Screened as part of NZIFF 2013

Much Ado About Nothing 2012

Directed by Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon and a cast of his TV regulars breathe fresh life into Shakespeare’s comedy of romantic gamesmanship. “The first great contemporary Shakespeare since Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet.” — The Guardian

USA In English
107 minutes B&W / DCP

Director, Music


Joss Whedon
Kai Cole


Joss Whedon. Based on the play by William Shakespeare


Jay Hunter


Daniel S. Kaminsky
Joss Whedon

Production designers

Cindy Chao
Michele Yu

Costume designer

Shawna Trpcic


Victor Ennis


Amy Acker (Beatrice)
Alexis Denisof (Benedick)
Clark Gregg (Leonato)
Reed Diamond (Don Pedro)
Fran Kranz (Claudio)
Jillian Morgese (Hero)
Nathan Fillion (Dogberry)
Sean Maher (Don John)
Spencer Treat Clark (Borachio)
Riki Lindhome (Conrade)
Tom Lenk (Verges)
Emma Bates (Ursula)
Ashley Johnson (Margaret)
Paul Meston (Friar Francis)


Toronto 2012; San Francisco 2013


Joss Whedon’s zesty romcom, set amongst young corporate types in LA, breathes fresh life into a script that’s been around for more than 400 years. It arrives like an out-of-the-blue treat for any Whedon fans who didn’t already know that their man was steeped in the Bard. Their theatre-going grannies are in for an unexpected treat too.

“Updating the setting but, mercifully, not the language of Shakespeare’s great love comedy, this nimble black-and-white rendition honors a classic text, adroitly performed by a game ensemble of Whedon TV alumni, while teasing out all manner of anachronistic in-jokes and sight gags that enhance its merry spirit…

Whedon’s do-it-yourself labor of love was shot over 12 days last year at his Santa Monica manse, whose scenic gardens, Spanish-style architecture and casually elegant vibe are not too far removed, conceptually, from the idyllic Tuscan villa of Kenneth Branagh’s celebrated 1993 film, a realm of lushly romantic fantasy made momentarily concrete…

The pleasures here are largely those of any reading or staging… most of all, the splendid sparring matches between Beatrice (Amy Acker) and Benedick (Alexis Denisof), their unique scorn for each other and, indeed, for the very notion of love, marking them as a perfect match.” Justin Chang, Variety

“The first great contemporary Shakespeare since Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet. Not that it’s just for the kids – the Globe crowd, too, should extend this warm embrace… Much Ado may be a bit of a B+ staple on the Shakespeare circuit, but Whedon – as well as improving student grades the world over – makes it feel second to none.” Catherine Shoard, The Guardian