Much Ado About Nothing is a 2012 American romantic comedy film adapted for the screen, produced, and directed by Joss Whedon, from William Shakespeare's play of the same name. The film stars Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, Clark Gregg, Reed Diamond, Fran Kranz, Sean Maher, and Jillian Morgese.
The first feature film by Bellwether Pictures, Much Ado About Nothing premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival and had its North American theatrical release on June 21, 2013.
The plot of the film is largely unchanged from that of Shakespeare's original play. Differences include the modern-day setting, the switching of Conrade's gender, and expanding Ursula's role by giving her a number of of Margaret's scenes. The film's imagery advances an interpretation of the text, that Beatrice and Benedick had had a one-night stand before the plot unfolds. This interpretation emphasizes four lines from Act II, scene I, where Beatrice, responding to the accusation that she has "lost the heart" of Benedick, answers:
"Indeed my lord, he lent it me awhile; and I gave him use for it, a double heart for his single one: marry, once before he won it of me with false dice, therefore your grace may well say I have lost it."
The lines are overlined with images of Beatrice and Benedick as lovers, opening their path back to a lost love found, rather than finding it for the first time.
- Amy Acker as Beatrice, niece of Leonato.
- Alexis Denisof as Benedick, of Padua; companion of Don Pedro.
- Reed Diamond as Don Pedro, Prince of Aragon.
- Nathan Fillion as Dogberry, the constable in charge of Messina's night watch.
- Clark Gregg as Leonato, governor of Messina; Hero's father.
- Fran Kranz as Claudio, of Florence; a count, companion of Don Pedro, friend to Benedick.
- Sean Maher as Don John, "the Bastard Prince," brother of Don Pedro.
- Jillian Morgese as Hero, Leonato's daughter.
- Spencer Treat Clark as Borachio, follower of Don John.
- Riki Lindhome as Conrade, lover of Don John (originally, follower of Don John, a male role).
- Ashley Johnson as Margaret, waiting-gentlewoman attendant on Hero.
- Emma Bates as Ursula, waiting-gentlewoman attendant on Hero.
- Tom Lenk as Verges, the Headborough, Dogberry’s partner
- Nick Kocher as First watchman
- Brian McElhaney as Second watchman
- Joshua Zar as Leonato’s aide
- Paul M. Meston as Friar Francis, a priest.
- Romy Rosemont as The Sexton, the district attorney at Borachio and Conrade's interrogation (originally, the judge of the trial of Borachio, a male role).