Joss Whedon’s Shakespeare readings at his house with Buffy and Angel cast members have become legendary among fans and his latest movie Much Ado About Nothing was born out of one of those occasions. After completing work on Avengers Assemble, he invited his friends Amy Acker (Fred) and Alexis Denisof (Wesley) to star in his adaptation of the famous Shakespeare play.
The whole film was shot in just 12 days and the set was Whedon’s actual home. If you want to know what attending one of those Shakespeare readings was like, this is your chance says Amy Acker, speaking exclusively to SciFiNow: “Hanging out at Joss’ house kind of has that sense of watching Much Ado, you have an energy and a smile,” she tells us. “If Joss asks you to do something, like go to dinner or be on a TV show, the answer should always be yes because it’s always going to be a good time with good people.”
The master playwright has had a clear influence over Whedon’s drama and unique way with words, even the blue demon goddess Illyria was named after the setting of Twelfth Night and Acker’s first audition was a scene inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream. “Yeah, the first time I met Amy was in the context of a Shakespeare scene,” recalls actor Alexis Denisof, who played Fred’s eventual love interest Wesley.
“It wasn’t exactly Shakespeare’s words; Joss just wrote it in iambic pentameter because he can, I think there were even rhyming couplets,” he says. “The scene was J August Richards (Gunn) and myself fighting for the affections of this new character Fred, and that became a theme in the series but it also came full circle with the Shakespeare connection on this movie.”
For Fred and Wesley fans, this is there chance to see a happy ending (in a way), but non-Whedon fans will get a kick out of this movie too, says Amy Acker. “I think you see Joss all over the movie, but if you weren’t maybe into the sci-fi, Buffy/Angel kind of stuff because you thought that wasn’t your kind of thing, I feel like this is a chance to see how funny and witty and creative and all those amazing qualities Joss has as a director, and even as a writer, because he chose to do this script. You see all of that through Shakespeare’s words.
“It may introduce people who weren’t Shakespeare fans to Shakespeare, and it might draw people who thought they wouldn’t like that Joss Whedon-y stuff to him because so much of him is in the movie.”
Much Ado About Nothing is out in cinemas now. You can get Angel Season 1-5 on DVD for £37.30 on Amazon.co.uk.