For several years now, director Jason Reitman has been delighting audiences with his “Live Read” series in which a group of well-known actors convenes at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) to execute a reading of a well-chosen Hollywood classic movie. Past events have tackled Bull Durham, Boogie Nights, The Apartment, Goodfellas, and so on.
On the occasion of a 2011 Live Read of The Breakfast Club, Reitman commented that the purpose of the readings was to show audiences how actors arrive at their characters: “It’s exciting to see a role developed from start to finish.” So it’s especially interesting when Reitman lures to his events the actors who originated key roles, as has happened a few times. Sam Elliot participated in a March 2012 Live Read of The Big Lebowski, while Fred Savage and Cary Elwes took part in separate readings of The Princess Bride.
For the Live Read to take place on December 16, Reitman secured commitments from Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette to play Clarence Worley and Alabama Whitman in True Romance, which was directed for release in 1993 by Tony Scott from a screenplay by Quentin Tarantino. The rest of the sprawling cast, which included Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper for the movie, has not been announced. According to Reitman, the two actors had the same reaction when offered the gig: “Both said yes, but both wanted to make sure the other was in. It was very sweet. One didn’t want to do it without the other.”
Both Arquette and Slater have enjoyed critical recognition recently. Arquette is the most recent winner of the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her work in Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, while this week Slater received a Golden Globe nomination for “Supporting actor in a TV series, limited series or TV movie” in recognition of the first season of the TV series Mr. Robot.
In February 2012 Reitman assembled an all-black cast to take on Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, while a year later, a cast of women essayed David Mamet’s manly masterpiece Glengarry Glen Ross. In early 2013 I spent a few weeks in Los Angeles, and I actually attended that Glengarry Glen Ross event, which was hugely enjoyable. The full cast was Carla Gugino, Robin Wright, Catherine O’Hara, Maria Bello, Melanie Lynskey, and Mae Whitman.
Fans who are looking forward to audio or video of the event may be disappointed, as the spectators are urged not to record the proceedings to honor the actors’ willingness to undertake an unrehearsed reading in public, while no official recording is made for rights reasons.
Here’s Gary Oldman playing the ultimate wigga Drexl in an early scene from True Romance: