SXSW FILM 2013
By Don Simpson | March 16, 2013
Over the last seventeen-or-so years, writer-director Joss Whedon has carefully constructed a series of fictional worlds that have come to be known as the Whedonverse. With the exception of his television series Firefly, the universes of Whedon’s characters are very similar to our own. The stories are like alternate realities of our present reality, one in which things are just a wee bit off-kilter.
Something that has been apparent since his first television series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is Whedon’s penchant for Shakespearean tales of love and deceit. His dialogue may be dense with pop culture references but it flows like a poetic river of wit, snark and charm. Mixing comedy and tragedy throughout his intricately strategized storylines, Whedon has proven himself to be a master screenwriter and director. Whedon has essentially revealed himself to be a modern day Shakespeare.
So it only makes sense that Whedon would eventually recreate one of The Bard’s masterworks. Whedon transports Much Ado About Nothing to what seems like present day California, but purports to be Messina, a port city in Aragon-ruled Sicily. The characters speak in Shakespeare’s dated tongue and discuss Aragonian battles that would have taken place several hundred years ago; yet they dress in modern clothes, drive modern cars and carry modern guns.
Whedon turned to his trusty band of actors to join him in this somewhat risky affair, that on the surface seems quite different from anything else he has ever created, yet it actually fits perfectly within the ever-expanding limits of the Whedonverse. In this SXSW 2013 video interview (shot and edited by Dave Campbell, moderated by Don Simpson), we talk with Alexis Denisof (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel), Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog) and Clark Gregg (The Avengers) about their roles in Much Ado About Nothing as well as their perception of the Whedonverse as a whole.