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What's with the name?

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Joss Whedon Adapted A Whole Entire Much Ado About Nothing While Shooting The Avengers [UPDATED]

Some filmmakers shoot silly behind-the-scenes footage while they’re making a blockbuster movie. Joss Whedon adapted a Shakespeare play into a feature film with a bunch of old friends while shooting The Avengers and announced it by having one of said friends — Nathan Fillion — link to it in a Tweet. And that is how Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing came to exist. Guys, this kind of thing isn’t even supposed to be possible in this day and age, so Joss Whedon is a magician. Update: We have seen a press release with more details!

So, yeah — this happened. Shooting is officially complete on Whedon’s Shakespearean adaptation which features a cast led by Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof. Others appearing include Fillion, Sean Maher, Reed Diamond, Ashley Johnson, Clark Gregg (who was conveniently available), and Riki Linhome (of the musical comedy duo Garfunkel & Oates). Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy about two pairs of lovers, one sparring — Beatrice and Benedick — and one disgustingly in love with each other — Claudio and Hero. Judging by the graphic on the official site, it’s likely that Acker and Denisof are the former couple, but it’s pure speculation as to who will play the latter. Besides the cast, the only other information provided comes from Whedon’s Bellwether Pictures, stating that it is “proud to announce the completion of principal photography.”

Here is how mysterious this is: when you do a search for “Bellwether Pictures,” it comes up with sites featuring … pictures of bellwethers. (Bellwethers, besides being defined as “someone who assumes leadership,” are the sheep that lead a flock by wearing a bell around its neck. And now you know what that is!) There is no mention of Mutant Enemy Productions, which has been responsible for most of Whedon’s most famous projects. So it’s safe to say that this came out of nowhere.

It’s nice to know we can still be surprised by entire films, and it’s even more fun to know that Joss Whedon is behind it. Here is the whole poster:

It’s only 11:00 in the morning, and we’ve already learned two things: What a bellwether is, and that Joss Whedon owns Hermione Granger’s time turner.

New details:

Thanks to a Tweet I received from Ray Hill, there are a few more details to report after reading an official press release, including this full cast list:

Amy Acker – Beatrice
Alexis Denisof – Benedick
Nathan Fillion – Dogberry
Clark Gregg – Leonato
Reed Diamond – Don Pedro
Fran Kranz – Claudio
Sean Maher – Don JohnSpencer Treat Clark – Borachio
Riki Lindhome – Conrade
Ashley Johnson – Margaret
Emma Bates – Ursula
Tom Lenk – Verges
Nick Kocher – First Watchman
Brian McElhaney – Second Watchman
Joshua Zar – Leonato’s aide
Paul M. Meston – Friar Francis
Romy Rosemont – The Sexton
And introducing Jillian Morgese as Hero

From the press release:

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.

A crew list will also be provided soon, but Whedon favorite Shawna Trpcic will be doing the costumes. They are shooting for a completion date of late spring and will focus on releasing the movie through the festival circuit, “because it is fancy.”

Thanks, Ray!

(via Deadline, Splitsider)

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  • Jessica Dwyer

    Wait wait wait…Joss did a Shakespeare flick and didn’t have James Marsters in it??  The man who can do Macbeth on command?  The hell?

  • Anonymous

    All I want is for Nathan Fillion to be playing Dogberry. 

  • Anonymous

    George Lucas who? A secret Shakespeare adaptation full of Whedonites, shot WHILE making The Avengers? Joss has just secured the title of Ultimate Nerd of All Time.

  • Caravelle

    Given how out of the blue this is, do we know it isn’t a hoax ? Granted, in his next tweet Nathan Fillion says “Oh, it’s real. Very. Very. Real”. But…

  • Cait
  • Francesca M

    I’m SO IN.  Awwwww Ashley Johnson!

  • Shard Aerliss

    My initial reaction was “is JM in it?!” Guess he’s busy… or not chummy enough with Joss any more?

  • Anonymous

    This is awesome.

  • Kenneth C Pennington

    I know it seems highly inappropriate for a 40+ year old man to do this, but:


  • Shard Aerliss


    Yeah I’m too tired to be any more eloquent. Fillion was BORN to play Dogberry. Sean Maher as Don John? Dude, I love it. Beautiful casting all round. Some would call it nepotism… but does it count when all your friends are brilliant at what they do?I hear Trpcic was tweeting about it… but I don’t follow her (shush); anyone know if she mentioned she was doing costume?

    There’s a press release on the site now (wasn’t there when I looked this morning); in black and white, huh? Not sure about that…

  • Life Lessons

    Hmmmm…. I wonder how they will handle the very dated sexist nonsense of this play…..

  • Anonymous

    As a 40 year old woman – I share your response!

  • Kifre

    Ok…I’m excited!

    But I do need to put it on the record that Kenneth Branagh? Always gonna be my Benedict. <3

  • Frodo Baggins

    Not like a humorless pedant, I imagine.

  • Frodo Baggins

    Based on  Whedon’s apparent new career strategy of doing everything that Kenneth Branagh does, I’m guessing his next film will either be a remake of Sleuth or a terrible Frankenstein adaptation.

  • Laurel Noack

    David Tennant and Catherine Tate should be in there!

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • amber loranger

    there is no way this will not be awesome.

  • Anonymous

  • Shard Aerliss

    Erm, sorry, no. Tennant and Tate are doing/have done their version and while I’d like to see their Benedick and Beatrice (and I’d LOVE to see Tennant playing under Joss’ direction and/or with his lines), this is something separate. This is Whedon Alumni working their magic together once again.

  • Anonymous

  • Anonymous

  • Carissa Leigh

    BriTANicK are in it! Go Joss! First and Second Watchmen!

  • Jennifer Nanni

    I couldn’t agree more. When I first saw the trailer I was like where the heck is James? The man who is literally a walking Shakespeare playbook, and many times boasted about reading lines in his off time at Joss’s house.