"Deciding to film in your house means you can walk around with a glass of wine and go, 'move that!'" he laughs. "The location scout was maybe my favourite ever."
Whedon is the sort of creative force with whom actors love to work; everyone juggled their schedules to be available for the Much Ado shoot on very short notice. I ask him whether there's anything he does with actors that other writers and directors don't.
"The safety of a set is sacred to me"" he says after a moment's thought. "You know, I never studied directing; I never really studied writing. I don't know some secret language; I was like, 'I don't know the handshake! I'm not gonna be able to direct!'
"But what I understand is what an actor wants to know. 'Why am I doing this, and how should it come out?' And 'Will I be safe to try something strange?' And 'Will I be asked to do more?' I don't come at it from any other standpoint than that; I come at it from, 'How can I help you the most? I can't manipulate you, or bully you, or explain things to you in some visual, crazy way. I can only say, 'You are sad now. But the scene has to be funny. So how are we gonna combine those things?'
"Just clarity and honesty has gotten me so far," he says. "And these extraordinary actors? I give them notes, and I guide them, but the point is they were all that good when I met them. My talent is just in knowing that."