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In The Works: Whedon's 'Much Ado' and Supernatural Romance; Cody's 'Sweet Valley' R-Rated Musical

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood January 16, 2012 at 4:43PM

With "The Avengers" (May 4) in the bag, director Joss Whedon has already shot a "Much Ado About Nothing" adaptation. He shot the film in twelve days in "glorious black and white," with "Firefly"'s Nathan Fillion and "a stellar cast of beloved (or soon to be beloved) actors") and now plans a supernatural romance with actress Abigail Spencer ("Mad Men," "Oz, The Great and Powerful"). Spencer tells Vulture: "It’s the most romantic film in the history of time. It’s a supernatural romance."
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Diablo Cody | Joss Whedon
Diablo Cody | Joss Whedon

With "The Avengers" (May 4) in the bag, director Joss Whedon has already shot a "Much Ado About Nothing" adaptation. He shot the film in twelve days in "glorious black and white," with "Firefly"'s Nathan Fillion and "a stellar cast of beloved (or soon to be beloved) actors") and now plans a supernatural romance with actress Abigail Spencer ("Mad Men," "Oz, The Great and Powerful").  Spencer tells Vulture: "It’s the most romantic film in the history of time. It’s a supernatural romance."

- "Young Adult" and "Juno" writer Diablo Cody, who had a hand in writing FilmDistrict's upcoming "Evil Dead" remake, is giving tween novel series "Sweet Valley High" (in development at Universal) the R-rated musical treatment. She told MTV "I am so excited about 'Sweet Valley High.' There's original songs being written for it right now, which is the most exciting development. They're amazing. They're being written by these Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning songwriters from Broadway [Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt]," adding, "It's going to blow people's minds." She wants it to be "American Graffiti" for the 1980s.

Should it go well, "Sweet Valley High" could spawn a franchise, given the dozens of novels in its repertoire. Cody is currently in production on her directorial debut, the Mandate Pictures religion-comedy "Lamb of God," with Golden Globe winner Octavia Spencer, Russell Brand, Holly Hunter and Julianne Hough.

This article is related to: IN THE WORKS, Diablo Cody, Diablo Cody, Screenwriters, Genres, Musical, Directors


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.