American director Joss Whedon was taking a holiday from editing his big-budget picture The Avengers when he created his racy new version of Much Ado About Nothing.

The director, known for quirky hits like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog shot the low-budget film in 12 days in his own Santa Monica backyard.

Whedon is accustomed to writing his own scripts, so it was a challenge with work with the existing words, he says in an interview with CBC’s Eli Glasner.

But he considers it a "privilege" to adapt Shakespeare’s intricate game of love for the screen, saying he’s always admired its snappy dialogue.

The sparring lovers Beatrice (Amy Acker) and Benedick (Alexis Denisof) will be familiar to fans of Whedon’s earlier work — Acker starred in Angel and Cabin the Woods, Denisof was in Angel and Buffy. Also making an appearance is another of Whedon’s regulars from Buffy and Firefly, Edmonton-born actor Nathan Fillion, who plays Dogberry. 

Despite sticking closely to Shakespeare’s original text, Much Ado bears Whedon’s stamp, with each character’s motivations getting a careful examination, so that every facial expression, every reaction seems fresh and somehow inevitable.

Much Ado About Nothing was a Toronto International Film Festival special presentation. The black-and-white film was the first production of Bellwether, a mini-studio started by Whedon and Kai Cole.