BY Tom Lenk
June 21 2013 7:00 AM ET
Above: Fran Kranz as Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing
During a short break from writing and directing installments of the Avengers franchise, instead of taking a relaxing vacation, Joss Whedon (The Cabin in the Woods, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) assembled a team of familiar faces from his previous works and filmed an entire Shakespearean film over the course of just 12 days, using his own home as the backdrop. Set in the modern day and filmed in black and white using the original text, it’s definitely not what you would expect from Thor’s boss.
When Whedon asked if I wanted to be in his movie, I immediately said yes, and decided to hold off on telling him about that C I got in my senior-year UCLA Shakespearean acting class. (Shhhhhh! Secrets!). He partnered me with Castle’s Nathan Fillion (dreamy!) and let me live out my cop show fantasy of sporting my first-ever legit moustache.
I pulled Whedon away from his duties on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Avengers 2 for a phone chat about Much Ado.
Joss Whedon: Really quickly, are you wearing a hat with a card in it that says "Press"? And a pencil in your ear?
Tom Lenk: Yes, but I’m not wearing pants. That does bring me to the fact that I’ve never done an interview before, so this is like playing football for the first time — at the Super Bowl. I’m really excited. OK here we go. Hello, Joss.
You’ve been a trailblazer for the LGBT community through your characters and story lines — thank you for that, by the way! Shakespeare never gave us any obviously gay story lines, but from what I can see on my Facebook newsfeed, the gays are very excited about Much Ado. Do you think that’s because it’s originally a theater piece?
I think there’s an element of theatricality that comes from…well, it’s a play. [Laughs.] There’s just a smooth kind of old-fashioned, timeless elegance. Like Rosalind Russell might pop up in it — and then there are some extraordinarily gorgeous men.