I have difficulty knowing what exactly this is that I’m writing. It’s not a review, that’s for sure. I haven’t even seen Joss Whedon’s take on Much Ado About Nothing. I’ve only seen some trailers. Its really about the cast of the movie. How a Whedonfile would know them and geek out. Yes, in fact, I geeked out about everyone I saw in the trailer. So its just a dossier on each of the actors that strike me as having a large part. A review on Whedon’s loyalty to not only his friends, but darn good actors. And believe me, if Joss thought these cats were good, well, I’m just the kind of fanboy to fall into lockstep with that opinion.
First up is Amy Acker! She will be playing the part of Beatrice in Much Ado. I, and many Angel geeks, knew her as Winifred “Fred” Burkle on Angel. Now Fred was a more innocent, I’d even go so far as to say meek in the first season of her appearance. This type of character doesn’t really fit with the strength and commanding presence of Beatrice, but believe me when I say that Acker has had a chance to show us more authority and an even regal air later in the show. If that’s not enough, she did some work on another Whedon show called Dollhouse, playing a much more damaged character. But her range is pretty impressive. (Also, catch her in Cabin in the Woods with Fran Kranz, another Much Ado co-star!)
Next up is Alexis Denisof! He will be playing the part of Benedick in Much Ado. In the Whedonverse (yeah, I refer to it as the “Whedonverse”), Denisof played Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, first appearing in Season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. To say that Wesley went through a lot of character development would be an understatement. And Alexis played it all: from the comedic moments to the most dramatic without ever missing a step. The dude is good. And Wesley is pretty much a Shakespeare character, and I do mean besides being English. He has major issues with his father, was put through extreme circumstances that break other people, and even forgot who his friends were for a time. (Hopefully this is not spoiling anything, just enticing you to watch his work). For some fan trivia, Alexis married Alyson Hannigan (who played Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and even appeared as Sandy Rivers in How I Met Your Mother. AND he played “The Other” in The Avengers! Who knew that was him under all that makeup?
Nathan Fillion. Nathan flippin’ Fillion. This dude just emits charisma, like a wifi to awesomeness, but only he’s got the password. One of the best wielders of the name Nathan that I could ever hope to be associated with. He will be playing the part of “Dogberry” in Much Ado. Where have you seen him? Why does his charm haunt your dreams? It started with his role as Captain Malcolm Reynolds in the far-too-short-lived TV show Firefly, and was continued in the movie-with-not-nearly-enough-sequels Serenity. He also guest-starred in the last season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Caleb. He’s gone on to star as Rick Castle in the show Castle, and though there is no involvement by Whedon, it is still an enjoyable enough show to merit a mention (plus, Fillion often references Firefly in the show, its awesome). Nathan was also been in some animated movies as the voice of the Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, which works on so many levels. Have I mentioned how crazy charming he is?
Speaking of charm, Clark Gregg will be playing the part of “Leonato” in Much Ado. And when I say charm, I mean it in the most efficient and quiet of ways. That’s just how Gregg works. A work horse of an actor (and even some writing and directing), he’s been around. Have you seen him in movies? Perhaps… but you’ve seen him in one movie for f**king absolutely sure. The Avengers. The momentum was definitely started in Iron Man, Thor, and Iron Man 2, but The Avengers is where he became a slogan: “Coulson Lives.” He was so popular that he will be starring in the upcoming show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as… Agent Coulson? Intriguing…
Side Nate Tangent: Oh, hey, we promise we came up with “Agents of GUARD” before the Agents of SHIELD was officially even mentioned as a show. We were merely cashing in on the rabid acronym fan base, we swear!
Fran Kranz will be playing the role of “Claudio” in Much Ado. Kranz has a pretty cool mix of Whedon Fu. He played “Topher” (think a morally ambiguous, geeky mad scientist) in the show Dollhouse. He went on to play “Marty” in Cabin in the Woods, a stoner-turned-hero. But Kranz can play some nuances that even I never gave him credit for till I finished Dollhouse. I can’t wait to see what he can do with Shakespeare!
While I’m talking about Dollhouse, Reed Diamond (as “Laurence Dominic”) also was on that show! He will be playing “Don Pedro” in Much Ado. Diamond is a working actor, and has been everywhere and everywhen. I can’t help but feel that he and Clark Gregg must of felt a certain kinship.
Sean Maher will be playing “Don John” in Much Ado. He was “Dr. Simon Tam” on Firefly and Serenity, and I actually haven’t seen him on a lot of other stuff. So I can only imagine he’s hungry to show off and be the bad guy.
Tom Lenk will be playing “Verges” in Much Ado. Lenk was great as “Andrew” on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and had a great cameo in both Angel and Cabin in the Woods. But here’s where things get great in Much Ado About Nothing… Lenk is going to be playing Fillion’s police partner. That alone… is all I need for a regular movie, let alone a Whedon directed one.
Jillian Morgese will be playing “Hero” in Much Ado. She’s actually the only unknown here for me. But if I can be total red-blooded male for a moment? SHE IS VERY PRETTY. And from the WonderCon panel I attended that she was at, she is quite a funny and nice lady. And more important… IN WHEDON WE BELIEVE. She will do great.
Riki Lindhome will be playing “Conrade” in Much Ado. Its a small part, but whatever. This actor and the next two are were I deviate from the Whedon formula. Because Lindhome actually hasn’t been in any Whedon productions…. okay, that’s not true. She was “Cheryl” in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But that’s just me being scary and obsessive. I mean, its barely even anything. Seriously, her work as half of “Garfunkel and Oates” is way more important. Their music is funny as hell and should be repeatedly listened to.
Last up is Nick Kocher and Brian McElhaney as “First Watchman” and “Second Watchman.” Why would I even mention these dudes? Mostly out of envy. They’ve been making videos together for years on the internet (hilarious videos by the way, seriously, all petty jealousy aside, they’re worth watching). A lot of their videos were influenced by Shakespeare, and they used Shakespeare well. So well, in fact, that Joss Whedon became a fan.
Became a fan.
Please imagine the world’s longest sigh of longing. I’m the one making that noise.
By the pedigree of actors alone, please watch the friggin’ heck out of Much Ado About Nothing. I feel very strongly (as I’m sure you could tell) about the people working on this movie. They alone are worth watching.
Side Nate Tangent: Apparently, Much Ado as a movie came about from casual Shakespeare readings as Whedon’s very own home. He’d just grab some wine, some take out food, and a bunch of his actor friends and they’d perform Shakespeare. Because why not? It makes me want to do the same thing with any of my friends willing and perform movies and scripts I love.
…..hold up. THAT might just happen!