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Joss Whedon’s next film is going to be nothing like his superhero extravaganza, Marvel’s The Avengers. Instead, it will be his black and white, quickly-made adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. The film had its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival and was just picked up by Lionsgate, which will distribute the film.
In an interview with Reuters, Whedon, who is also known for creating Buffy the Vampire Slayer, said that Shakespeare has always been a major influence. “I find myself aping his rhythms and occasionally stealing his phrases, without even realizing it most of the time,” he said.
“Shakespeare's not afraid to go from high drama to low comedy in a heartbeat, and to ping-pong back and forth between them in a scene, which is something else that I took from him in my own work,” Whedon added.
He also told The Associated Press that Shakespeare would be comfortable writing about the heroes in the Marvel universe. “Yeah, I think he very well might. He'd be doing it better than the rest of us. But he was not afraid of the big themes and the bigger-than-life characters,” he said. “And his stuff was full of pop-culture references. I'm not comparing myself to him, but I am saying, yeah, I think he would have as much fun in the genre.”
Whedon made Much Ado About Nothing at home in 12 days, using a small budget and features his friends in the roles. Angel actors Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof play Beatrice and Benedick. The Avengers’ Clark Gregg and Firefly stars Nathan Fillion and Sean Maher also appear in the film.
Variety reported Tuesday that Lionsgate picked up distribution rights. The studio has worked with Whedon in the past, releasing his Cabin In The Woods, which he co-wrote and produced.
As for his Avengers sequel, Whedon told Reuters that it is in the very early stages. “It's still in the story stage. But I've been working on it pretty much from about an hour before I said, 'Let's make a deal.' It just caught fire with me...We're hard at work. We would like to be not as rushed as we were with the first one.”
Whedon recently signed a deal to continue to work with Marvel and Disney through 2015 and it has been speculated that he might direct the pilot for a potential S.H.I.E.L.D. series.