What do you do when the studio demands you take a break between the shooting and the editing of a huge superhero franchise movie? If you’re Joss Whedon, you pick up the phone, call your actor buddies, get them round to your place and adapt yourselves some Shakespeare.
Miniscule in budget but mighty in ambition, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ is several rare things at once: a satisfying cinematic take on the Bard; a literary adaptation which feels intimate and personal; and a home movie entirely worthy of the big screen.
‘Angel’ alumni Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof play Beatrice and Benedick, whose route from bitchy antagonists to swooning lovers takes place over a weekend in the country. The joy is the unashamedly DIY nature of it all: a debate between two soldiers takes place in a girls’ bedroom filled with toys and posters; the local guardhouse is clearly Whedon’s laundry room. The cast are hardly big names (unless you’re a committed Whedonite), but they acquit themselves very well. Witty, good-natured, lovable.