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TORONTO — Continuing their buying spree here, Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate have bought North American rights to Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing.
The acquisition marks the third Lionsgate/Roadside buy in 24 hours, after Kristen Wiig comedy Imogene and the Gwyneth Paltrow-Mark Ruffalo sex-addiction comedy Thanks for Sharing, making the duo the most active players thus far at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Whedon, who is famous for hosting Shakespeare readings at his home, took 12 days off from his The Avengers shoot to film Much Ado About Nothing in his Santa Monica house. The black-and-white movie features friends and actors he’s worked with over the years — including many Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly alums — starring in the adaptation of the famous play.
Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, Fran Kranz, Jillian Morgese, Sean Maher, Clark Gregg and Reed Diamon participated in the project.
Whedon and Kai Cole produced the film through Bellwether Pictures, with Daniel Kaminsky as co-producer.
“I’m thrilled to be working with my cronies at Lionsgate again, and with the Roadside team,” Whedon said. “That they all embrace a Shakespearean romance with the same enthusiasm they had for Cabin in the Woods shows that they’re exactly the mad fools we want to be partying — I mean working — with.”
The deal was negotiated on behalf of Lionsgate by Jason Constantine, president of acquisitions and co-productions, with Eda Kowan, senior vp acquisitions, and Wendy Jaffe, executive vp business and legal affairs.
Said Constantine: “We’re so happy to once again be working with Joss Whedon after our great experience on Cabin in the Woods. Who else can tackle horror, superheroes and Shakespeare all in one year? We look forward to working closely with Bellwether Pictures to help audiences discover this wonderful and timeless comedy.”
Lionsgate has a major stake in Roadside. The deal puts the duo in business with Whedon, who directed Disney/Marvel Studios’ The Avengers, which is the No. 3-grossing film of all time, earning more than $1.5 billion at the worldwide box office.
CAA repped the filmmakers in the sale.
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