Poised before a lawn full of film enthusiasts seated on blankets and in folding chairs, many with alcoholic beverages in hand, the cast of “Much Ado About Nothing” reminisced and laughed as though they were being featured on a reunion special of a reality show.
The film kicked off the Oscar outdoors summer screening series Wednesday night at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s Hollywood campus. Scents of grilled meats wafting from food trucks filled the air.
In a Q&A; with the audience following the screening, the cast, free of iambic pentameter and their inhibitions, openly aired embarrassing moments on set, discussed their own doubts in making the film and some even begged for work. Joss Whedon, the film’s director, acknowledged his high stress level shooting the film in 12 days, saying the schedule nearly gave him heart palpitations.
The director avoided real heart palpitations when an audience member asked him about the film's cost. Dodging the question, he alluded to the money fior the project, much of which he and his wife put up, as a “micro-budget.”
“Whatever you’re thinking, it’s less,” he joked, surrounded by cast members.
Nathan Fillion, who plays Dogberry in the film, jumped in quickly to relieve some of the tension by addressing the audience member who posed the question.
“Did we have the money to fix the script is what you’re saying,” Fillion interjected, leaving the hooded sweatshirt and scarf-clad audience laughing.
Amid the sounds of cellphone photos being taken, corks popping from bottles of wine and champagne and couples canoodling on their blankets, Shakespearean English and laughter filled the outdoor venue.
Whedon said it was important that he stick to the script of William Shakespeare’s play rather than updating the language to more modern English. He likened Shakespeare’s writing to the Marvel comic book series that spawned his blockbuster "The Avengers."
“This and Marvel, they both have set structures. Shakespeare has his, and you don’t try to outsmart Shakespeare,” Whedon said.
Alexis Denisof, who played Benedic, said on the red carpet before the screening that the lines were challenging to memorize at times, but he had to have them perfect.
“Shakespeare is not a place where you can really improvise,” Denisof said.
Throughout the evening, actors, event coordinators and others joked about the Bard, saying he couldn’t make it or that he would be so pleased their rendition.
"Much Ado About Nothing" will reach select theaters Friday and will be released nationwide June 21.