Pretty much everyone was taken aback yesterday when it was announced that Joss Whedon had completed filming an entire movie not called The Avengers. The writer-director was able to compile and shoot an adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing directly after wrapping The Avengers without a single tweet getting out. He shot the pic at his house in 12 days with a cast made up of Whedon regulars. Now that the cat’s out of the bag, Whedon and some of the cast members have opened up about the secret project (which will be black-and-white) and how they pulled it off. Hit the jump to see what they had to say and for a look at the first images from the film.
Speaking with EW, Whedon revealed that the project came out of the Shakespeare readings that he frequently has at his house, and he used the filming as his vacation:
“Well, it’s not a bit secret that I’ve done these [Shakespeare] readings before, and I always had a vague notion of shooting Much Ado. But I didn’t really have a take on it. And then, for some reason, I kinda sorta did. As we were finishing The Avengers in New York, my wife and I were planning our vacation for our 20th anniversary. And she said, ‘Let’s not take the vacation. Make a movie instead.’ I was like, ‘I’m not even sure if I can adapt the script, cast the movie, and prep it in a month.’ And she was like, ‘Well, that’s your vacation time, so you do it.’ And so I did.”
The director financed the film himself through his microbudget studio Bellwether Pictures, and he plans on taking it through the festival circuit next spring. He also revealed that the film will be black-and-white and talked a bit about what themes of the play drew him to the adaptation:
“I had trouble at first, because it had the words ‘About Nothing’ in the title. So I was like, ‘I don’t have anything to say about nothing.’ But really when I started pouring over it, I got a very strong sense of how a little bit dark and twisted it is. The movie’s in black-and-white partially because it’s kind of a noir comedy. I realized that everybody in it behaves like such a dolt — an articulate dolt, but a dolt. I fixated on this notion that our ideas of romantic love are created for us by the society around us, and then escape from that is grown-up love, is marriage, is mature love, to escape the ideals of love that we’re supposed to follow. So that clicked for me when I realized, oh, I get why it matters everybody goes through the weird machinations we go through.”
Finally, Whedon talked about how he was able to keep the project a secret:
“I asked the cast specifically and everybody involved not to say anything until we wrapped. And, you know, it all happened very, very fast. That’s how you know. When it’s something that fast, you actually have a shot. When something’s rolling around for three years, it’s harder. This film was a month from inception to production, and then 12 days to shoot. Even Nathan [Fillion] did not tweet for that long.”
“It does feel contemporary. The direction we were getting from Joss was to make it was real, especially with the language, not to be big and Shakespearian, but to bring it in and be intimate and bring it as close to a realistic way of speaking as we could. And Joss’ house is just magnificent. Not ostentatious by any means, but just a maze of halls and so many different bedrooms and this pool that overlooks the Santa Monica mountains.”
Head over to EW to check out the rest of the interview, which also features a conversation with Amy Acker.