Fans of Joss Whedon are going to see a lot of familiar faces when “Much Ado About Nothing” hits theaters of June 7. The “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” creator and “The Avengers” director called upon some of his closest friends, like Nathan Fillion, Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker, to star in the Shakespeare adaptation, which was shot in only 12 days at Whedon’s Los Angeles home.
One of the newest additions to Whedon’s circle, known to fans as the “Whedonverse,” is Marvel Cinematic Universe star Clark Gregg. In a recent interview with Zap2it, Gregg explained how he ended up landing a role in “Much Ado.”
“I had dinner with him after ‘The Avengers’ and I was like, ‘Where are you going to go? I saw what you just went through. Please tell me there’s a beach with your name on it.’ And he said, ‘You know, I was going to do that, but I changed my mind and now I’m going to make a movie of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ here,” Gregg says. “He said ‘Oh, you want to be in it?’ And it worked out and a couple days later I walked in — and I’m a fan of his — and so I was like, ‘Oh my god, oh my god, there’s Alexis Denisof! There’s Nathan Fillion from ‘Firefly’ and ‘Serenity’! It was really kind of a murderer’s row of sluggers from the Whedonverse and I was very much the new kid.”
Apparently being a fan was both a blessing and a curse for Gregg, who admits that being around all those Whedon regulars “filled me with anxiety.”
“I already had a lot because I was trying to learn one of the main roles in 24 hours, but they were such a family,” he says. “It wasn’t just this overt splashy welcoming thing, it was just, ‘Hey, he’s here,’ as if I had always been there. So many things about it seemed so mad: to do it in 12 days, at his house, Shakespeare. I really was a little concerned that this was going to be Joss lost it, he just cracked up. Instead I came to think that all of it was either conscious or unconscious genius because the play is about this kind of week or two gone crazy at this guy Leonato’s house in the country with intrigue and kind of too much partying and bad decisions and it all kind of works out, and that’s very much how the movie was.”
When Gregg came on board the “Much Ado About Nothing” film, he already had a history with the play. It was one of the first stage shows he did in college, so he already had a general understanding of the material. With that said, he claims he still wasn’t quite prepared for the places Whedon was taking his modern, black-and-white adaptation of the Shakespeare comedy.
“I had forgotten how dark the intrigue is, how heavy it is and strange that this guy calls out my daughter on the altar for not being a virgin, for being involved in this scandalous love affair the night before her wedding and how he wishes her dead,” Gregg admits. “I have a daughter now, and she’s only 11, but the whole thing had a whole different impact. You realize, ‘Shakespeare, oh that’s why they’re still doing it.’ Not because anyone makes them. It’s because it’s as good as writing’s ever been, and there’s a scene that’s tremendously sexy and then one that’s really funny and then one that you never get to play.”
“Much Ado About Nothing” is due in theaters in limited release on June 7.