Having worked with Buffy The Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon a number of times in the last decade, at first on his short-lived TV series Dollhouse, then super-smart horror satire The Cabin In The Woods and finally on his recent Shakespearean redux Much Ado About Nothing, the latter bringing him into contact with Whedon collaborators as diverse as Avengers Assemble‘s Clark Gregg and Firefly‘s Nathan Fillion, Fran Kranz is uniquelly positioned to talk about the ties that bind the ‘Whedon family’.
“I’ve said it before, but when I meet someone who’s worked with Joss I sort of assume I’m going to like them, you know?” says Kranz.
“It’s hard to label the kind of person, but, you know, they’re all actors’ actors, they’re all people who are really passionate about the craft or the pursuit of it all or doing great work. You’re not working with the kind of people who are in it for the wrong reasons, that’s nice – that’s always refreshing. To be honest, Joss is so smart and funny he’s going to attract smart and funny people. They’re all very nice – there’s a sweetness and a wholesomeness to the people that he works with. I’m not going to say ‘different’, but it is what it is – we get together, we all like each other, we hang out in a tight group.
“To use a word like ‘family’ would be called for. He’s got a loyal following and fans and employees, and we all kinda love it each other. That starts at the top, that’s a credit to him and a testament to what a good guy he is. I like ’em all, I want to work with them on everything I do. I like all those actors, if you go to a convention and meet up it’s always nice to meet these guys out of the typical work context and have a good time with them.”
While there’s nothing remotely sci-fi about Whedon’s William Shakespeare adaptation Much Ado About Nothing, it was produced cocurrently to Avengers Assemble, and you’d have expected the Marvel mega team-up to have altered his style as a director.
“I wouldn’t say that, you’d never believe the director of Avengers was the director of Much Ado About Nothing,” counters Fran Kranz. “His versatility is more noticeable now than perhaps it’s ever been. Maybe it’s in reverse and indirectly working on such a giant production gave him the sort of motivation and ability to work on such a tiny, precise production, such an intimate production, and perhaps a little unusual based on other Shakespeare movies.
“It might have been a departure just as a healing process, I imagine making Avengers must have been extraordinarily stressful and Much Ado About Nothing was the opposite – it was a party, it was fun. Perhaps that’s what motivated it, I know Joss had this little vacation that was originally going to be a vacation with his family, and instead the guy’s relentless and decided to make a movie. I couldn’t tell you what he’s thinking, but I think to have those two films in his pocket is extraordinary, it’s remarkable, endlessly impressive – that might have been the goal, also. ‘I’m gonna do the biggest, I’m gonna do the smallest and I’m gonna do them both really well.'”