Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing Panel at WonderCon 2013
Joss Whedon’s adaption of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing is due to hit theater screens on June 7, 2013. The film boasts an all-star cast full of faces and names that will be familiar to anyone who is a fan of any of Whedon’s previous other work. It was shot in black-and-white in just 12 days at Whedon’s home and is being described as a contemporary spin on Shakespeare’s classic comedy.
At this past weekend’s WonderCon 2013, die-hard fans waited in line for hours (reportedly some even waited overnight), for the chance to witness a panel featuring Whedon himself, along with what looked like nearly the entire cast of the film. Fans were treated to a few clips from the movie, as well as a Q&A session from the cast and creator.
Here are a few things from the panel.
Nathan Fillion couldn’t make it, but apparently that was a good thing. Whedon took the stage before the trailer for the film was show, saying that he had been given the task of letting everyone know that star Nathan Fillion would be unable to make it due to a “hideous facial disease” that was so bad that Whedon said “you’re glad he’s not here.”
Making the film in such a short time was possible because of the great cast. Whedon spoke about what made him take on such a challenging project by shooting the film in such a short period of time and he said he would never have thought of doing it at all without his cast. He knew that he had people who could get things done in the time he needed it. “If you don’t have that confidence, then you don’t need to try.” Whedon said.
Riki Lindhone thought it was a prank when he got the email from Whedon offering him the role. Lindhone, who plays Watchman #1 in the film, said that he was surprised when he got an email from Whedon offering him a role in the film. He joked that either he must have accidentally gotten some blackmail material on the director, or that the whole thing was a prank.
Clark Gregg thought Whedon was having a nervous breakdown. Much like Lindhone, Gregg too was surprised when he found out that Whedon was making the film. As far as he knew, Whedon was supposed to be locked away editing the Avengers, not making a new film. “My first thought was, ‘oh this is sad, he’s having a nervous breakdown. He thinks he’s making a movie at his house.'” Gregg was pleasantly surprised to find that he was wrong.
Sean Maher couldn’t keep his potty mouth to himself. When asked to talk about his character in the film, Maher noticed that the card on the table in front of him said to be careful of language due to younger audience members. He promised to keep his potty mouth to himself and then immediately went on to describe his character as a “devious bastard villain,” and apologized for breaking his promise so soon. He too got an email from Whedon offering him the role. The exact message read: “I need a sexy villain. What say you?” Maher was terrified that he’d never done Shakespeare but took a leap of faith and went for it.
Jillian Morgese got her role after auditioning on Skype. Continuing the tradition of getting a role in Much Ado in an usual way, Morgese, who plays Hero, said she met Joss while working as a background actor in Avengers. Then, through a series of various events, she soon found herself auditioning for the role by doing a Shakespeare monologue on Skype. She immediately got the part.
Romy Rosemont thought she was being offered a role in a porn film…..sort of. When asked how she got the role, Rosemont said she too also got a text from Whedon, joking that all she saw at first in his long text was the word “Sexton” (she plays the Sexton in the film) and thought that it sounded like porn. Upon closer inspection she saw three things: Sexton, Much Ado About Nothing and Joss Whedon. At that point her immediate response was “yes.”
Whedon was ready to take on the film as soon as he realized it was dark and full of pain. Whedon admitted that he was hesitant to make the film until his wife pointed out to him that they had everything they needed in place, a location and crew, to get it done quickly. She also encouraged him to look at the play again, which he did. It was then he realized, “Oh! This is dark and full of pain.” That’s when he knew he could make it. He was also quick to point out that the film is very modern and accessible for all audiences and that it has a lot of romantic love in it.
The film is hilariously funny. The audience was treated to two fairly long clips from the film. One featuring stars Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker and the second featuring Nathan Fillion. Both proved that the movie is hilarious, judging by the amount of laughs they brought on from the audience. Watching Fillion stomp around spouting Shakespeare, calling himself an ass, and attempting to put on a jacket at least two sizes too small for him is worth the ticket price alone.
Whedon would love to take on the story of Hamlet, but it won’t necessarily be his next project. Asked about the rumors that he would be making an adaptation of Hamlet, Whedon said that he was interested in the story, but it might not be the next project he does. He said that he was interested in working with the same group that he used for Much Ado and do something new and very different. “Truthfully, if it could be with these guys, I honestly would care what it is,” Whedon said, eliciting an “awww” from the audience.
Apparently the filming experience was one big party. When asked what it was like to film the movie, everyone on stage agreed that it was basically one big party all the time. A lot of the film is set during a party and many times the extras (who were apparently all friends of the cast and crew) would continue partying even when they weren’t on screen. The partying even continued a few weeks ago when the entire group took a two-day bus trip to SXSW together.
What do you think now that you’ve heard more about the making of Much Ado About Nothing from its cast and Joss Whedon? Are you planning on checking it out when it finally makes its way into theaters?