I’m keeping tabs on Joss Whedon’s most recent film endeavor because he is creating a modern adaptation of my favorite Shakespearian play. Which of course makes me feel entitled to bitch slap him if he screws it up.
If you don’t know, the play of Much Ado About Nothing is about Beatrice and Benedict, two people who hate each other with a fiery passion. Their friends and family decide to make it known to each that the other loves them, and thus triggering Cupid’s trap. And then there is a side story about pretty boy Claudio wanting to marry Hero. But when he hears a rumor that she cheated on him, Claudio calls her a whore at the alter. Such a gentleman.
But anyway, I’m writing this post because finally some more information about this small scale indie movie has come to light. I know the complete cast! Hazaah!
If we all know one thing about Joss Whedon, it’s that more than any other director, he loves reusing his actors. So as would be expected, this list if full of people from his previous work.
For the immortal heroine Beatrice, Whedon chose Amy Acker. I know almost nothing about her other than what I just read on IMBD. What I found out is that Acker is from my neck of the woods: Dallas, Texas. Holla! the only acting I have seen her do was he role in Whedon’s show Dollhouse as the manipulative Dr. Claire. That one role doesn’t tell me much about her capabilities, so hopefully she feels up to the challenge of my high expectations for playing my favorite heroine of all time.
As for Benedick, Whedon went with Alexis Denisof who is best known for his role as Marshall in How I Met Your Mother. Now that I think of it, I see some similarities between the show and Shakespearian comedy. They both are farcical and full of situational irony. So maybe Denisof will be able to draw on that and pull of an awesome Benedick.
Nathan Fillion, probably the most famous name on this list wil be playing Dogberry, the hilarious comic relief. Whedon has used Fillion at every opportunity. We all know him from Firefly, but Weedon also featured him in Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog as Captain Hammer, and he was a particularly disturbing villain in Buffy the Vampire Slayer who gouged out Xander’s eye. How dust he?. Based on the range I’ve seen Fillion provide, I think he will make an awesome Dogberry, and I can’t wait to see his performance.
The role of the villain, Don John who slanders about Hero’s virtue goes to Sean Maher. Also an actor from Firefly, Maher played River’s neurotic brother, Simon. Since I haven’t seen him do any other performance (except for a short-lived appearance on Drop Dead Diva, but that doesn’t count) I don’t really know what to expect from him. Then again, considering that the last actor who played this character in a movie was Keanu Reeves, he won’t have to do much to outshine his predecessor.
Don Pedro, Don John’s brother will be played by Reed Diamond. Surprise surprise, Diamond was also on Dollhouse as Laurence Dominic, but it’s been a while since I watched the show and I don’t remember him at all. Diamond has been in many other TV shows from Bones to the Mentalist and even 24. Hopefully this time he can do a memorable performance.
The role of Claudio, the accusatory bastard, will be played by Fran Kranz, another Dollhouse veteran. In my opinion, Kranz played the best role in that show, the scientist Topher Brink. That and the fact that he’s been in both Frasier and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia wins my respect. Although I have to admit I’m not sure how he will portray Claudio, but I’m eager to find out. Kranz is a very fun actor to watch.
And for the quiet, fair Hero, Whedon selected newbie Jillian Morgese. her first acting gig to date. I don’t think Weedon would give someone a role unless they could really deliver, so I will trust his decision. Don’t abuse my trust.
I just listed the main characters, but here is the complete cast list:
Amy Acker – Beatrice
Alexis Denisof – Benedick
Nathan Fillion – Dogberry
Clark Gregg – Leonato
Reed Diamond – Don Pedro
Fran Kranz – Claudio
Sean Maher – Don John
Spencer Treat Clark – Borachio
Riki Lindhome – Conrade
Ashley Johnson – Margaret
Emma Bates – Ursula
Tom Lenk – Verges
Nick Kocher – First Watchman
Brian McElhaney – Second Watchman
Joshua Zar – Leonato’s aide
Paul M. Meston – Friar Francis
Romy Rosemont – The Sexton
And introducing Jillian Morgese as Hero