On yesterday’s “Sunday Morning” show on CBS, in a feature about “The Avengers” writer/director/super-geek Joss Whedon the first footage from “Much Ado About Nothing,” his micro-budgeted Shakespeare adaptation that he shot in a two week window during post-production on “The Avengers,” debuted. And it’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect, the small scale antidote to his superhero romp, which is poised to be the summer’s first bona fide blockbuster (and with good reason – it rules). But things aren’t so happy everywhere in Whedonville, as his recent horror movie Rubik’s Cube “Cabin In The Woods” is getting an inglorious debut in other parts of the world.
First, the “Much Ado About Nothing” footage – fast-forward to the six minute mark if you want to take a gander, although the whole video is pretty interesting, especially because you get some quotes from his wife Kai, who seems to be always alluded to but never seen. We just see a couple of glimpses of scenes, including one with “Dollhouse“/”Cabin In The Woods” nerd Fran Kranz spitting verse as Claudio (and Clark Gregg from “The Avengers,” as Leonato, looking on and nodding). Since the movie was shot in Whedon’s home, everyone is dressed in suits, not ultra-modern, but still pretty modern. We also see a bit of a party scene and glimpse another Whedon favorite, “Angel” star Amy Acker, as Beatrice. Apparently the movie was also shot in black-and-white, which probably adds a certain amount of glamorous production value to a movie that was shot in 12 days.
After the clip we see Whedon walking around his house, pointing out where scenes were shot – “The masked ball is all out here,” he notes, clearly proud of both the production and his home.
But not everything is rosy for Whedon, as late last week it was confirmed by Village Roadshow, the production/distribution entity most known in America for co-financing the “Matrix” movies with Joel Silver and Warner Bros., is sending “Cabin in the Woods,” which Whedon co-wrote (with director Drew Goddard) and produced, direct-to-DVD in Australia and New Zealand. The horror! The horror!
As HitFix points out, this is baffling for a number of reasons, first and foremost the fact that “Cabin In The Woods” would be coming out in those territories AFTER “The Avengers.” Everyone will go see (and love) “The Avengers.” Wouldn’t you be able to work that higher profile for Whedon into the promotion of “Cabin In The Woods?” Everyone was so worried about how they could market a movie that corkscrews in on itself like “Cabin In The Woods” does, well, here’s your hook – “From the director of ‘The Avengers.'”
The other really confounding issue is that there is a New Zealand actress and an Australian actor in the cast – Anna Hutchison as Jules, aka the girl that makes out with the wolf head, is from New Zealand and Chris Hemsworth aka Thor (!) is from Australia. But no, direct-to-video you go, amazing horror send-up!
Oh, and in the same report, it seems that the Village Roadshow backed “The Chernobyl Diaries,” the found-footage thriller based around the site of the infamous 1986 nuclear power plant meltdown, has also been relegated to home video in those territories too. But that makes sense since it’s likely going to be total balls.