A wonderful interview with Amy and Parade magazine.
Most people like to put all their work away and relax for a week or two when they take a vacation. Joss Whedon isn’t most people. During his vacation from post-production work on The Avengers, Whedon decided to bring a few of his closest friends and collaborators to his Santa Monica, California home for twelve days to film a handheld, digital, black and white version of Shakespeare’s play Much Ado About Nothing. Starring Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, Clark Gregg, and many other Whedon regulars, the film is a faithful adaptation that blurs the line between stage play and movie. It’s gorgeously shot, wonderfully light and breezy, and full of the Whedon touches his fans love. With Much Ado About Nothing arriving on Blu-ray and DVD this week, Parade sat down with star Amy Acker to discuss her role in the film, becoming a series regular on Person of Interest, and what it might take to get her suited up as an Avenger.
You got your degree in theater and really came up as a stage actor before moving to TV and film. Was doing Much Ado About Nothing like getting back on the bicycle after all these years?
It was. Alexis [Denisof] and I were both talking about that. This is the closest thing that we’ve gotten to do to a play in a long time. We didn’t have any time at all to shoot it, so we had to rehearse it all and Joss [Whedon] wanted us to know the whole thing in case something happened where we had to switch a scene around. We worked on it like a play and blocked it in his house. It definitely was the closest thing to theater that I’ve done in a long time and it made me wish I could do a play again.
Having been so well versed in theater, do you have a favorite Shakespeare play?
Beatrice was one of my dream roles, so I’ve got to find a new favorite I guess. But I really like all the comedies.
This movie was shot really run-and-gun, handheld in digital black and white at Joss’ house. What kind of atmosphere did that create for you guys?
It was surprisingly casual because we had read the plays in his house before. We’d go over on a Sunday afternoon and drink wine and read a Shakespeare play. I think when we went to actually start the movie, no one knew quite what we were doing. Joss had always said it would be fun to film one of these readings, so in one sense there was an ease to it because we’d done it for years in his backyard, but on the other side we only had twelve days to do a whole shoot.
Totally different from what you’ve done over the past few years as well.
It is different but so much of Joss’ work, in particular, is influenced by his love of Shakespeare. Switching between drama and comedy. A lot of that is familiar in his work, but with fewer demons and vampires. [Laughs]
I know you love all these guys—Alexis Denisof, Clark Gregg, Fran Kranz, and Nathan Fillion—but who is the most fun to be around and work with?
Oh geez. They’re all fun in different ways. I think Nathan is definitely the silliest so he’s always fun to have around on set. Alexis is the one I’ve known the longest. Fran just makes me laugh too. I think getting to work with all of them would be a dream job.
You’re a Joss Whedon regular and he’s a friend of yours. When are we going to see you get suited up as a superhero?
[Laughs] I think we all have to bug him about that.
There are a lot of fans online that want to see you play Ms. Marvel.
Well, good! Let’s just make sure we flood Joss’ Twitter account with that information. [Laughs]
Is there a female superhero that you’d love to play?
I don’t know. That’s the thing about doing stuff with Joss. He’s cast me in parts that I don’t necessarily think I would be right for, so if I read the part I wouldn’t be like, “Oh, that’s the one I want to play.” He really likes to challenge people, so I think the fun part about getting to be an Avenger would be the fact that probably whichever one I thought I would be best for, he would go a totally different direction.
Did you know you’d be sticking around on Person of Interest after you debuted at the end of the first season?
When I first got asked to do the part, they had already introduced the character by showing the back of her head, some of her hand, stuff like that. The idea of the character was exciting to them, so they said, “We’d like you to do this episode and then a couple next season.” I didn’t know, though, what would happen after that, so it was a nice surprise that they wanted to keep me around.
Your character on the show has a bit of a villainous side. Do you prefer to play the villain or hero?
I think the fun thing is getting to play both sides. In Angel, especially, when I switched back and forth between Fred and Illyria, I just loved getting to have such different characters even within the same show. I think that Root kind of has the same thing. It’s not clear whether she’s the villain or she’s the one that actually knows what’s happening and is just ahead of the game and looking out for the best interest of the machine.
You and Michael Emerson (Lost) both come from shows with super rabid fan bases. Did you get to trade crazed-fan-war-stories with him?
[Laughs] Michael is recognized all the time. Any time I’m with him, people are always talking about Lost. It’s fun to watch him get into conversations about it. Someone, the other day, told him, “I didn’t like the ending of Lost,” and he started talking about it and by the end of the conversation they were like, “Oh, you’re right! It was a good ending!” [Laughs]
How is working on a show like Person of Interest different from working on previous shows you’ve done with Joss?
It’s not that different in the sense that this show has a real ensemble feeling. Especially with my character, I’m mostly involved in the mythology of the story so I have a real long-term arc of what’s happening with my character. I think the biggest difference is shooting in New York City because it’s really like another character on the show. It’s so different from being in LA or being on a stage in LA.
Are you planning to stick with working on TV for a while or are you going to do some film work as well?
I would obviously love to do some films. I’m not in every episode of Person of Interest so we’ll see. Hopefully something great will come up in the movie side too.
Much Ado About Nothing is available on Blu-ray & DVD now. Person of Interest airs on Tuesdays at 10 PM on CBS.