Din­ner serves up Shake­speare dish

Joss Whe­don cooked up a clas­sic idea for

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

DI­REC­TOR Joss Whe­don has re­vealed how his new film adap­ta­tion of Much Ado About Noth­ing started out as a din­ner party game with friends.

The cre­ator of hit TV shows Buffy The Vam­pire Slayer and An­gel, at­tended a spe­cial gala screen­ing at the Apollo Pic­cadilly in Lon­don, joined by stars Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof, who play bick­er­ing love­birds Beatrice and Benedick.

Other celebrity guests and friends of Whe­don – in­clud­ing Buffy star An­thony Head and Avengers As­sem­ble star Tom Hid­dle­ston – at­tended the screen­ing.

‘‘We used to read Shake­speare at week­ends when we were pro­duc­ing shows to­gether, writ­ers and ac­tors,’’ Whe­don says.

‘‘And once Amy and Alexis had read Beatrice and Benedick my wife and I said: ‘That’s the one we’d re­ally love to shoot.’ And it only took me 10 years!’’

The Avengers As­sem­ble di­rec­tor shot his big-screen adap­ta­tion of Shake­speare’s com­edy in just 12 days, us­ing the orig­i­nal text but in a mod­ern set­ting.

‘‘It re­ally is the clas­sic ro­man­tic com­edy and it’s a story that not only is still be­ing told all the time, but this is the best ver­sion of it,’’ he says.

Acker, who worked with Whe­don on vam­pire drama An­gel, says play­ing Beatrice was her dream role, as the

Much Ado About Noth­ing. char­ac­ter was an in­de­pen­dent woman – even in a mod­ern in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Shake­speare’s drama.

‘‘They had started do­ing the read­ings way be­fore I met Joss,’’ Acker says.

‘‘But as soon as I started on An­gel, I met a lot of th­ese peo­ple for the first time at the Shake­speare read­ings in Joss’s house.

‘‘He would have us in his back yard, which was gor­geous, drink­ing wine, and it was just a dorky idea of a fun af­ter­noon.’’

Denisof pre­vi­ously worked with Whe­don on Buffy and An­gel.

‘‘He’s ei­ther a Shake­speare for our time or Shake­speare was the Joss Whe­don of his,’’ he says.

Hid­dle­ston says he has not yet been to Whe­don’s Shake­speare read­ings, but re­veals he would like to ap­pear in a ver­sion of A Mid­sum­mer Night’s Dream di­rected by Whe­don.

Much Ado About Noth­ing opens on July 11, with pre­views at The Arts Cen­tre Gold Coast to­mor­row un­til Sun­day.

Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker in a scene from di­rec­tor Joss Whe­don’s

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