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Whedon and Shakespeare: “Much Ado About Nothing”

Leave it to Joss Whedon to get me to watch Shakespeare.

Much Ado About Nothing,” to be released this summer, is a contemporary spin on the Shakespeare comedy about two couples with very different approaches to love and romance.

Set in modern times, filmed in black and white, and all dialog taken directly from the original text, this retelling definitely has it’s own style and I really liked it. The tone, the acting, the cinematography, it was just … cool.

Filmed in just 12 days (while Whedon was filming “The Avengers”), “Much Ado” somehow makes Shakespeare’s prose feel modern. At first, the actors sound like they’re speaking a foreign language but through their delivery and actions you can still understand what they mean. And by the end even the words start to make sense.

Whedon fans will recognize a lot of the faces here. Most of the lead characters have worked on his other films and tv series: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel,” “Dollhouse,” “Firefly,” “Cabin in the Woods,” and “The Avengers.”

much ado amy ackerling alexis joss whedonAmy Acker and Alexis Denisof star as Beatrice and Benedick, a couple desperately in love with each other but is not willing to let the other know that. Jillian Morgese and Fran Kranz are the other couple, Hero and Claudio. They’re young and it was love at first sight.

Benedick and Claudio are both in the entourage of Prince Don Pedro (Reed Diamond). He plays cupid to bring the happy couples together while his brother Don John (Sean Maher) works to tear them apart. Clark Gregg is Leonato, Hero’s father and Beatrice’s uncle. And Nathan Fillion plays chief of police Dogberry, and acts primarily as the jester.

Now, I may be a bit biased, but I really enjoyed this movie, much more than I expected too. I went to this movie for three reasons: (in this order) Agent Coulson, Captain Mal, and Joss Whedon. I expected to get lost in the dialog and get bored cause I’d have no idea what was going on.

That never happened.

Even if you don’t understand the words, the intent is still clear and you can easily follow the story. Whedon does a terrific job adapting the original play for our world and the actors are perfectly cast.<

This stylized retelling is unique and if you’re up for trying new things, or you just love Joss Whedon, it’s definitely for you. “Much Ado About Nothing” is a modern Shakespeare mash-up and a fun time.

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Discussion

6 thoughts on “Whedon and Shakespeare: “Much Ado About Nothing”

  1. I’m looking forward to watching this. I like that they kept the Shakespearean dialogue, but didn’t try to do faux-British accents.

    Posted by L. Palmer | March 22, 2013, 3:19 pm

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