When Joss Whedon was supposed to be on holiday after directing Avengers Assemble, he decided to spend it making an entirely different movie: Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, starring his Angel, Buffy and Dollhouse chums including Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker, Fran Kranz and Nathan Fillion.
For Wesley and Fred fans it’s a chance to see the doomed lovers finally get a happy ending (in a sense), a fact that initially escaped actors Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker who play Benedick and Beatrice. “We forgot completely!” says Denisof when SciFiNow caught up with the pair recently.
“Since Angel finished, weâ€™ve hung out and our friendships have continued and Much Ado was part of that, so in our lives weâ€™re still seeing each other. But one of us realized that for the viewer it went Wesley-Fred, Beatrice-Benedick. Itâ€™s very cool, they finally get the happy ending they deserve.”
In the Angel finale ‘Not Fade Away’, Wesley’s final moments where he asks Illyria to transform into Fred as he died in her arms was one of the most heart-wrenching, standout scenes of the entire show. “Well, you know Joss [Whedon],” smiles Denisof, “he either kills you or breaks you up, itâ€™s always a good sign.”
“We got both!” laughs Amy Acker. “Thereâ€™s a special collaboration that Joss, Alexis and I have and we had an amazing time working together on Angel and even the series finale, Joss came; he didnâ€™t write the episode but he wrote that one scene when Wesley dies and came and directed that one scene for that day. It was really special and [our time as Wesley and Fred] definitely informed this, even though we went into Much Ado thinking about these people – Beatrice and Benedick, and the story weâ€™re telling here – none of it would have been possible had we not had the experience we had on Angel.”
In Much Ado About Nothing, Angel fans will get to see a markedly lighter side to the duo, who tackled some pretty dark territory in the latter seasons of the show. Beatrice is prone to falling down stairs and her wicked tongue is more than a match for Benedick’s razor sharp wit.
Some of Denisof’s favourite moments on Angel were where he got to flex his comedic muscles, “I canâ€™t believe what Wesley went through in that show, you could cast four or five actors to play each part of it” he says.
“I remember when we came to Spin The Bottle (S4E06), Joss wrote that just because he missed the old goofy days of early Fred and early Wesley because weâ€™d been in a dark place for so long he intentionally wanted to have a moment of sheer silliness and fun before plunging down again.
“In that sense, itâ€™s very reminiscent of Shakespeare so itâ€™s no surprise that heâ€™s come to do a Shakespeare play.”
Much Ado About Nothing is out in cinemas now. You can get Angel Season 1-5 on DVD for Â£37.30 on Amazon.co.uk.