By Molly Freeman
Photo courtesy of @MuchAdoFilm.
If you aren’t already excited about Joss Whedon’s modern adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, then I don’t want to know you! Just kidding. But like seriously, Joss directed the third top grossing film of all time (Marvel’s The Avengers, in case you forgot). Plus he’s led a cult of die-hard fans since at least the mid-’90s with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Did you know he also co-wrote Toy Story and Atlantis: The Lost Empire? Because I did not, while apparently I’ve been a fan of Joss Whedon since early childhood and I never knew it.
Getting back to his new work, the first teaser trailer for Much Ado About Nothing was released on Thursday, March 7 and the internet went berserk. The immense traffic to Whedon fan website, WHEDONesque, crashed the site, and the trailer was posted on all sorts of news sites from NPR to the Huffington Post to USA Today. For a movie that was shot in 12 days at Whedon’s house and stars a group of his friends, Much Ado is getting a lot of attention. It seems like everyone is excited. I’m certainly excited. But are you excited? If not—or even if you are and you can’t get enough about Much Ado—here are some reasons you should be.
Bus Ado About Nothing
On March 7, some of the cast and crew of Much Ado hopped on a bus to travel from LA to Austin, TX for the South by Southwest festival where the film was screened. Joss posted about it on WHEDONesque and has been tweeting about it at @MuchAdoFilm. Everyone on the bus tweeted pictures and videos from their trip and things got a bit weird at times. (Like bird-mask-and-wolf-mask weird.) All the hilarious—and, at times, scary—updates were fantastic and a fun use of social media to promote Much Ado after the release of the trailer. If you missed any of the action (and by “action” I mean “silly updates of celebrities going stir-crazy,”) check out the Buzzfeed article and Storify about the “wonderfully weird” bus ride.
Creeping On Joss’s House
If you’re one of those people that watched every episode of MTV Cribs, or just waited until your favorite celebs were hosting, in order to see how the other half lives, this movie might be fun for you because it’s shot entirely in Joss Whedon’s home. It makes sense, as Fran Kranz pointed out in an interview with the Huffington Post last year, since Joss knows the set intimately.
Plus I guess reenacting Shakespeare is a normal thing in the Whedon house on days that end in ‘y:’
“He likes to have people over and do Shakespeare readings. He and his wife are constantly hosting. You go to his house and there are always people there,” Kranz told HuffPo. “I would never be comfortable with having a movie shot at my house but he embraces it.”
So if you have a nagging desire to see what Joss’s home looks like (if there are life size versions of the Avengers for instance), you should go see Much Ado.
No Superheroes In Sight
Speaking of The Avengers, since Joss Whedon signed a contract to work with Marvel exclusively for three years, this might be the last non-Marvel Joss production in a while. Of course, I’m happy that Joss signed his contract with Marvel.
The Avengers was one of my favorite movies of 2012; it was only beat out by Joss himself with The Cabin In The Woods. Even though I’m sure everything Joss does for Marvel over the next three years will be as great or even better than The Avengers, I will miss his original projects (and Shakespearean adaptations) while he fulfills his contract. Much Ado is our last chance—for a while—to see Joss’s mind work in a separate world from comic book villains and superheroes.
Okay so maybe I’ve been speaking exclusively to Joss Whedon fans during most of this list, but being a Whedonite isn’t a requirement to enjoy Much Ado. As Chris Schobert of IndieWire points out: “The result is an utter joy, Whedon’s most emotionally resonant and fully realized feature film to date. And I say that as one who is not a devoted member of the Whedon army.”
Much Ado is also for fans of movies and Shakespeare. Catherine Shoard of The Guardian called the film “the first great contemporary Shakespeare since Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet.” (Of course the Baz Luhrmann connection was made, but hey, who didn’t love Leo DiCaprio and Clare Danes in the titular roles?) Amidst all the crazy Joss fans (of which I count myself) is a quality movie that is loved by both die-hard Whedonites and casual observers alike.
All Our Favorites from the Joss & Friends Gang
But let’s be honest, it’s going to be really, really cool to see Captain Mal and Wesley the Watcher in the same movie. Since Much Ado is the result of Joss and his friends getting together and reenacting some Shakespeare, it makes sense that many of the Much Ado cast members are from other Whedon projects. Among the recognizable names are: Amy Ackler, Alexis Denisof, and Tom Lenk (who you’ll recognize from Buffy and Angel); Nathan Fillion and Sean Maher from Firefly; and both Fran Kranz and Reed Diamond from Dollhouse.
There’s also Clark Gregg (Agent Phil Coulson from The Avengers) who stars as Leonato, a part that Anthony Stewart Head had intended to play but could not due to scheduling conflicts. Many of these names have appeared in more than one Whedon project, which is why I imagine that acting in a Joss Whedon movie/show/webshow is like being inducted into the coolest club in Hollywood. Seeing many of our favorite characters from other projects Joss has worked on is a big draw for many Whedonites; it will be like some sort of bizarre reunion!
Any reasons you’re excited for Much Ado that I missed? Let me know in the comments! Or we can just chat about how many days are left until the June 7th premiere date (67) and how we’ll be spending that time (planning our own Shakespeare themed dinner parties.)
This post originally appeared in Molly’s personal blog, The Rock-It Show on March 12.