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|Whedon’s Changes in His Modernized Version of Much Ado About Nothing|
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0269 Wednesday, 5 June 2013
Date: Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Subject: Whedon’s Changes in His Modernized Version of Much Ado About Nothing
Mike Jensen regularly shares with a group of Shakespeare and film aficionados news about that topic.
In his most recent mailing he wrote about another article sent to him by Jeffrey Kahan about changes Joss Whedon made in his soon to be released modernized version of Much Ado About Nothing. My thanks to both Jeff and Mike.
The article “4 changes Joss Whedon made to Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing” appeared in Yahoo! News’ The Week on Tuesday June 4, 2013, and is by Scott Meslow: http://news.yahoo.com/4-changes-joss-whedon-made-shakespeares-much-ado-135900783.html
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At a time when some are lamenting the end of the romantic comedy, Whedon has delivered one of the sleekest and funniest in ages, which is all the more impressive for being filmed in just 12 days at his personal residence. However, he modestly gives most of the credit to Shakespeare himself. “[Shakespeare is] basically pulling apart the idea of the rom-com. Which he is inventing,” said Whedon at a recent post-screening Q&A at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. “That, to me, is impressive.”
On the surface, Whedon’s film takes a number of liberties with Shakespeare’s original play. It’s safe to assume that the Bard wouldn’t have imagined the play’s 16th-century Messina setting as a modern mansion packed with cars, guns, snazzy suits, and fizzy cocktails. Or constables Dogberry and Verges as dumb-guy cops who would fit right in with the Reno 911! crew.
But in both text and tone, Whedon is admirably faithful to Shakespeare’s play — with a few key exceptions. What alterations distinguish Whedon’s modern film version from Shakespeare’s original text?
1. Conrade is a woman
2. Hero witnesses her own “funeral”
3. Benedick’s anti-Semitic reference has been cut
4. Hero spends 100 percent less time twirling