On the surface, you might not see that Marvel’s The Avengers and Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing share much in common. But perhaps you don’t see what Joss Whedon does.
The director behind last year’s record-breaking superhero movie and this coming summer’s micro-budget Shakespeare adaptation spoke with The Village Voice about similarities between tackling Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and one of the Bard’s wittiest comedies. For Whedon, the shared challenge lies in finding something unique to bring to these already widely adored tales.
“That’s the fun of taking a sacred text — do I have anything to offer? I’m here trying to figure out why Ursula is in this scene the same way I’m trying to figure out why Hawkeye is in this fight — you want everybody to shine,” he said. “That’s sort of what all of my stuff is about: Every character gets to stand up and say, ‘I’m here, I exist, I matter, here’s why.'”
The story of how Whedon’s Much Ado came about has been widely reported: The director was on a mandatory break between shooting The Avengers and entering a long period of post-production. He chose to use that time to make yet another movie — the Shakespeare adaptation, shot at his house over the course of 12 days.
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige gives the Voice a wonderful quote that summarizes Whedon’s seemingly obsessive work ethic: “That’s how he decompresses. He decompresses from making a movie by making another movie. Which is pretty sad.”
Well, now that Marvel knows about Whedon’s decompression tactics, perhaps they’ll offer him a Heroes For Hire short to write and direct between filming and post-production on The Avengers 2. Hey, one can dream! And maybe something like that isn’t too far out of the realm of possibility, considering how Whedon describes working on the Avengers sequel.
“Right now, I’ve got my secret passion project, and it’s Avengers. Well, it’s a secret that it’s my passion project,” Whedon said. “People go, ‘But what are you really interested in?’ like that’s my day job. But they don’t understand that I have the world’s greatest day job.”