homemade vibe that runs throughout leaves the film humming with energy and vibrancy.
So what do you need to know? Central to the film/play is the ‘merry war’ of wits and words between would-be lovers Beatrice (Amy Acker – Angel, Dollhouse, The Cabin In The Woods) and Benedick (Alexis Denisof – Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse, Avengers Assemble), a pair who’d be head-over-heels in love with each other if they could only stop bickering.
Meanwhile, young lovers Claudio (Fran Kranz) and Hero (Jillian Morgese) set about arranging their marriage, which will unite the houses of Don Pedro (Reed Diamond) and Leonato (Clark Gregg). It’ll be prove to be an eventful week of wedding planning though, as twin conspiracies emerge, one playful, one devious...
On the lighter, screwball-esque side, Don Pedro plots to get Beatrice and Benedick together, as Don Pedro’s unscrupulous younger brother Don John schemes to wreck the impending nuptials of Claudio and Hero.
Shakespeare newbies should find themselves pleasantly surprised at the sparkling dialogue and big belly laughs, as well as the movie-friendliness of the story (it’s as if Shakespeare devised the ingredients for a modern romcom several centuries before cinema came about).
Much Ado About Nothing opens in the UK on 14 June 2013, but we’re offering you the chance to see the film at a special screening in London on 6 June 2013.
Popcorn, refreshments, and a free Joss Whedon movie before it’s in cinemas: what more could a film fan want?
For a chance of winning a pair of tickets, head on over to our competition page now. Competition closes 2 June 2013.
Much Ado About Nothing Cast Cheat-Sheet: Working With Whedon
Amy Acker (Beatrice): Angel, Dollhouse, The Cabin In The Woods
Alexis Denisof (Benedick): Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse, Avengers Assemble
Nathan Fillion (Dogberry): Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Serenity, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
Fran Kranz (Claudio): Dollhouse, The Cabin In The Woods
Clark Gregg (Leonato): Avengers Assemble, Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Sean Maher (Don John): Firefly, Serenity
Reed Diamond (Don Pedro): Dollhouse
Ashley Johnson (Margaret): Dollhouse, Avengers Assemble
Tom Lenk (Verges): Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, The Cabin In The Woods
Romy Rosemont (The Sexton): Avengers Assemble
Stacy Shirk (Servant): Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
Jillian Morgese (Hero): Newcomer Morgese was spotted by Whedon when she appeared as an extra in Avengers Assemble, and he offered her an audition for one of Much Ado’s lead roles.
Source: Total Film Competitions
Are you keen to see Joss Whedon’s take on a classic play? Drop us a line below…