The movie scene

Clark Gregg revels in Joss Whedon’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’

 
 
Gregg
Gregg
Larry Busacca / Getty Images

For Clark Gregg, the challenge of Shakespeare is simple: “You throw yourself in 100 percent, as truthfully as you can,” says the actor, “and you just trust Shakespeare, because it has worked for an awful long time.”

Gregg — you know him as Agent Coulson from The Avengers, Thor and two Iron Man movies — co-stars in director Joss Whedon’s modern-day take on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, which opens Friday in South Florida theaters. Making the film, famously shot over 12 days at Whedon’s house in Santa Monica, was “crazy,” according to Gregg, who plays Leonato, father to the ingénue Hero.

“We have such a hang-up about Shakespeare,” says Gregg, who’s married to actress Jennifer Grey. “We think it was meant to be performed by Brits only, or you need a license.”

The quick shoot helped the cast — which includes Whedon veterans Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Fran Kranz and Reed Diamond — get and stay in character. “No one had time to second-guess themselves or decide whether they were Shakespearean enough.”

Gregg, who counts Much Ado as one of his favorite plays — though “I love Hamlet and Twelfth Night, and there are also parts of The Tempest I find weird and sexy” — was introduced to the Bard at Ohio Wesleyan University, where he played the lead role of Benedick in Much Ado. (“I was walking by the theater and saw a couple of tremendously attractive women walking in, and I followed them,” he says of his introduction to the theater department.) Like most of the actors in Whedon’s film, he’s at ease with the dazzling yet difficult language.

“I work as a writer, too, so I love Shakespeare’s language. So much of what you get to say as an actor. … I wouldn’t say it’s pedestrian, but it’s not this exalted poetry of Shakespeare. I got to work with Aaron Sorkin and David Mamet. They prepared me for it. They have their own kind of poetry.”

The plays still resonate for good reason, Gregg says.

“They’re about the most primal, core, visceral things we continue to wrestle with. Hamlet has got this stepfather, his uncle, who has just moved in, and now his mother is sleeping with the guy, who killed his father. You describe that story, and you already have these feelings coming up. Look at Much Ado About Nothing — it’s got two lovers who are the funniest, most razor-witted people in town carving each other to pieces. It’s the template for everything from His Girl Friday to Moonlighting.”

Next up for Gregg is more Whedon. He’ll reprise his Agent Coulson role for the director’s TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which ABC picked up earlier this year. (No word yet on when it will air.)

And no, you’re not crazy: Agent Coulson was pushing up daisies by the end of The Avengers.

“I had to pinch myself,” he says. “I thought I was dead! And yet all the mysteries about why I would still be around were so compelling, and suddenly there were all the things I love about the Marvel universe — the humor and the action and incredible visual effects in a television format. When they picked us up, I was very excited.”

Connie Ogle

Follow OgleConnie on Twitter

Read more People stories from the Miami Herald

  • Camilla’s brother dies in US after head injury

    LONDON (AP) – The brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has died after sustaining a serious head injury following a fall in New York, British royal officials said Wednesday.

  • Man accused of stalking singer John Rich warned

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A Nashville judge has issued a stern warning to a man accused of stalking country music singer John Rich.

  • Celebrity roundup

    Ex ‘Ice Road Truckers’ star faces felony charges

    Well, this reality star didn’t get vetted too well: Tim Zickuhr, who used to costar as a one of the drivers on the History Channel's Ice Road Truckers, has been charged with first-degree kidnapping, extortion and coercion after police say he kidnapped a prostitute from Las Vegas, reports TMZ. The woman (aka Snow White) told police her client threatened to kill her if she didn’t repay $1,000 that he believed she stole from him. Zickuhr will have his day in court next month. No comment from History Channel folks.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category