'Avengers' director Whedon swaps superheroes for Shakespeare

Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:47pm EDT
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By Jeffrey Hodgson

TORONTO (Reuters) - Joss Whedon's blockbuster comic book smash "The Avengers" would seem to have little in common with William Shakespeare.

The writer and director, however, also known for creating the cult TV hit "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," calls the legendary playwright a major influence, visible in much of his work from the banter of his superheroes to the structure of his stories.

Such is his admiration, that in the wake of delivering "The Avengers" - the biggest movie hit of 2012 - Whedon has adapted "Much Ado About Nothing," a low-budget black-and-white labor of love devoted to the Bard that debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival.

"I find myself aping his rhythms and occasionally stealing his phrases, without even realizing it most of the time," Whedon told Reuters in an interview on Monday.

"Shakespeare's not afraid to go from high drama to low comedy in a heartbeat, and to ping-pong back and forth between them in a scene, which is something else that I took from him in my own work."


Shot over 12 days in Whedon's own house in Santa Monica, California, during a break from his work on "The Avengers," "Much Ado About Nothing" features performers from Whedon's past television series including "Buffy," "Angel" and "Firefly."

The movie originated from readings of Shakespeare Whedon and spouse Kai Cole would host at their home while his TV shows were still in production.   Continued...

Director Joss Whedon poses at the world premiere of the film "Marvel's The Avengers" in Hollywood, California April 11, 2012. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok