As I am a writer of a movie blog, I’ve been keeping tabs on movies, so as can be imagined from The Avengers shattering box office records, I was reading about the entertainment titian today and found out the news that director Joss Whedon (if you’ve been living in a box for the last ten years and never heard of him, Whedon is known not only for directing the Avengers but also for shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Doll House, and Fire Fly) is now working on a smaller scale film adaptation of Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing.
Here is a little personal information. I am an English major. I am actually about to start working on my PhD in English literature. In high school I use to memorize Shakespeare for fun (yeah, I didn’t have many friends then 🙂 ). Much Ado About nothing is my favorite Shakespearian play ever since I read it when I was 15. So of course, when I found out Whedon is getting in touch to his Bard side, I had a very emotional response. I tried to find everything I could. Sadly, I assume because it’s still early in production, I couldn’t find out very much, but here is what I do know.
The film will be completely black and white. Also interestingly, Whedon did all his filming for Much Ado About Nothing at his small home in Santa Monica. I desperately tried to find the cast, but all I know is that the film features the actors such as Nathan Fillion, Alexis Denisof, Clark Gregg and Fran Kranz.
Now, I am a pretty big Joss Whedon fan. I’ve seen every Buffy episode. Loved Fire Fly, and even The Doll House. I think I know every song from Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog by heart. However, I am somewhat skeptical about Whedon doing Shakespeare. Maybe this is just because he’s working with my personal favorite play by the Bard, but I think my concerns are legitimate considering that including The Avengers, pretty much everything Whedon has done is full of monsters and heroes and action. But despite this little kernel of fear, I do have some hope that he will do justice for a play so near to my heart. This is simply because underneath all the monsters and CG and action, everything Whedon has ever directed has tones of female empowerment. There is a reason the Slayer was a female. And Much Ado About Nothing is all about female empowerment. I know, hard to believe that something feminist could ever come from the same writer who created The Taming of the Shrew, but, anyway… The reason I love Much Ado About Nothing so much is the fiery character of Beatrice who is so determined to not have a husband. She detests the character Benedict. They have spars of whit that are incomparable. And since Whedon is so good at creating strong female leads, I am hopeful that his Beatrice will be a tour de force rather than a damsel in distress.
Of course, there have been other film adaptations of Much Ado About Nothing. Kenneth Branaugh gave it a shot in 1993. He played Benedict and gave the role of Beatrice to his wife Emma Thompson. While Branaugh pretty much defecated on Frankenstein (another one of my favorite pieces of literature) this choice was genius. Right now, Emma Thompson is Beatrice for me. While I have faith in Whedon, I think he’ll have a hard time finding a better actress for his heroine. But I love being pleasantly surprised. Of course, Branaugh also made a horrible casting decision when he gave Keanu Reeves the role of the villain. Actors like Keanu Reeves just don’t belong in Shakespeare. And I think putting him next to great actors like Thompson and Denzel Washington was exceedingly cruel. It makes it painfully obvious just how much Reeves has no acting ability.
So now I am eagerly awaiting Whedon’s latest film endeavor. Just please, please don’t be an idiot and cast Keanu Reeves. Once was more than enough.