Here on Nerdist, we’ve sung the praises of Jason Reitman‘s very popular Film Independent Live Read series, taking place every third Thursday at LACMA in Los Angeles. For me, the thing that makes these events special is the idea of taking a classic piece of cinema that we all know and love and then cracking that open to explore it in a deeper way. By listening to a live read of a screenplay instead of taking it in through the spectacle of cinema, you’re required to listen to the words that were written and, as is often the case with Reitman’s series, hear them read by someone completely different than the actor who originally performed them on screen. Reitman’s live reads also work from the complete screenplay, illustrating to audience members how much a movie can change from page to screen. Often onlookers are treated to scenes that didn’t make their way into the final film which is a special treat unto itself.
The Oscar-nominated director is consistently inventive with his casting, frequently asking actors to read roles who are a different age, ethnicity, or gender of the original actor cast. Under Reitman’s direction, an all female cast has taken the stage for Glengarry Glen Ross and Donald Glover and Catherine Reitman inhabited Vizzini and Inigo Montoya respectively for a TIFF presentation of The Princess Bride.
Thursday night’s event, the penultimate of the season, was no exception. This time the screenplay was Stand By Me, written by Raynold Gideon & Bruce A. Evans based on the novella The Body by Stephen King. Rob Reiner’s coming of age film is considered by most to be a classic and Reitman invited a cast of acclaimed actresses and comedians, who just so happened to all be women, to inhabit the roles. Sarah Thyre, Charlyne Yi, Molly Ephraim, Ellen Page, Kaitlyn Dever, Kristen Schaal, Collette Wolfe, and Rosemarie DeWitt took the stage and illustrated that no matter gender or even the time period, the heartache of growing up is universal. Charlyne Yi as Verne and Molly Ephraim as Teddy were particular stand outs, as was Sarah Thyre reading multiple different parts and destroying the audience with each one. Ellen Page brought a quiet strength to Chris and Kaitlyn Dever was inquisitive and innocent in her portrayal of young Gordy. To see the ladies in action, have a look at the gallery below!
The Live Read series is such a special event, where recording is strictly prohibited in a world where everything is accessible to everyone all the time. This is entertainment solely meant for the people in attendance, a real once in a lifetime opportunity. If you have the chance to experience a night with Reitman and one of his casts, I highly recommend it.
Jason Reitman’s Live Read series is a part of Film Independent at LACMA. The final live read of the season will take place at the Bing Theater on April 21, 2016.
Poster by Matt Owen of Brick Hut
Gallery Images Courtesy of Film Independent and Wireimage, photograher Araya Diaz