Whedon’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ is Something Mainly Due to Avoiding a Film Permit

By Lisa Waugh

This is a backyard project that I’d have no problem working on. And having produced quite a few backyard projects, it’s rare that you have this kind of director, cast and crew plus location. But if you have all of that at your disposal…well, you gotta possibly shine on the permit. Cause this is a film based on one of Skakepeare’s beloved comedies with one of America’s best loved directors. Hey noni noni, yo. Short for “We don’t need no stinking permits.”

If you’re a Whedon fan and more specifically a BuffyAngel, Firely and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D  fan, you’ll recognize many of the actors in the cast. Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof (married in real life to Alyson Hannigan) are longtime friends and remnants of the Angel cast. Denisof and Hannigan are godparents to Whedon’s child, Ardin. Denisof and Acker are well matched as Beatrice and Benedick.

Equally good are Fran Kranz as Claudio and Jillian Morgese at Hero.

Lenk and Fillion play Verges and Dogberry as though this were SVU

You’ll recognize Nathan Fillion from Firefly, Serenity and Dr. Terrible’s Singalong Blog as a delightful Dogberry. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. star Clark Gregg does a wonderful turn as Leonato. Tom Lenk was one of my favorite super nerds on Buffy and does a terrific Verges.

But there’s so much to the making of this film that a comprehensive article on the subject is right here from Film School Rejects.

The most stellar bit for me is that Whedon pulled no permits and received complaints from the neighbors about parking. So the cops came, told them to stop filming. They did. And fired right up again as soon as they left.

Whedon didn’t believe he needed a permit because he was shooting on his own property. That is not the case. Even if you’re shooting on your own space, you’ve got to pull the permit for fire reasons and parking mainly.

Now, I believe in film permits for one reason. It keeps filming going and it keeps the asshole neighbors from ruining your shoot. I even live in the same city as Whedon. We call it The People’s Republic of Santa Monica so he must truly be a big deal on his block to keep the Santa Monica permitting office and the cops off his ass. Seriously, that’s real pull in this town because you’re probably living between Albert Brooks and Larry David and they do not give a shit about your little shoot.

I quite enjoyed the Whedoness of Much Ado About Nothing and am always impressed by how he continues to take on new things. It’s nice to see a super nerd working so hard.