Joss Whedon’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ Triumphs At The Toronto International Film Festival

by Tami Katzoff (@tvtamijo)

During the past week several big movies premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, but one of the most anticipated premieres was a much smaller project with nary an A-list Hollywood star to be found among its cast.

The film was “Much Ado About Nothing,” and the A-lister here was the director, Joss Whedon. He brought all of the actors, most of whom he’d worked with before, to Toronto. And on Saturday, in front of 1,500 eager fans at the Elgin Theatre, he presented his latest masterpiece.

It seems impossible, but “Much Ado” is even better than we at The Weekly Whedon imagined it could be. Sean Maher is the perfect villain, Nathan Fillion and Tom Lenk are the best of buffoons, and Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof are the consummate Shakespearean couple.

Whedon shot “Much Ado” at his own home, and his love of the Bard is evident in every scene. “I wanted very much to be true to what he had given us. At the same time I wanted some of it to make sense to me in ways that it hadn’t before,” Whedon told the audience after the screening. He definitely succeeded; with none of his own dialogue he managed to make a movie that is 100% Shakespeare and at the same time 100% classic Whedon.

His cast stood with him (filling the entire length of the Elgin stage) as Whedon received a lengthy, well-deserved ovation. Each actor had a chance to tell the audience their favorite part of the “Much Ado” experience, and perhaps Tom Lenk said it best: “To get to sit in a living room and give each other massages and touch Nathan inappropriately on camera, I mean — I died and went to theater nerd heaven.”

We all did, Tom. We all did.

Previously on The Weekly Whedon:
» Joss Whedon’s ’Much Ado’ isn’t ’scary Shakespeare’
» Joss Whedon keeps it in the family for ’S.H.I.E.L.D.’
» Spike’s 50 for 50: Happy birthday, James Marsters!
» Joss Whedon puts on an act for ‘Husbands’
» Marti Noxon: the Whedonite that almost wasn’t

MTV News producer Tami Katzoff presents The Weekly Whedon, a column exploring all corners of the Whedonverse from “Marvel’s The Avengers” to “Buffy” and beyond. Assemble your reactions in the comments section!