TIFF 2012: Is There Anything Joss Whedon Can't Do?


Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker are Benedick and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing.
  • Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker are Benedick and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing.

Joss Whedon knows how to spend his capital well. After becoming 2012's most successful director with his uber-film The Avengers, Whedon has chosen to go all Shakespeare on us—not in a high-brow fashion but with his black-and-white version of Much Ado About Nothing, which raised more than a few eyebrows at its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Most Hollywood directors follow up box office success with sequels or prequels. So for Whedon to hang up the capes and consider one of the greatest comedies ever is indeed much ado about something.

I must admit to great skepticism when I settled in to the theater with a few hundred Whedon fans, but I was hooked from the start. Much Ado About Nothing is one of the finest film adaptations of the Bard's tale, due in large part to fine screen acting with nary a stage affectation in sight.

Employing many of his alums from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, Whedon has corraled a fine round-up of talent, including Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, Fran Kranz, Jillian Morgese, Sean Maher, Clark Gregg and Reed Diamon. They expertly weave the iconic tale of valor and betrayal with generous shares of humor.

You've probably heard that Whedon filmed Much Ado About Nothing in 12 days at his Santa Monica home. It doesn't look like it for a minute. The editing is snappy. The scenery is gorgeous in black and white, and Whedon even penned the lovely score.

Whedon was as surprised as anyone at the Toronto audience's reception, which included a bit of howling and a standing ovation. Better yet, the film was snapped up by distributor Roadside Attractions, so we can expect to see this wonder in Boise sooner than later. Which is great news. I look forward to seeing it again.