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Joss Whedon's 'Much Ado' actors: Where you know them from

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While the cast of Joss Whedon's upcoming Much Ado About Nothing isn't exactly A-list, many of the actors involved are household names for anybody familiar with the writer-director's body of work.

The romantic comedy's lead duo Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker both starred in Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off series Angel, where their slow-burn romance was beloved by fans before being tragically cut short, in classic Whedon style.

But there are familiar faces here from just about every corner of the Whedonverse, from Firefly to Dollhouse to The Avengers, and so we at Digital Spy have put together a guide to help jog your memory.

Alexis Denisof
Alexis Denisof as Benedick in 'Much Ado About Nothing'

Alexis Denisof in 'Much Ado About Nothing'

Alexis Denisof as Wesley Wyndham-Pryce in 'Angel'

Denisof as Wesley Wyndam-Pryce in 'Angel'


Denisof had one of the longest and most impressively nuanced character arcs in the Buffy universe, beginning life as hapless, uptight comic relief on Buffy the Vampire Slayer before transitioning into a fully-fledged fighter in the Los Angeles-set Angel. Wesley was a consistently fascinating character, and Denisof's performance was seamless as he moved into increasingly dark territory. Playing sworn bachelor Benedick in Much Ado, his appealing comedic chops are on display once again.

Amy Acker
Amy Acker as Beatrice in 'Much Ado About Nothing'

Amy Acker in 'Much Ado About Nothing'

Amy Acker as Fred Burkle in 'Angel'

Acker as Fred Burkle in 'Angel'


Joining the cast of Angel at the end of its second season, Acker swiftly became beloved as fragile science boff Fred, whose typically Whedon-esque tragic fate produced one of the series' most moving episodes. Acker would go on to a recurring role in the most divisive of Whedon's shows, Dollhouse, before reuniting with Angel co-star Denisof to play his fiery, sharp-tongued equal Beatrice in Much Ado.

Nathan Fillion
Nathan Fillion as Dogberry in 'Much Ado About Nothing'

Nathan Fillion (right) in 'Much Ado About Nothing'

Nathan Fillion as captain Reynolds in 'Firefly'

Fillion as Malcolm Reynolds in 'Firefly'


Before he became Castle, Fillion was the anti-heroic Captain Mal Reynolds, who headed up the ragtag ensemble of space rogues at the center of Whedon's witty, warm-hearted space western series Firefly. After the show's untimely cancellation, Fillion played a memorable guest role on Buffy as sociopathic, violently misogynist priest Caleb, before reprising Mal for Whedon's big-screen Firefly continuation Serenity. He's both hilarious and close to unrecognisable as Much Ado's jumped-up constable Dogberry.

Sean Maher
Sean Maher in 'Much Ado About Nothing'

Sean Maher in 'Much Ado About Nothing'

Sean Maher as Simon Tam in 'Firefly'

Maher as Simon Tam in 'Firefly'


Maher is another Firefly and Serenity alum, having starred in both as fugitive doctor Simon Tam, who joins the ship's outlaw crew after saving his genius sister River (Summer Glau) from a sinister government program. You won't have seen Maher in much since the 2006 movie, but in Much Ado he gets a juicy speech or two as the largely mysterious villain Don John.

Tom Lenk
Tom Lenk in 'Much Ado About Nothing'

Tom Lenk (left) in 'Much Ado About Nothing'

Tom Lenk in 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'

Lenk as Andrew Wells in 'Much Ado About Nothing'


While the Nerd Trio in season six of Buffy were nobody's favorite Big Bad, Lenk's newly-introduced Andrew did prove to be a popular character, and his man-crush on Spike carried over into a fun guest appearance in the final season of Angel. In Much Ado, Lenk plays straight man to Fillion's buffoonish Dogberry, in an odd couple pairing that would be hugely enjoyable even without the added "It's Mal! And Andrew!" factor for Whedon nerds.

Clark Gregg
Clark Gregg as Leonato in 'Much Ado About Nothing'

Clark Gregg (right) in 'Much Ado About Nothing'

Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson in 'The Avengers'

Gregg in 'The Avengers'


The role of Much Ado's well-intentioned but easily led governor Leonato was originally intended for Anthony Stewart Head – Giles in Buffy, in case you're the sort of heathen who doesn't know – who was forced to drop out because of scheduling conflicts. Gregg, who played The Avengers' poor, ill-fated Agent Coulson and who will also feature in Whedon's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. television series, stepped up to take his place.

Fran Kranz
Fran Kranz as Claudio in 'Much Ado About Nothing'

Fran Kranz in 'Much Ado About Nothing'

Fran Kranz as Topher Brink in 'Dollhouse'

© Rex Features / 20th C. Fox/Everett

Kranz in 'Dollhouse'


Kranz joined the Whedon-verse relatively late compared to some of his co-stars. However, in 2009's Dollhouse he played the crucial role of Topher Brink, a blithely amoral programmer who heads up operations at the Dollhouse, a secret organization which programs its young female employees to fulfil the fantasies of rich customers. He's altogether less sinister in Much Ado, playing one of the head-over-heels young lovers whose romance acts as an innocent counterpoint to Benedick and Beatrice's sparring.

Reed Diamond
Reed Diamond as Don Pedro in 'Much Ado About Nothing'

Reed Diamond in 'Much Ado About Nothing'

Reed Diamond as Laurence Dominic in 'Dollhouse'

Diamond in 'Dollhouse'


Originally written as a one-episode role, Diamond's Dollhouse character Laurence Dominic - an inscrutable and somewhat hostile chief security officer - was brought back in a recurring capacity. In Much Ado, he plays the noble yet manipulative prince Don Pedro, who orchestrates many of the story's more innocuous romantic misunderstandings.

Much Ado About Nothing is released in the UK on June 14, and in the US on June 21.

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