New footage from Joss Whedon’s upcoming film Much Ado About Nothing shows a black-and-white take on Shakepeare’s comedy of the same name that retains the Bard’s language, but modernizes the world in which it is spoken.

Much Ado About Nothing was filmed in a mere 12 days at Whedon’s house in Santa Monica, CA and stars (in alphabetical order) Amy Acker, Spencer Treat ClarkAlexis DenisofReed DiamondNathan FillionClark GreggAshley JohnsonFran KranzTom Lenk, and Jillian Morgese. A brief look at two scenes can be seen approximately 6 minutes into this CBS News piece on Whedon’s big action movie, The Avengers, out this Friday.

In Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing (circa 1598–99), little is what it appears to be. Duplicitous characters rule the play’s universe with sly iron fists, intent on wreaking havoc to benefit themselves by harming others. Even the play’s name is not entirely what it seems. (In Shakespearean-era vernacular, “thing” was a term meaning “penis.” The corresponding term “nothing” (pronounced NO-thing) literally meant “vagina,” and was used figuratively to discuss a woman’s sexual activities. Thus, as the title indicates, the play’s action involves a lot of hubbub about whether a woman who should not be is in fact getting laid.)

Whedon is not the first to bring Much Ado About Nothing to the silver screen. Kenneth Branagh directed a star-studded version of the tale in 1993, headlined by Kate Beckinsale, Richard Briers, Michael Keaton, Robert Sean Leonard, Keanu Reeves, Imelda Staunton, Emma Thompson, Denzel Washington, and Branagh himself.

Principal photography for Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing was completed in October 2011. No release date has been set.

Do you prefer the stripped down Whedon projects like this and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long blog? Or are you far more excited about his big budget fare like The Avengers?