Forget Iron Man and Thor. "Avengers" director Joss Whedon's current superhero of choice isn't a billionaire playboy or a hammer-wielding god, but a centuries-dead Englishman imbued with the powers of poetry and prose.
Whedon was at the Toronto International Film Festival this week to debut his quirky passion project, a modern-day retelling of Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing," which he secretly filmed in his home over 12 days. Starring a troupe of players from his previous projects, including Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion and Clark Gregg, the film tells the familiar tale of two sets of lovers and their comically endearing entanglements.
The fest marked the first time audiences outside of Whedon's inner circle had screened the black-and-white film, and as he told MTV News' Josh Horowitz afterward, he was feeling many emotions during the auditorium's prolonged ovation.
"Relieved is definitely one," Whedon said. "It's an odd little film, and I thought they could take it, they could leave it. It's not an easy win, and they loved it so much. I was so overwhelmed afterwards. A weaker man would have been tearing up, but not I, obviously because of my incredible macho-ness."
Asked whether he would characterize "Much Ado" as a leap of faith or as something he felt at least partially equipped to tackle, Whedon hedged toward the latter.
"It really is, 'I do understand this, and I know I have the actors who can totally bring this, and I have a take on it, and I feel very confident with what I'm doing,'" he said. "But at the same time, there's an element of, 'I've never done this before and I could fail,' that makes it so much better, so much more interesting. If you don't have that little twinge of fear, like, this could be the end, this could be the one they say, 'And then he did this, but later he did that,' but if you don't have that, you're not reaching. To have that little bit of reach, that little bit of fear, makes it even more exciting."
"Much Ado" was purchased for distribution by Lionsgate (the same company behind his recent horror-thriller "The Cabin in the Woods"), though no release date has been set.
Check out everything we've got on "Much Ado About Nothing."