A lot of productions use that interpretation, I think, and obviously a lot don't. There are some lines in the text that indicate it, but there are some lines that contradict it. Amy and Alexis and I all felt that it was right for this version. They wanted to play the vulnerability of two people who had opened themselves up to something, but were not ready for it, ran away from it, and then blamed each other.
Did you worry that there would be any tension between that sexual history and the central tragedy of the play, in which Hero's virtue is sullied so badly that even her own father wants her dead?
No, these people sort of have license to do whatever they want, and then when they suddenly turn on Hero, it's a very ugly moment. I believe that Claudio and Leonato's pain is genuine. They feel betrayed by someone they trusted.
So the crime is less the sex per se--the virtue in the classical sense--than it is the perceived disloyalty and deceit.
Exactly. I remember the first time I saw a production of the play, I didn't really understand the whole idea that she had to be a virgin; I understood that she had to not be sleeping with someone else the night before her wedding. Which, you know, I still believe in modern times.
Yeah, I hope we can continue to keep the bar at that level. So what was it like to film the entire movie in your own house? Did you leave the rooms set up pretty much as they are in everyday life?
There was stuff to be done, mostly a question of moving things and getting flower arrangements. But it really was, more than anything else, the house as it would appear--except the actual house is in color.
So is that your daughter's actual bedroom, where Benedick stays?
Those are her actual twin beds?
So did she think that was cool, or did she consider it an invasion of her space?
She thought it was cool because she got to sleep with Mommy and Daddy that night.
Now, was it in the back of your mind when you were making the film that some part of the appeal for your fans would be the sense of getting a glimpse into what your life might be like off screen, or even the feeling of being secondhand guests in your house?
That actually kind of gives me the creeps. We took the street number off the door digitally--Danny [Kaminsky, the co-producer and editor] noticed that, and he was kind of like, you know, you might want to hide the actual address. But I am very proud of the house. Kai built it, she designed it, it's beautiful. And it's just the perfect space for that story. So it's exciting to show it off. But it's more like a house-tour kind of show off, not a come-look-in-our-drawers show off.
I saw that you had compared your experience in making Much Ado to your experience in making the musical episode of Buffy, "Once More With Feeling." I was wondering if you see any other musicals in your future and, specifically, where things might stand on the long-anticipated Dr. Horrible sequel.
Dr. Horrible 2 got shafted by Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. [the upcoming Marvel Universe series set to debut on ABC in the fall]. We feel strongly about finishing it, and have done a lot of work on it, but where it fits in all our schedules is a mystery right at this point. But I definitely want to do it, and I want to do other musicals, too.
But it's safe to imagine that any of these projects will be post-Avengers 2?
Right now that sounds fair.