You may have heard of The Avengers, the massive superhero blockbuster that Joss Whedon and his team of magicians have been feverishly working on for a year or two. However, like myself, you may not have known that when one is writing and directing one of the most anticipated comic book films ever made, one also has time to write and direct a totally unrelated film starring about half the people one has ever worked with. Because that’s just what Whedon has done.
The film, entitled Much Ado About Nothing and presumably an adaptation of the Shakespeare play, has completed principal photography without anyone having noticed. For years now, Whedonfolk have spoken of the man’s private Shakespeare readings in hushed tones, and it appears he has wrangled many of them into the movie: Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker, Nathan Fillion, Tom Lenk, Fran Kranz, Reed Diamond, and Clark Gregg have all worked with Whedon before. There’s no word on how the film will be distributed, be it conventionally or, like Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, as another Web venture.
Speaking of Dr. Horrible, this announcement reminds me of how it felt when we were all made aware of that Whedon project: like a beautiful, unexpected present had fallen from the heavens onto our collective doorstep. If you can’t tell, I am excited.
Last night, Paul and I continued our countdown of the Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture with our penultimate installment, detailing our picks for #20-11. Be sure to listen to the show to hear everything we said, but here are some choice excerpts:
PAUL: Westley/The Man in Black (The Princess Bride)
He bested the greatest swordsman, overpowered a giant, and outwitted a brilliant strategist. And then he got to be the one true love, thought lost at sea, now returned to his princess.
AJ: SS Colonel Hans Landa (Inglourious Basterds)
What makes Landa so terrifying is that he seems entirely bereft of a sense of morality; he manipulates himself into a position of power with whatever group seems to be on the winning side, caring little for past alliances or relationships.
Ack! It’s late in the day, and I still haven’t wished my Dark Lord and Master, Joss Whedon, a happy birthday. To make up for it, and to show that the guy isn’t just all about breaking hearts and visiting death upon your puppy, here’s some examples of Joss Whedon’s great sense of humor:
“You’re a wee little puppet man!” The Angel episode “Smile Time” is one of the many illustrations of a concept that wouldn’t work anywhere but on a Whedon show: Angel is turned into a puppet and fights the evil felt hosts of a popular kid’s show. In this clip, he fights Spike, who is too busy laughing his ass off to take the threat seriously.