Director Joss Whedon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame just wrapped his latest movie… And it isn’t The Avengers. Instead, Joss has finished principal filming on Much Ado About Nothing, a super-secret movie loosely based on the William Shakespeare play. The movie features Whedon regulars, including Firefly’s Nathan Fillion, Amy Acker, Fran Krantz, Tom Lenk and Sean Maher. Little is known of the movie (just the picture above), but it is rumored to have been a low-cost production, similar to his web series Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. News of this top secret movie was leaked via Twitter, of all places. Actor Fillion tweeted that “Oh, it’s real. Very. Very. Real. muchadothemovie.com.” That site reads, “Bellwether Pictures is proud to announce the completion of principal photography” and says the project is “a film by Joss Whedon based on a play.” Costume designer Shawna Trpcic shared the below photo of her and Fillion on the set, and tweeted that “Joss Whedon & Shakespeare: two great tastes that taste great together?”
The production was also confirmed by actor Sean Maher, who tweeted “Surprise! We just wrapped today… ” and “I promise you it’s the real deal and we’re VERY excited about it!”
The Wrap confirmed with their sources that “Joss Whedon has directed, adapted, cast and filmed an entire movie — an adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” — in secret, TheWrap has learned.”
Despite being well-known for his mastery of geekdom, Whedon is in fact a major Shakespeare fanboy. At a recent roundtable to discuss his role in Whedon’s Marvel teamup The Avengers, Tom Hiddleston was asked to compare Whedon with Kenneth Branaugh, his director on the first Thor film and a major Shakespearean theater actor.
“The thing about the two of them is that they actually share more than you might first imagine,” Hiddleston said. “Weirdly. Joss is a huge Shakespeare buff and Kenneth is a sort of closet comic book fanboy.”
UPDATE — the Official Press Release below:
Bellwether Pictures proudly announces the completion of principal photography on MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, a modern version of Shakespeare’s classic comedy adapted and directed by Joss Whedon (Marvel’s upcoming THE AVENGERS, “Dr.Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”). 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.
Shot in glorious black and white by Jay Hunter (PAPER HEART, “Dollhouse”), the film stars Amy Acker (CABIN IN THE WOODS, “Alias”) and Alexis Denisof (“How I Met Your Mother,” “Angel”) as Beatrice and Benedick, the world’s least likely lovers headed for their inevitable tumble into love. As Joss Whedon puts it: “The text is to me a deconstruction of the idea of love, which is ironic, since the entire production is a love letter – to the text, to the cast, even to the house it’s shot in.” The supporting cast includes Nathan Fillion (“Castle,” WAITRESS) as Dogberry, Clark Gregg (AVENGERS, IRON MAN) as Leonato, Fran Kranz (CABIN IN THE WOODS, “Dollhouse”) as Claudio and Reed Diamond (“Franklin & Bash,” MONEYBALL) as Don Pedro.
The film was produced by Whedon, line-produced by Nathan Kelly and M. Elizabeth Hughes, and co-produced by Kai Cole and Danny Kaminsky. The super-impressive cast is listed below. Full tech credits (for the extraordinary crew) will be up shortly. The film should be completed by early spring and headed for the festival circuit, because it is fancy.
Amy Acker – Beatrice
Alexis Denisof – Benedick
Nathan Fillion – Dogberry
Clark Gregg – Leonato
Reed Diamond – Don Pedro
Fran Kranz – Claudio
Sean Maher – Don John
Spencer 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