Last night Nathan Fillion, Sean Maher and costume designer Shawna Trpcic all tweeted links to MuchAdoTheMovie.com. There, the curious found a picture of a man in a snorkeling mask standing neck deep in a lake holding a martini glass above the water. At the top of the page was the announcement “Bellwether Pictures is proud to announce the completion of principal photography” while at the bottom of the page it simply states “A film by Joss Whedon based on a play.”
In Whedon’s typical style, the writer/director was announcing that his new, and up until this moment completely unsuspected, project was an adaption of the Shakespeare comedy Much Ado About Nothing. And that he had already finished filming it.
In a press release issued today, Whedon explained how the project was a low budget effort filmed quickly.
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.
Shot is in black and white in just 12 days, the film has no distributor yet.
For fans of Whedon’s work, the cast list reads like a who’s who of his previous collaborators. Heading off the list is Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof, both whom should be familiar to fans of Whedon’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer and its spinoff series Angel. Other names include Fillion, who starred in Whedon’s Firefly television series and its film spin-off Serenity, and Maher, who had appeared in both of those projects as well, Clark Gregg (The Avengers), Tom Lenk (Buffy) and Fran Kranz (The Whedon produced Cabin in the Woods).
The play concerns the quarelling Beatrice (Acker) and Benedick (Denisof) who over the course of the piece invariably fall in love. Fillion is Dogberry, Gregg is Leonato and Kranz is Claudio.
It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that Whedon has chosen to tackle a Shakespeare play. The musical episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, “Once More With Feeling,” actually sprang from a Shakespeare reading Whedon held at his house with many Buffy cast members, so we know that he has an affinity for the Bard. And Much Ado is noted for its word play, puns and banter, something that could be said for much of Whedon’s writing as well.
Now, if someone could just explain to me how the picture on the website relates to Shakespeare’s story.