What do you do when you've just shot a movie destined to be one of the biggest of all time and you've got a few days of vacation ahead? If you're Joss Whedon, you make another movie—in your house.
In late October of last year, Bellwether Pictures, the new indie studio created by Whedon and his wife, Kai Cole, announced the completion of principal photography on a modern adaptation of William Shakespeare's comedy "Much Ado About Nothing."
Whedon shot the film over twelve days at his California home, with a cast culled mostly from his previous TV and film projects. "He was doing that purely for the passion of it," explained actor Tom Lenk, "because he loves Shakespeare." Lenk is best known to Whedon fans as the adorably annoying Andrew on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
"Much Ado" was like a secret class reunion for Whedon University graduates. "It was just a bunch of peeps that I was already friends with," said Lenk, "and then the people that I didn’t know were all just really cool."
One cast member with whom Lenk was very familiar was Nathan Fillion, a featured player in several Whedon productions and currently the star of ABC's "Castle." Lenk fondly remembered meeting Fillion when the former "Firefly" star appeared on "Buffy" during that show’s final season. "I was in one side of a double [trailer], and his dressing room was on the other side. So he came and knocked on my door and was like, 'Hey, how's it going? I love you on the show. You're so great. I'm such a big fan.' And I just nearly wet my pants. Because of course I was a fan of his work, everything he had done already. It just kind of blew me away."
Lenk echoed what many others have said of Fillion over the years: "I feel like he might be the nicest guy in Hollywood." So it was especially fortunate that the two were paired for "Much Ado"; Fillion and Lenk play Dogberry and Verges. In the original play Dogberry is the chief of police in the Italian town where the action takes place, and Verges is his deputy. "Since it's set in present day we're now like these private-hire security cops," Lenk explained. "It's so fun, because just standing next to Nathan Fillion makes me laugh. Just the sight gag of the two of us, because I’m a small person and he's so tall."
By the end of the shoot, Lenk felt like he had just completed a session at theater camp. "When it was over I was like, 'No! I don't get to see these people anymore?' It was so sad."
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