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In The Works: Whedon’s ‘Much Ado’ and Supernatural Romance; Cody’s ‘Sweet Valley’ R-Rated Musical

In The Works: Whedon's 'Much Ado' and Supernatural Romance; Cody's 'Sweet Valley' R-Rated Musical

With “The Avengers” (May 4) in the bag, director Joss Whedon has already shot a “Much Ado About Nothing” adaptation. He shot the film in twelve days in “glorious black and white,” with “Firefly”‘s Nathan Fillion and “a stellar cast of beloved (or soon to be beloved) actors”) and now plans a supernatural romance with actress Abigail Spencer (“Mad Men,” “Oz, The Great and Powerful”).  Spencer tells Vulture: “It’s the most romantic film in the history of time. It’s a supernatural romance.”

– “Young Adult” and “Juno” writer Diablo Cody, who had a hand in writing FilmDistrict’s upcoming “Evil Dead” remake, is giving tween novel series “Sweet Valley High” (in development at Universal) the R-rated musical treatment. She told MTV “I am so excited about ‘Sweet Valley High.’ There’s original songs being written for it right now, which is the most exciting development. They’re amazing. They’re being written by these Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning songwriters from Broadway [Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt],” adding, “It’s going to blow people’s minds.” She wants it to be “American Graffiti” for the 1980s.

Should it go well, “Sweet Valley High” could spawn a franchise, given the dozens of novels in its repertoire. Cody is currently in production on her directorial debut, the Mandate Pictures religion-comedy “Lamb of God,” with Golden Globe winner Octavia Spencer, Russell Brand, Holly Hunter and Julianne Hough.

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