Much Ado About Joss Whedon: director talks to STV at Glasgow Film Festival

The writer-director of billion-dollar box office blockbuster Avengers Assemble and creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon has plenty of strings to his bow – so why did he decide to take on William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing?

The 48-year-old writer, director, composer and producer has amongst a wealth of other things also co-wrote last year’s meta-horror The Cabin in the Woods, been responsible for TV shows Firefly, Angel and Dollhouse, and worked on comics including X-Men and Runaways.

Whedon is perhaps now best known to the public as writer-director of Avengers Assemble (known outside of the UK as The Avengers), which after its summer release last year went on to become the third highest-grossing film of all time.

Somehow he used the gap in between the filming of that superhero blockbuster and its subsequent post-production to invite cast and crew – including several friends and long-time collaborators – to his own home to shoot his own low-budget version of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

Speaking to STV before it showed last night for Glasgow Film Festival’s Closing Gala, where it received a great reception, Whedon explained why he decided to take on the seemingly crazy challenge, with the film shot over 12 days in Santa Monica.

“It came up right at the end of The Avengers, it was my wife’s idea,” he told us.

“We were in New York, on the last day of shooting The Avengers, and the next day I walked across the rubble we were shooting on to the book store, and picked up a copy.”

He added: “I had thought about it for a long time, but it took a little time to figure out what my take was.

“It wasn’t enough just to point a camera at some people, I had to actually have an idea about the play – and I realised that, ooh, I have some very strong ideas about it.”

Of juggling it and Avengers Assemble when others might have taken a break, Whedon said: “It was the best vacation I’ve ever taken.

“It was a delight and very soothing to shoot, and to have it to go to when I’d finished a day of editing – to edit this with Danny Kavinski, who is my assistant, was like a little zen exercise.

“It brought me back down from what was the extreme chaos of rushed post-production on the larger movies.”

Joss also talked to us about what he dropped for his version of the Shakespeare, the long process of casting some old friends and new faces, and why Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof were so perfect for the lead roles of Beatrice and Benedick – click on the video above to find out more.

  • Much Ado About Nothing is released in UK cinemas on June 14.

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