MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

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NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Vanessa.

Much Ado About Nothing is an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play of the same name.  Directed and Produced by Joss Whedon, the movie takes place in a modern setting, but uses the original language of the play. 

The film is presented in black and white. 

The characters are as follows:

  • Leonato (Clark Gregg) - Nobleman, owner of house where movie is set
  • Hero (Jillian Morgese) - Daughter of Leonato
  • Margaret (Ashley Johnson) - Hero’s servant
  • Beatrice (Amy Acker) - Niece to Leonato and cousin to Hero
  • Don Pedro (Reed Diamond) - Nobleman, often referred to as “Prince”, friend of Leonato
  • Benedick (Alexis Denisof) - A soldier who fought under Don Pedro
  • Claudio (Fran Kranz) - Young soldier who fought under Don Pedro
  • Don John (Sean Maher) - Brother to Don Pedro
  • Borachio (Spencer Treat Clark) - Associate of Don John
  • Conrade (Riki Lindhome) - Associate of Don John (female in this version, and Don John’s lover)
  • Dogberry (Nathan Fillion) - Head of security team
  • Verges (Tom Lenk) - Dogberry’s deputy

The movie opens with a flashback scene of Benedick and Beatrice waking up in bed together.  Benedick gets dressed while Beatrice pretends to be asleep.  Benedick leaves.

In the present, Beatrice, Hero, Leonato and the servants are in the kitchen cooking.  Leonato announces he has learned that Don Pedro is coming and will bring Claudio with him.  Beatrice asks if Benedick is coming and we learn that she and Benedick have an ongoing battle of wits.

The soldiers arrive, with Don John and Conrad handcuffed with zip ties.  They are cut free upon arrival.  Leonato and the household come out to greet Benedick and Don Pedro.

Benedick and Claudio go inside to move into the room they will stay in.  It looks like a small girl’s room, and is filled with stuffed animals, a dollhouse and Barbies.  As they enter, Claudio confesses to Benedick that he is in love with Hero.  Benedick teases him, and proclaims he will never marry.  When Don Pedro enters, Benedick tells him of Claudio’s love, and Don Pedro promises to help him by wooing Hero in Claudio’s name.

Meanwhile, in another room in the house, Don John and Conrad kiss and Don John begins undressing her when Borachio enters the room.  He tells them the news that Claudio loves Hero and Don Pedro plans to woo her for Claudio.  Don John vows to find away to upset their plans.

That night, they have a masquerade party at the house.  Beatrice unknowingly makes fun of Benedick in front of him while he is wearing a full-face mask.  Don John flirts with a servant girl.  A pair of trapeze artists dance together on a suspended swing.  Don Pedro dances with Hero while Claudio wanders around somewhat aimlessly.

Later, as Claudio is standing in the pool with a drink in hand, Don John, Conrad and Borachio surface from beneath the water to tell him that he has been fooled, and Don Pedro has actually won Hero for himself.  Claudio believes them, and angrily comes into the house where Don Pedro laughingly reveals that he has won Hero for Claudio, and obtained the father’s blessing for him.

Hero, Claudio, Leonato and Don Pedro then plot to bring Benedick and Beatrice together by tricking them into believing that the other has already professed their love.

Don John overhears the wedding plans and again plans to ruin the wedding.  Borachio suggests that he will have sex with Margaret, Hero’s maid, at the window of Hero’s room after dark.  Don John simply needs to bring Claudio by the window, and seeing them, he will assume Hero is unfaithful.  

In another part of the house, Don Pedro, Leonato and Claudio put their plan into motion.  They talk about how Beatrice has confessed her love for Benedick but refuses to admit it to him, unless he confesses love first.  During their conversation, Benedick listens from outside the window, and rather obviously scrambles to get closer and hear what they are saying.  The three inside can clearly see him, but pretend to be unaware that his is watching.  

Hearing this news, Benedict decides that he will love her back.  When she comes out to call him in for dinner, he awkwardly talks to her while doing push-ups and flexing.  She goes back in and he is convinced that her actions prove that she loves him.

Inside, Beatrice “overhears” Hero and a servant talking about how Benedick loves Beatrice, but is too proud to admit it because he knows he will be rejected.  Beatrice also decides that she loves Benedick.

Later, Don Pedro and Claudio find Benedick in his room, clean-shaven and staring at a framed picture of Beatrice.  They laugh with each other that their plan is working.  However, Don John then comes into the room to tell them that Hero is not a maid.  He offers to prove it to them by bringing them to her bedroom window that evening, where they will surely see her with the man she has been sleeping with.  Claudio and Don Pedro agree to come.

Meanwhile, the security team is getting ready to patrol for the night.  The leader of security, Dogberry gives comical commands to his guards, including to tell any drunkards to go to bed, but if they will not, to leave them alone until they are sober; and if a child cries in the night, call the nurse to quiet it, but if the nurse will not wake up, let the child cry until she does.

As two of the watchmen go out to walk the perimeter of the house, they spy Borachio and Conrad talking about how Borachio fooled Claudio and Don Pedro into thinking Hero was unfaithful, because they saw a pair of lovers at Hero’s window.  Borachio tells Conrad how he tricked Margaret into fooling them.  The guards arrest the pair.

The next morning, everyone is preparing for the wedding.

Dogberry and Verges come to Leonato to tell him of the pair they caught lurking about last night and how they wish to question them.  Leonato requests that they take care of it without him as he is busy at the moment.

The wedding begins, but immediately Claudio asks if anyone has any objections, and when none do he yells accusations that Hero is not a maid.  He calls her a rotten orange, and says she blushes with guiltiness, not with modesty.  He says he saw her at the window with another man.  Hero denies all and collapses into tears.  Don Pedro proclaims that he too saw evidence of Hero’s unfaithfulness.  Claudio and Don Pedro leave. Looking to defend Hero, Benedick asks if Beatrice shared a bed with Hero last night, but she tearfully says she did not.  Hero seems to faint and her father proclaims that it would be better if she died than to live with this shame.  The priest then suggests that they pretend that she is dead until proof can be found of her innocence.  Only Leonato, Benedick and Beatrice know the truth.

After the wedding disaster, Benedick comes to talk to Beatrice and confesses that he loves her.  She said she love him too and they kiss.  She then asks him to kill Claudio.  Benedick refuses, but says he will set things right in another way.

In a holding room somewhere on the estate, Dogberry and Verges begin to question Conrade and Borachio.  The guards who brought them in report on how they heard the two talking about how the falsely accused Hero.  Dogberry orders them bound and takes them to Leonato. Conrad calls Dogberry an ass, which bothers Dogberry so much that he repeatedly brings it up in the list of accusations of the two.

Conrade and Borachio are brought to Leonato and confess the plot to him.  We learn that Don John has fled.

Claudio and Don Pedro reappear and are told by Benedick that Hero is dead.  Leonato scolds them for believing the falsehood so quickly and for essentially killing his daughter.  Claudio throws himself on Leonato’s mercy.  Leonato orders them to mourn Hero with them that night, and then, the following morning to be wedded to his niece, who is a near copy of Hero.  Claudio agrees.

At the wedding the next day, Claudio is presented with his bride, and when he lifts the veil he discovers it is Hero.  The two are married.  Benedick asks for Beatrice to come forward and asks her if she loves him.  She, embarrassed, replies that she does not.  He then claims that he doesn’t love her either.  However, Claudio and Hero disappear inside and return with two love letters - one written by Beatrice to Benedick and one written from Benedick to Beatrice.  The pair read each other’s letters and admit that they do love each other.  They are also married. 

A messenger arrives with the news (via a new video on a smart phone) that Don John has been captured.

The whole household celebrates that evening with another elaborate party.  Benedick and Beatrice stand off to the side of the room kissing and the scene fades to black.


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