Watch a 5-Minute Samurai Film from Gareth Evans
There’s something oddly charming about small-scale, off-the-cuff vanity projects from major filmmakers. Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing didn’t radically reimagine the Bard’s original text, but the context of production lent the film an immediately likable vibe. As legend goes, Whedon was having some of his closest chums/collaborators over for cocktails at his Los Angeles mansion when they decided it would be boozy fun to rattle off a little Shakespeare. They had such a good time, Whedon figured it could be cool to shoot it all and keep costs low by staging it around his house. The resulting product is a breezy but minor project with a healthy sense of spontaneity that shows off the filmmaker’s resourcefulness with a budget of practically zero.