Sunday at WonderCon brought a panel for “Much Ado About Nothing,” the black and white modern take on Shakespeare’s play, directed by Joss Whedon. Appearing with Whedon were several members of the cast, and a couple key crew members.
The movie was Whedon’s “vacation” after he finished filming “The Avengers.” He kept it a secret until finished, filming the whole thing at his house over a 12-day period. For Whedon fans, the cast brings together favorites from just about all of his projects, from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” to “Firefly,” with nearly his entire body of work represented.
The Q&A started off with everyone explaining how, exactly, they got involved with movie. Nearly everyone on stage has the same story: “I got an email from Joss around two in the morning.” This being a much smaller production, Whedon relied on personally reaching out to people he’s worked with, and people he wanted to work with, to fill out his cast and crew. Everyone shared the sentiment of saying yes almost immediately, just because it was Joss.
Clark Gregg, who plays Leonato in the movie, was surprised he received any email at all, as he assumed Whedon would be locked up in an editing room, piecing together “The Avengers.” When asked about his reaction, Gregg joked, “Oh this is sad, he’s having a nervous breakdown,” continuing, “He thinks he’s making a movie in his house.” Of course, once he got over the surprise, he was quick to agree. “I was clear it was going to be difficult for him to kill me off,” he said in reference to his role as Agent Coulson in “Avengers.”
Whedon first got the idea to do a version of “Much Ado” after a series of Shakespeare readings in his backyard. It was ten years ago when Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker read the roles they would go on to play in the movie. It was his wife, Kai Cole, who convinced Joss to finally make the idea a reality.
When asked what Shakespeare play he would like to direct next, Whedon immediately suggested “Hamlet,” but said he has other ideas first. “I’d like to take this exact cast and do something completely different,” he says. He doesn’t quite know what that is so far, or at least he’s not sharing yet, but says “If I could do it with these guys, it wouldn’t matter what it is.”
“Much Ado About Nothing” is scheduled for theaters June 7.