Toronto Film Fest: Joss Whedon's ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ Goes to Lionsgate

Toronto Film Fest: Joss Whedon's 'Much Ado About Nothing' Goes to Lionsgate

Joss Whedon, who directed the blockbuster hit "The Avengers," retells the Shakespeare classic in black and white

Joss Whedon's much-talked-about take on "Much Ado About Nothing" has been picked up for North American distribution by Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions, the companies announced Tuesday in Toronto.

Whedon's black-and-white, modern-day adaptation of the classic Shakespeare comedy  premiered Saturday at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Getty ImagesWhedon, creator of "Firefly," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel," directed this summer's  blockbuster hit "The Avengers." In contrast to that big-budget endeavor, Whedon shot "Much Ado" in less than two weeks at his home in Santa Monica.

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The film features a cast of former Whedon collaborators, including "Castle" star Nathan Fillion ("Serenity," "Firefly," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") as Dogberry, Alexis Denisof ("Dollhouse") and Amy Acker ("Dollhouse," Angel") as the sparring couple Beatrice and Benedick, and Fran Kranz ("Dolhouse") and newcomer Jillian Morgese and as lovers Claudio and Hero.

Whedon produced and co-wrote last year's horror thriller "The Cabin in the Woods" for Lionsgate.

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"I am thrilled to be working with my cronies at Lionsgate again, and with the Roadside team," Whedon said. "That they all embrace a Shakespearean romance with the same enthusiasm they had for 'Cabin in the Woods' shows that they're exactly the mad fools that we want to be partying — I mean working — with."

The deal was negotiated by Lionsgate president of acquisitions and co-productions Jason Constantine, with SVP of acquisitions Eda Kowan and EVP of business and legal affairs Wendy Jaffe.

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"Much Ado" is the first feature from Whedon’s Bellwether Pictures, which he created with his wife, Kai Cole. Whedon and Cole produced, with Daniel Kaminsky (who served as Whedon's assistant on "The Avengers") co-producing.