Prior to directing The Avengers, Joss Whedon’s star had begun to fall a bit, as a result of fiscal failures like the film Serenity and the TV show Dollhouse (never mind that the latter of those projects was also a critical failure, and disliked by all but the most devout Whedonites).

Now, after directing Marvel’s biggest superhero film to date, he’s already directed another film in secret – a semi-modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing starring all of his acting friends and frequent collaborators.

The indie film, which was shot in black-and-white, was created in just a month – from inception to production – immediately after Avengers was finished filming.  Check out the official website here and the press release here.

The fairly sizable cast includes Nathan Fillion (Malcom Reynolds in Firefly and Serenity), Alexis Denishof (Wesley on Buffy and Angel), Amy Acker (Fred on Angel), Fran Kranz (Topher in Dollhouse), Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson in The Avengers), and Sean Maher (Simon on Firefly and Serenity) as the villain, Don John.

As to how the movie came about – courtesy of EW – Joss Whedon said:

“Well, it’s not a bit secret that I’ve done these [Shakespeare] readings before, and I always had a vague notion of shooting Much Ado. But I didn’t really have a take on it. And then, for some reason, I kinda sorta did. As we were finishing The Avengers in New York, my wife and I were planning our vacation for our 20th anniversary. And she said, ‘Let’s not take the vacation. Make a movie instead.’ I was like, ‘I’m not even sure if I can adapt the script, cast the movie, and prep it in a month.’ And she was like, ‘Well, that’s your vacation time, so you do it.’ And so I did.”

On his decision to cast “Wesley” and “Fred” from Angel in the lead roles:

“[W]e’d done a reading of it starring Amy and Alexis years ago, and that’s when I knew that if I could ever do it, I would do it with them.”

Check out an image of Amy and Alexis from the film, below (click to enlarge):

On whether or not the film will be distributed in theaters, Whedon said:

“I haven’t heard anything yet [regarding interest from distributors]. I’ve just been enjoying the Internet response. We’re feeling our way on this one, just like Dr. Horrible. I do mean [for] it to be in theaters. But we haven’t gotten any real plan except [going to] film festivals because it sounded like it would be festive.”

Sean Maher (Firefly) plays Don John in ‘Much Ado About Nothing’

On his take on the famed Shakespeare tale:

“I had trouble at first, because it had the words ‘About Nothing’ in the title. So I was like, ‘I don’t have anything to say about nothing.’ But really when I started pouring over it, I got a very strong sense of how a little bit dark and twisted it is. The movie’s in black-and-white partially because it’s kind of a noir comedy. I realized that everybody in it behaves like such a dolt — an articulate dolt, but a dolt. I fixated on this notion that our ideas of romantic love are created for us by the society around us, and then escape from that is grown-up love, is marriage, is mature love, to escape the ideals of love that we’re supposed to follow. So that clicked for me when I realized, oh, I get why it matters everybody goes through the weird machinations we go through.”

Honestly, it sounds just a wee bit pretentious, but maybe that’s just a pitfall of PR. Furthermore, it’ll be incredibly impressive – surprising, even – if Whedon was able to produce a totally top-notch screenplay and finished product in a month’s time.

For the entire interview – and interviews with stars Sean Maher and Amy Acker – click here.

On a slightly unrelated note, is that peach and gray baseball shirt (second image from the top) the only one Joss Whedon owns? At the very least, it seems to be the only one he’s ever photographed wearing — previously he was seen wearing the shirt at SDCC and on the set of The Avengers. Is this a grand conspiracy somehow related to long-sleeved baseball t-shirts or are we just imagining things?

See the evidence for yourself:

Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.

Stay tuned for more information about Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing as it becomes available. Meanwhile, Joss Whedon’s other little known indie film, The Avengers, hits theaters May 4th, 2012.

Source: Entertainment Weekly