'Nothing' Promises To Be Everything
To say the internet exploded with the news that Buffy, Firefly, Dollhouse creator Joss Whedon had taken 12 days out from filming The Avengers to bring together some of his most beloved actors and shoot a modern day retelling of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing would be an understatement. In fact, I'm amazed you're able to read this story right now given the collective insanity that swept the WWW after someone hit send on the soundly applauded press release.
In short, Joss gathered up Firefly stars Nathan Fillion and Sean Maher, paired them with Buffy alums Alexis Denisof and Tom Lenk, who then worked with Angel's Amy Acker and Dollhouse's Reed Diamond and Fran Kranz to bring to life Shakespeare's "deconstruction of the idea of love." At least that's how Joss describes it.
To get a greater sense of what fans can expect from the indie, I rang up Sean Maher to chat about Nothing.
Insider: First, can you take me back how Joss asked you to participate?
Sean Maher: I got an email late one night in Chicago while I was working on The Playboy Club. It was like three in the morning and it said: "Hey, I'm putting together a cast for an independent film adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing – here's the deal, it's low budget guerrilla film-making and we need a sexy villain. Can you come be Don John for me? What sayeth you?" That was it. And I wrote back, "Joss, does this mean you think I’m sexy?" [laughs] I would do anything for him. It was pretty much a no-brainer. Plus, I've never played the villain before!
Insider: And Don John is a ladies man, right?
Sean: Yea! It's so funny because I had talked to Joss about my choice to come out – he was so supportive. He just wanted me for this because he saw me in this role of a villain. A very mean-spirited, mischievous, manipulative villain. What Joss did was write don John's associate, who is a man in the play, as a woman – and we have some very promiscuous sexually-charged scenes together. So during this whole coming out process, with all the press asking me if I could ever be seen as a heterosexual man on screen again, I so badly wanted to say, "well, Joss Whedon just cast me as the guy in between Riki Lindhome’s legs." But he asked me to keep it a secret, which I did. I mean, it's Joss Whedon. But I have to say, I had such a good time being a dick – I've never played a dick before and Joss kept telling me, "you're such a good dick!" [laughs]
Insider: How did you guys keep it a secret for so long?
Sean: He simply asked us not to talk about it and because we're all so loyal to him, we'd never betray his trust. But Nathan and I hadn’t seen each other in forever so we were snapping away and Joss would see us taking pictures and shout, "don’t you Tweet that!"
Insider: The last time Joss and Nathan worked together was in Dr. Horrible -- are there any songs in Much Ado?
Sean: There are. I will just say that. There's original music, so this was a long time coming for Joss.
Insider: He has talked about his need for a small movie after the craziness of Avengers -- what can people expect from this Much Ado?
Sean: Obviously people are excited to see anything Joss does but this intertwining of all these Whedon-verse actors is amazing. Everyone – from the cast to the crew – was handpicked to create this vision he had. It's such a different take on so many levels, that comments on a different interpretation of the text. He's just a genius and put so much of himself into it. His wife Kai told me that she hadn’t seen Joss this happy in a long time – it was something he needed to feed his soul, and that's why I think it's going to be magical.
For more on Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing, click here!