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September 08 2012

'Much Ado About Nothing' has its world premiere today. Just look at the awesomeness that is the cast.

Do I need to stay away from spoilers? Just how different is this from the original play or the Kenneth Branagh movie?
Nobody knows.
I haven't seen the source material or Branagh's movie. I know.
Love the Branagh movie. Is it okay to say here the things we do know are different from previous interviews/articles (i.e., cinetography, costuming) or is that too spoilery for an unmarked thread?
I've seen the Branagh movie, a bit of the Tennant/Tate stage version, and the Globe's stage version last summer. Oh and I've read the play a few times. Yeah, I like this one...

(The Globe's version would be my personal favourite so far, partly because the actors were great but also because the costuming and staging was traditional and just worked - though admittedly it would be weird to do a modern version of it in the Globe. So I'll be interested to see how this version comes across...)


Edited because apparently I can't tell the difference between actors and characters. Ahem.

[ edited by skittledog on 2012-09-08 14:40 ]
Cast members have been tweeting that they're in town. :) Look for a zillion Whedon fans under umbrellas in front of the Elgin, too.
Love this play. Love Joss.
Can't wait! Six more hours! I need to finish the play in the next two and then I'll rush off to the Elgin. I've never read the play before (bad me) and I absolutely love it so far.
I still haven't seen the Tennant/Tate version.
All I really want to know is what the general reception was. Shakespeare in film (with original dialogue intact) can quickly become awkward.
Woke up at 7 am EST to try to get any tickets available from the TIFF site. As that's when TIFF release any remaining tickets TIFF might have (via people exchanging tickets, or reassessing how many seats they need for industry people, etc.). I managed to get 2 tickets so now I'm going to see it this afternoon!! WOOHOO! :)

I just checked the TIFF website and they still have tickets available. Anyone in Toronto who would like to go, quickly go over to the TIFF website while there are still tickets!! If it sells out again, there is still the rush line, where TIFF sells tickets for any open seats 10 minutes before the screening (so always arrive well before 10 minutes before a TIFF screening).

That said, does anyone have any experience in attending a premiere like this and how early I should show up for good seats? I've only attended regular TIFF screenings, this is my first big TIFF premiere.

[ edited by Matt_Fabb on 2012-09-08 14:16 ]
Well scored, Matt! Looks like they sold out again. (14th still available though).
I'm so incredibly excited for this, even though all I'll be doing today is waiting for reviews.

I'm not worried about the Shakespearian dialogue at all. With any production all that depends on is the director, and it's not like Joss isn't used to filming actors talking in unconventional English and invented words.

To celebrate, and since I can't watch the film, I'll just have to settle for watching Amy Acker's Angel screen-test. "Y'all are talking Elizabethan crazy talk."
Okay, how had I never seen that before? Hah.
Can't wait for this to become available to the masses. :)
@Bluelark: Thanks for posting, that was neat. :)
I'm just getting into Toronto now. Will attempt to tweet @witch_kat if I'm not in the pouring rain. Anybody else tweeting?
Matt, now you must report back on how it was! :)
I'm in line now for the movie. The line completely wraps around the block and looks like the back of the line is getting close to the front of the theatre. I'm midway in the line towards the back of the theatre. They have closed of the street in front of the theatre with a growing crowd of media and fans up front. All which I can't see any more because I'm at the back of the theatre. :-)
Please, Whedonites that are there: Post away! :D

So excited for this. Being a Theatre Major, I LOVE Shakespeare, and Joss seems to know how to tackle it, especially if the "Shakespeare in the Park" scene is any indication ;)
Just look at the awesomeness that is the cast.

That cast + Joss + Shakespeare. There are no words for so much awesomeness.
I'm hearing Joss and Nathan walked the line saying hi to fans. :)
Is anyone live tweeting? I expected Nathan and Tom to do it, but so far radio silence...:(.
I think it's just started.
Congrats to you who are there! I shall try to contain my jealousy in my underground vault made of pure anticipation.
Apparently Olivia Williams is there.
First reviews:

@witch_kat
So funny! We were dying laughing. Plus so much heart! Plus @MoTancharoen singing!! #MuchAdoPremiere

@courtneynoh
So good! #MuchAdoPremiere #TIFF

@mikellevirey
#MuchAdoAboutNothing was amazing!! #TIFF12

@KatheRogers
Standing ovation for Joss Whedon's tremendously entertaining #MuchAdoAboutNothing! #TIFF12

@Magietagie
Just watched #MuchAdoAboutNothing at #TIFF & OMG was it so funny!!! And beyond good!

@devv88
Loved MUCH ADO. Whedon combines a whole slew of comedic styles that defy generation. Very impressive contemporary Shakespeare rendition.

@aelysian
For those wondering, Whedon's "Much Ado About Nothing" is excellent. The cast was fantastic and Joss's take on Shakespeare = genius.

@jadabird
Joss Whedon's Much Ado is completely delightful. So many great visual jokes. Nathan Fillion as sheriff is greatest casting ever. #TIFF2012

@capistrano99
Wow, I hated Much Ado About Nothing, fell asleep and finally just walked out. #tiff12
Full cast, Q&A going on

[ edited by gossi on 2012-09-08 21:52 ]
Is Alexis wearing a bright blue suit? I think he is. (From Gossi's last post)
I wonder if Joss or any of the cast will stop by the Stratford Theatre, as long as they are in Ontario. (I can remember my HS English class taking a bus from upstate NY to Stratford. First time seeing a live, professional "Merchant of Venice" and "Romeo & Juliet".)
Okay, there's a ton of reactions out there (98% positive). My personal fave:

@aelysian: Especially fantastic: @MoTancharoen and her version of "Sigh no more". Fucking amazing. #TIFF12
I'm so thrilled at the positive reactions to Much Ado. I sincerely hope there will be a U.S. distributor.
And a U.K. distributor. If the world is right it should get some kind of release. But if not, they would make their money back on iTunes and DeeVeeRay.

[ edited by gossi on 2012-09-08 22:58 ]
Incredible, the reception it's getting. I am SO EXCITED now. Gotta make sure to reread the play ASAP in preparation.
If you saw the movie at TIFF and want to vote for it to win the audience award, keep your ticket and go here to vote.
I thought this was a pretty good review:

@VickiEssex

At Much Ado: woman in bathroom: "I don't like Shakespeare, and I don't know who Joss Whedon is, but I LOVED this film!" Cc @NathanFillion
I love the fact that the film is getting such good reviews. Congrats to Joss and the cast. I'm jealous of those who could see it; fingers crossed for a distributor.
So the movie started late as the previous movie was running late and it took a while to get everyone out and then get everyone in for Much Ado About Nothing in.

Someone from TIFF introduced Joss and got big cheers when mentioning his previous work, to the point where she had to pause to let the cheering simmer down before going on. Buffy and Angel all got big cheers, but surprisingly Firefly got the biggest cheer.

Joss came out looking a bit overwhelmed by the cheering. He joked that he hoped everyone still felt that way in 2 hours time. Then he did his Shakespeare joke about him being a bit unknown and hard to find but is really going places.

I'm not a huge Shakespeare fan but I enjoyed the movie. What surprised me most was the way Joss was able to still have his witty humor in a Shakespeare movie, despite not being able to change any of the lines. He did this by having the characters doing some very funny things, or supplementing the dialogue with something unexpected. It's hard to explain without spoiling it, but you will see what I mean when you see it. Lots of laughing in the audience and all out cheering when Nathan Fillion appeared on screen. Some other actors also got some clapping, but none like Nathan. Which by the way, Nathan Fillion & Tom Lenk made quite the unlikely comedy dual and got a lot of laughs together.

Personally, I think this movie will play better to fans of these actors than the general public. Example I don't think people will find Nathan Fillion & Tom Lenk as funny if they haven't seen him before in other roles.

Anyways, the movie ended with a lot of cheering and the whole cast coming up on stage. Joss was asked about all the music & all of the alcohol being consumed, and Joss mentioned that all the alcohol was the real thing and joked about the level of drunkenness during the shooting of the filmed. Questions were asked about movement of the camera (space dictated a lot of it) and why black and white (to go for a noir feel, but also it was cheaper to do when it came to different lighting situations).

Then it was asked what was their favorite & scariest moment and the mic when down the line with everyone giving an answer, most saying something along the lines of how much fun it was and how it was an honor. A few people saying that learning Shakespeare was quite scary especially with just one or two takes for most shots.

I'm sure someone will upload video of the Q&A, as there was a lot of people with cameras out with a lot more details rather than me paraphrasing what was said. Lots of fun and I'm glad I managed to snag tickets this morning. :)
If theres anyone here who has seen the film do you think I should read the play before I eventually see the film? I didn't really like reading ye olde english text in school.
Also I took photos on my phone, but was up in the balcony and doubt they turned out that great. I probably should have brought a proper camera, but I wasn't sure if they would be checking for things like that at the door and I didn't want to cause any trouble of having to go back to my car and getting a lousy seat as a result. I imagine others will have some great photos of the Q&A as it seemed like every other person in the audience was taking photos.
Eddy, I hadn't read the play and that left some surprises in the direction of the story, but at the same time there were many lines that I couldn't quite grasp what they were saying. I would get the gist of it, but at times it felt like people were speaking another language where I catch bits and pieces but miss other parts. Had I read the text before hand, I imagine that I would have caught more but then known exactly where things were going (not that there was exactly any big twists or anything).
Thanks for the report, Matt_Fabb!
Ahhhh... I'm hoping this somehow makes its way to Iowa...
Yeah thanks for the recap Matt_Fabb.
Alyson Hannigan tweeted a fun pic of Alexis. Looks like he's having a blast.
From the LA Times:

The movie is a strange mix of old and modern, and it takes a minute to get your head around it. But once you do, itís quite charming. Basically itís set in modern times with modern-looking actors and modern dress, but the language is heavily in the original text, and the essential plot elements of Benedick, Beatrice and everyone else are all in there.

To top if off, itís presented in black-and-white.



Fingers crossed that it gets a distributor soon.

~FS
So I'll try to do a brief (*edit* no, not very brief at all, sorry) rundown of things -

1. The line was enormous. I practically cried when I saw that line, it was wonderful to see everyone together like that.

2. Joss, Clark Gregg and Nathan did walk down from the back of the line. (Everyone cheered for them.) I was actually too distracted by Joss to even notice Nathan at first. Or to take any pictures. I do have a nice picture of the back of Nathan's head. They all looked quite pleased, and Joss did a major thumbs up to somebody in my direction, and I'm going to pretend it was for me and my Buffy shirt.

3. As Matt said, the poor woman doing the introductions had to stop herself a few times to let everyone cheer their hearts out. Joss looked very touched when he came out.

4. The film: I loved it. I'd just finished reading the play for the first time this morning - and I definitely recommend doing so prior to seeing the film, because for me it felt like time travel: they spoke, the audience laughed, and I could vividly imagine people laughing at those same lines 400 years ago. And of course, Shakespeare aside, Joss was all over it. Little Joss bits punctuated everything, and they were hysterical. And I think reading the play will help appreciate them more.

I'd been a bit worried about the pacing, but it felt incredibly natural and spontaneous, as if it were all happening in real time. I feel, right now, as if I'd really been there and seen all of it happen - not the filming but the actual events that occur in the film. I feel like I've actually been in that house (which is actually a bit of a creepy feeling. I've been to Joss' kitchen...) and met all those characters and had drinks with them.

I loved the scenes between Benedict and Beatrice (it was so good to see those two together again). They were beautifully quiet and intimate. But then, Nathan and Tom Lenk were brilliant together (and both got cheers!). Fran Kranz did his usual thing of making me laugh then cry in rapid succession. (I love him so much.) And I especially liked Sean Maher - I don't remember whether he'd ever done Shakespeare but it's like he was born for it! He seemd most at home with the lines.

All of my gushing aside, I'm not that sure the film will do terribly well with "Muggles"; we're familiar with that cast, that crew, and that world, and I can't say how other people will see it. Perhaps it'll be just too low-budget and too simple for them. But then again, I was with someone who isn't as familiar with Joss' work and he loved it. I certainly hope people appreciate it as an adaptation - it's very loyal but very modern also, and the way it manages to add its own cleverness and originality to Shakespeare's is something I'd certainly never seen before, or even anticipated. Highly commendable stuff.

5. Afterwards, the whole cast came out... well, first of all, afterwards, there was a 5-minute standing ovation. Then the whole cast came out and got more ovationing. None of them got to say too much (and the questions were a bit disappointing - what scared them the most?) but everyone looked very happy and relieved. Joss said "we have no idea what the past two hours were like for him", he must have been extremely nervous about the reception and I hope the collective reaction has helped! My favourite bit, I think, was when the introduction-woman asked if she could ask the rest of the cast questions, Joss interrupted with a deadpan "No", and the brief look of shock on her face.

And finally 6. I took photographs inside, I will look through them later today, hopefully they won't be dreadful and I'll upload them - is there preferred way of doing that?

[ edited by prettymaryk on 2012-09-09 00:55 ]

[ edited by prettymaryk on 2012-09-09 00:57 ]
OOOOOH The Hollywood Reporter review is out, too!

TORONTO ó Fresh from saving the planet with The Avengers, Joss Whedon makes Generation Fanboy safe for the Bard in his laugh-stuffed Much Ado About Nothing; he even makes the play's "hey nonny nonny" ditty hummable. The picture kept the crowd howling and prompted a standing ovation at Saturday's Elgin Theater premiere, but even viewers not enlisted in Whedon's Browncoat cult will find much to like here.


~FS
prettymaryk, yeah I got there a bit over an hour before it was supposed to start and the line went so far that my wife had concerns about us getting in despite having tickets.

Joss, Clark Gregg and Nathan did walk down from the back of the line.


You mean the line to get in to the theatre or something else? Because I was about middle of the line and then got seats on the second floor and didn't see any of the cast until the movie ended. Or were they walking the line while it was moving and I had got in before they got to the front?
Joss should take this show on the road and screen it at different cities, like Portland, and bring the cast along. :)
Usually there is a market for films of Shakespeare plays, because there are a lot of people who love seeing new innovative productions (comparing to other productions and generally enjoying a new vision of a well known text). So I think a lot of people who have never heard of Joss or his past work would still be very open to giving this a try.
I sure do hope it attracts a distributor!!
Matt_Fabb - yes, the line to get into the theatre, the ticket-holders' line. They all walked by, not directly beside it of course but in the middle of the street. I'm not sure how you might've missed them - I don't know where they got out and started walking, maybe it was in front of you? I was closer to the beginning of the line (got great seats on the first floor) but they definitely started from further back.

[ edited by prettymaryk on 2012-09-09 01:50 ]
Apologies in advance for how disjointed this is. Just want to get it down before I forget anything.

What an amazing day (First of all it was torrential downpour where I live this morning and it didn't rain at all while we were waiting for the film AND the traffic into TO wasn't deadly). Went with fantastic friends who waited in the massive ticket-holder line so we could hang out by the red carpet. Here are my girl-friend's wonderful shots http://www.flickr.com/photos/7364492@N05/ Joss, Nathan and Clark Gregg all walked all the way down the line - which was very considerate of them, we thought. Pretty awesome to watch Joss walk down the barricaded off street with a nervous grin on his face. Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker and Nathan each spent a few minutes working the crowd.

We ended up with balcony seats which meant a perfect unobstructed view of the screen. I really loved that the ushers 'flashlight shamed' anybody with a cellphone on during the film.

Joss thanked Kai before the film for being both the reason it was made and for building the house it was shot in. Joss also mentioned how he had seen Anna Karenina in the same theatre the night before and now he doesn't want to show his movie anymore. He seemed so nervous!

Highlights:
Amy and Alexis verbally sparring with each other.

The physical comedy - especially Alexis - he played Benedick as a cross between Wesley and Sandy Rivers.

Nathan Fillion and Tom Lenk were hysterically funny together. Nathan really had no need to be nervous about performing Shakespeare - he nailed it.

The music is just lovely. Some great use of practical music!

Mixed in with the comedy is some capital D. drama. Amy and Fran stole the show in the drama department. Amy comes across as pretty badass a few times.

The way it is shot is thoughtful and creative but I agree with the poster above - it is intimate and you feel like you are right in the middle of it all.

This is a film made with an incredible amount of love and passion and that is what really comes across on the screen. My only sadness right now is that I can't immediately watch it again.
There were lovely cameos from Jed and Maurissa and then Zack as a drunk who kept pawing Amy.
And 2 friends were sure they saw Joss and Kai standing on the balcony overlooking the first party.
Lioness - I was thinking how I wanted to see it again so I could scan the party crowd for more familiar faces!
Thank you for the on-site reports!
Oh also forgot to mention that Joss had difficulty speaking for a few seconds when he came up after the film. Which was actually really sweet.

Nathan Fillion and Tom Lenk were hysterically funny together. Nathan really had no need to be nervous about performing Shakespeare - he nailed it.


I completely agree with this sentiment - Nathan seemed very natural with his dialogue and I kinda hoped he would have had more to do but Dogberry's one of those small but key roles ;P - but all of references to Nathan almost backing out of Much Ado About Nothing due to feeling like he couldn't do the material justice? I have to wonder...the man was apparently a month short of graduating from the University of Alberta with plans on teaching when he got the Joey Buchanan role on One Life to Live, so I can't see his degree program leaving out a need to take Shakespeare-oriented classes (I know I did when I was working on a BA in EngLit)...and depending on what level of students he was planning to teach, I think he would have received practice either way :P
That looked like something to me, simon. Cute picture. Thanks to all who attended and tweeted, wrote comments and reviews.
prettymaryk, I guessing you being at the front didn't realize the ticket holders line went down Younge Street, turning the corner of Shuter Street, pass Massey Hall, then around the corner down Victoria Street and then around the corner and down Queen Street and what looked like almost back on Yonge street again. So it literally when around the block that the Elgin theatre was on.

I was around the middle part of the line on Victoria Street literally at the back of the theatre. So people around my area of the line didn't get to see anyone go in. Once I got in most of the main floor was filled, just a few seats in the far back which looked like it was hard to see the screen, so I went up to the second floor. Which also meant I missed when I assume the cast and other people came into the theatre before the movie started, as all I heard is a lot of cheering and people taking pictures.

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