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Old March 8 2013, 06:25 PM   #46
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Re: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

Kegg wrote: View Post
stj wrote: View Post
On the question of period appropriateness, was Shakespeare indifferent, or ignorant? Was Cleopatra dressed in kirtle and wimple because it didn't matter or because he didn't know any better?
Bit of both. The knowledge base Shakespeare and his contemporarenous Elizabethan playwrights had to draw on was a lot narrower than our own, but he never let the stated facts of a story get in the way of whatever he'd prefer to do.
It's also a matter of differences in our cultural conventions. We've inherited this notion of storytelling that tries to accurately reflect reality, to the point where we like our movies and our plays to even look like completely accurate re-creations of physical reality. The Elizabethans, however, had a completely different set of theatrical conventions; to them, the theatre was a means of communication, and the presence of the author was not something that had to be hidden away as it is in modern conventions. They weren't concerned with trying to be too realistic, because Realism/Naturalism wasn't a convention that had yet developed. That goes beyond things like using conventions such as the soliloquy or "breaking the fourth wall" (of course, they had no concept of a "fourth wall") by having players speak to the audience -- they were often perfectly happy to depict ancient cultures in modern costume, for instance, and had no qualms about projecting their cultural values into others. Plays had a deliberately artificial quality to them that we're just not generally as familiar with in the modern era, and the idea of trying to make the audience "suspend disbelief" and forget they are seeing a play just wasn't a meaningful concept for them.

Add to this the fact that the theatre was, at the end of the day, a mechanism for propaganda as much as it was anything else; all plays had to be approved by the Master of the Revels, and theatrical performances were subject to heavy censorship from the Elizabethan/Jacobian dictatorships. Elizabethan/early modern authors were very conscious of the fact that they were shaping the public's understanding of historical events for political purposes -- this was not something they shied away from. Hence why King MacBeth is the epitome of temptation and corruption, and the ancestors of King James are depicted so heroically.
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Old March 8 2013, 06:37 PM   #47
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Re: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

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Our first trailer for the film, with release dates, and the international poster! I can't wait for this.

http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=101250
Wow.

That looks like a porn parody of itself. The cinematography in stuff that Whedon's directed has never been particularly good, but that is just comical. It's like the camera work was done by a sophomore from Hofstra.

Oh, Jesus, the DP is the guy who shoots Kitchen Nightmares and other reality television shows. This explains everything.
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Old March 9 2013, 01:14 AM   #48
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Re: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

^Come on, this is a low-budget film that Whedon shot in 12 days in his house. One should set one's expectations for the production values appropriately.

And I think Whedon's a good cinematographer. I loved his long master takes in Serenity, the Angel season 5 premiere, and the like.
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Old March 9 2013, 01:18 AM   #49
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Re: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

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^Come on, this is a low-budget film that Whedon shot in 12 days in his house. One should set one's expectations for the production values appropriately.
No kidding. Wasn't he filming this in secret while he was in the middle of making The Avengers? It's hardly a major production.
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Old March 9 2013, 02:20 AM   #50
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Re: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

Christopher wrote: View Post
^Come on, this is a low-budget film that Whedon shot in 12 days in his house. One should set one's expectations for the production values appropriately.

And I think Whedon's a good cinematographer. I loved his long master takes in Serenity, the Angel season 5 premiere, and the like.
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Christopher wrote: View Post
^Come on, this is a low-budget film that Whedon shot in 12 days in his house. One should set one's expectations for the production values appropriately.
No kidding. Wasn't he filming this in secret while he was in the middle of making The Avengers? It's hardly a major production.
It has a Clerks air about it, doesn't it? Especially being in Black & White.

Much Ado is without a doubt my favorite of Shakespeare comedies. In fact I drafted a screenplay of it myself, set just after the Mexican-American war. It took place in southern Texas, with Colonel Pedro being an Mexican American soldier and his bastard brother, being half Mexican and half Irish. I'll stop here not to bore you with the rest of the details, still my favorite thing I ever wrote.
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Old March 9 2013, 02:54 AM   #51
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Re: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

Christopher wrote: View Post
^Come on, this is a low-budget film that Whedon shot in 12 days in his house. One should set one's expectations for the production values appropriately.
Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog was shot in six days and at least approached having competent photography. Whedon could have afforded a decent camera and a shooter who knew how to light a scene.
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Old March 9 2013, 01:13 PM   #52
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Re: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

Add to this the fact that the theatre was, at the end of the day, a mechanism for propaganda as much as it was anything else; all plays had to be approved by the Master of the Revels, and theatrical performances were subject to heavy censorship from the Elizabethan/Jacobian dictatorships. Elizabethan/early modern authors were very conscious of the fact that they were shaping the public's understanding of historical events for political purposes -- this was not something they shied away from. Hence why King MacBeth is the epitome of temptation and corruption, and the ancestors of King James are depicted so heroically.
And then there's Richard III, which is a very good play, but it reads like a propaganda piece more than everything ... Not surprising, considering Richard was the one whom Elizabeth I's granddad defeated on his way to the throne. Not that historical Richard III was a saint or something, but Shakespeare presents him as a complete monster devoid of humanity.
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Old March 9 2013, 01:49 PM   #53
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Re: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

Shurik wrote: View Post
Add to this the fact that the theatre was, at the end of the day, a mechanism for propaganda as much as it was anything else; all plays had to be approved by the Master of the Revels, and theatrical performances were subject to heavy censorship from the Elizabethan/Jacobian dictatorships. Elizabethan/early modern authors were very conscious of the fact that they were shaping the public's understanding of historical events for political purposes -- this was not something they shied away from. Hence why King MacBeth is the epitome of temptation and corruption, and the ancestors of King James are depicted so heroically.
And then there's Richard III, which is a very good play, but it reads like a propaganda piece more than everything ... Not surprising, considering Richard was the one whom Elizabeth I's granddad defeated on his way to the throne. Not that historical Richard III was a saint or something, but Shakespeare presents him as a complete monster devoid of humanity.
And on the flip side, there's Henry V, which depicts the title character in such unambiguously heroic terms that it would rival a North Korean biography of Kim Il-Sung in terms of being cult-of-personality propaganda.

But then, part of Shakespeare's genius was his ability to compose works of propaganda that are nonetheless brilliant, compelling stories.
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Old March 9 2013, 03:21 PM   #54
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Re: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

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...works of propaganda that are nonetheless brilliant, compelling stories.
Perhaps then we should reconsider our notions of brilliance and what makes a compelling story?

Shakespeare pioneered the use of prose instead of verse. Shakespeare also progressively eliminated the use of clowns in drama. His personal evolution strikes me as being impelled by notions of naturalism or realism that are unavoidably less developed than ours, but are still efforts to be more faithful to his vision of humanity.

Within the proper political limits. There is however not the slightest indication that he had any problem with advocating any and every policy of those in power. Shakespeare's relations with the powerful was so strong that he and the Globe theater survived Essex's rebellion unscathed. Even though Essex had arranged a showing of Richard II (as I recall) to prime the public! Personally, I suspect the company informed to the government as quickly as possible, which is why there was no political discomfort.

I can only suspect this as someone bemused by the insistence that Shakespeare is the inventor of the human. That seems to be the real position of most Shakespeare lovers, even if they are more discreet in their wording than Msgr. Bloom. (A marginal note: One of Harry Turtledove's halfway decent books, Ruled Britannia, was inspired by this incident.)

The memory of highly stylized, non-realistic morality plays was still extant in Shakespeare's. Really, I've wondered if Othello isn't in many respects a hidden morality play about envy, with sexual jealousy thrown in for special thrills. At any rate, the trend of the Elizabethan and Jacobean theater I think was definitely aiming at more naturalism and realism.
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Old March 9 2013, 04:12 PM   #55
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Re: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

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He did, yes. Joss and some of his "regulars" (writers and cast both) have been doing Shakespeare readings at his house for over a decade prior to deciding to film this adaptation.
Yeah, I do that all the time as well! er, no, shit I'm happy if I can get people to watch a movie or football game...

Timby wrote: View Post
Admiral_Young wrote: View Post
Our first trailer for the film, with release dates, and the international poster! I can't wait for this.

http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=101250
Wow.

That looks like a porn parody of itself. The cinematography in stuff that Whedon's directed has never been particularly good, but that is just comical. It's like the camera work was done by a sophomore from Hofstra.

Oh, Jesus, the DP is the guy who shoots Kitchen Nightmares and other reality television shows. This explains everything.
If I had just seen that trailer with no context as-is with Acker and Denisof in Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing I think I would've thought it was parody.

And in my mind you can't just remove the color when filming black-and-white you need to play with contrast, shadows, grain, etc.
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Old March 10 2013, 06:22 AM   #56
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Re: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

Let's be honest, this was something that at least on some level was done among friends for shits and giggles. If it were directed by anyone other than Joss Whedon (who not only has a cult following, but now a bunch of newfound industry clout thanks to The Avengers making a shit-ton of money), they'd be lucky to be giving out burned DVD copies in the parking lot at SXSW, much less having a red carpet screening.
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Old March 10 2013, 12:28 PM   #57
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Re: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

Here's a review of it from Ain't It Cool News from SXSW

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/61378
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Old March 10 2013, 04:10 PM   #58
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Re: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

cardinal biggles wrote: View Post
Let's be honest, this was something that at least on some level was done among friends for shits and giggles. If it were directed by anyone other than Joss Whedon (who not only has a cult following, but now a bunch of newfound industry clout thanks to The Avengers making a shit-ton of money), they'd be lucky to be giving out burned DVD copies in the parking lot at SXSW, much less having a red carpet screening.
Right. This is basically a Shakespeare fan film made by an aficionado and his friends. It's just that the aficionado happens to be one of the biggest names in the industry right now and his friends are actors with devoted cult followings.

Of course, that's not to discount the film's merits. I really, really want to see this movie, and I agree with the AICN guy that I hope Whedon does this regularly. Let's have the Mutant Enemy Theatrical Company putting out a series of adaptations of the Bard's entire canon.
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Old March 10 2013, 04:31 PM   #59
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Re: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

Tom Hendricks wrote: View Post
Here's a review of it from Ain't It Cool News from SXSW

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/61378
I haven't seen it yet (and i will even if i have to go to the cinema on my own) but what the reviewer said about Whedon himself is spot on.

This was a passion project, shot on the cheap with some friends who share that passion.. it's basically a Shakespeare fan film and i can't wait to see it.
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Old March 10 2013, 08:26 PM   #60
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Re: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

I hope what I said above didn't sound like I was trying to discount my enthusiasm; Much Ado is #2 on my must-see movies list for this coming summer, behind Star Trek.
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