After ‘The Avengers,’ Joss Whedon moves to a Shakespeare movie that’s truly homemade
BY CINDY PEARLMAN June 17, 2013 11:56AM
Updated: July 17, 2013 6:33AM
Is there life after one of the biggest superhero movies of all times? “The Avengers” director Joss Whedon insists that you can shift gears and downsize a bit.
That’s why, he’s abandoning brawn this summer for the Bard with his own take on the Shakespeare classic “Much Ado About Nothing,” opening Friday. Nathan Fillion and Clark Gregg star.
“ ‘The Avengers’ was a fun but a grueling experience,” says the director. “My wife thought a little passion project would probably get me back on my feet. I had this acting troupe for a long time, a house that I live in that’s very cinematic and the need to stop talking about doing ‘Much Ado’ and …”
Just do it.
What was the impulse to bring “Much Ado” to the big screen?
The only reason to make a movie is if you have something to say. What I loved about “Much Ado” is that the parts that aren’t funny are dark and twisted. You have love and jealousy. It’s all part of the same story. You realize that this is not about nothing. What blows my mind about Shakespeare with this work is that he’s inventing the modern, romantic comedy while deconstructing it at the same time. You know Shakespeare. He’s going places, that kid.
2 Most filmmakers don’t shoot in their own homes, but few have a home like your house. How did it become your set?
Except for my neighbor’s yappy dog, it was such a stress-free situation shooting at my house. My wife designed our house to be an artistic space. The great news is that my wife is very community-minded, and she likes to have people coming and going. This was an extreme example. The other hard part beside that yappy dog, though, was our kids saying, “When can we get our bedrooms back?”
3 Why did you choose to shoot in black and white?
I think black and white makes things extraordinarily beautiful, and it fit the noir aspects. It’s also timeless elegance. Of course, then there was “Frances Ha” this summer. I was like, “Another indie in black and white? Really?”
4 What can you tell us about “Avengers 2”? We’re open to you spilling all sorts of plot secrets here.
(Laughing) I wouldn’t have taken it on if I hadn’t strongly felt like I had something exciting to say. You don’t want to make the same movie again. You want to give the audiences the things they loved about the first one and a reason why they’re showing up again. I look to “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Godfather II” as two movies that went to a darker and more artistic place than the first movies.
5 You still haven’t talked about the plot.
Well, the Avengers have been introduced. Now, I can dig a little deeper in terms of their psychology. The theme is: How do you challenge the Earth’s biggest superheroes? Answer: You challenge them from within.
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