Joss Whedon‘s last directorial effort, The Avengers, was a massive affair all around. The culmination of Marvel Studios’ ambitious years-long Cinematic Universe effort, the summer blockbuster boasted an all-star cast, a $220 million, and, eventually, a $1.5 billion box office take. So as a palate cleanser, he went super-duper-small for his next film.

Shot over just twelve days at Whedon’s own home during a break in The Avenger‘s post-production period, Much Ado About Nothing reimagines William Shakespeare‘s classic play as “noir comedy” set in present-day Santa Monica. Whedon alums Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, Clark Gregg, Sean Maher, and Fran Kranz all star. Watch the first trailer and check out a poster after the jump.

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It’s well established by now that an Academy Award win is no guarantee of a strong career, but Best Actress frontrunner Anne Hathaway seems likely to sidestep the so-called “Oscar jinx.” For her next step, she’s circling a modern(ish) retelling of William Shakespeare‘s The Taming of the Shrew. No director is attached yet, but with a script by Shame and The Iron Lady writer Abi Morgan, it’s already looking pretty interesting. Hit the jump to read more.

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It’s a big deal when the new movie arrives from the director of one of the biggest movies ever to set box office receipts blazing. But this time it’s a little bit weird, too. Because the director is Joss Whedon, whose film The Avengers became a massive success early this past summer. His next film, however, is something very different: a black and white adaptation of William Shakespeare‘s comedy Much Ado About Nothing. Whedon shot the film with friends on off days from The Avengers; it’s a true indie.

Now Roadside Attractions and LiosnGate have decided to release Much Ado About Nothing in a few markets on June 7, 2013, with a wide release to follow on June 21. It could be an interesting experiment, to open the film essentially opposite DC and Warner Bros.’ Man of Steel. Read More »

Though Joss Whedon has floated the idea of releasing Much Ado About Nothing over iTunes if the film couldn’t find a theatrical distributor, in truth it seemed unlikely that the man behind the $1.5 billion Avengers juggernaut would be unable to find some studio, somewhere, willing to strike a deal. And indeed, Lionsgate / Roadside has now stepped up to release the film. The company also released Drew Goddard’s Whedon-scripted Cabin in the Woods earlier this year. More on the Much Ado deal after the jump.

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Early Buzz: Joss Whedon’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’

Joss Whedon‘s already two for two this year, earning critical raves for The Cabin in the Woods (which he co-wrote with Drew Goddard) and then knocking it out of the park on every level with The Avengers. But he’s not finished: His third film of the year, the black-and-white William Shakespeare adaptation Much Ado About Nothing, just premiered at TIFF. And based on the reviews so far it sounds like the perfect capper to Whedon’s already stunning year.

Shot in just 12 days while Whedon was finishing up The Avengers, this version retains the Bard’s dialogue but moves the action to contemporary LA. (Specifically, Whedon’s own house.) Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof star as Beatrice and Benedick, acquaintances whose prickly banter signals an obvious compatibility. Other Whedon favorites fill out the rest of the cast: Fran Kranz, Nathan Fillion, Sean Maher, and Clark Gregg. Read more of the early buzz after the jump.

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Trust Joss Whedon to go from the $220 million extravaganza that is The Avengers to a micro-budget indie adaptation of William Shakespeare. The filmmaker announced last fall that he’d secretly shot Much Ado About Nothing in just two weeks while taking a brief break from his work on his superhero flick, and it’s now due to debut at the Toronto Film Festival next month.

Starring old Whedon favorites like Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker, Nathan Fillion, Sean Maher, Riki Lindholme, and Clark Gregg, Much Ado puts a modern-day spin on the classic romance while keeping the Bard’s original dialogue. The first photos revealed from the project were in color, but this newer batch of stills should do a better job representing the film’s black and white look. Check them out after the jump.

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Yesterday, news broke of Joss Whedon‘s Much Ado About Nothing, an indie Shakespeare adaptation he’d filmed in secret while taking a short vacation from The Avengers, just ’cause. Little was known about the project when it was first announced, but in a recent interview the writer/director and stars Sean Maher and Amy Acker opened up a bit more, offering insight into the hows, whys, and whats — as well as the first stills from the film. More after the jump.

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For most filmmakers, writing and directing a high-profile, big-budget would-be blockbuster with a slew of beloved celebs playing iconic characters would provide more than enough stress and excitement to keep them occupied for quite some time. But apparently, Avengers helmer Joss Whedon somehow still had energy left to burn — so much so that he’s managed to squeeze in a whole other secret indie project even as he’s still working on his other, bigger movie.

Sunday night saw the reveal of a website announcing the end of principal photography for Much Ado About Nothing, a mysterious new film starring Firefly‘s Nathan Fillion and Sean Maher among others. More details after the jump.

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