empirestrikesbackbook

The things fans love about The Empire Strikes Back are not things present in a live read: John Williams unbelievable score, the breathtaking action set pieces, and locations like Hoth, Dagobah and Cloud City. At a live read, it’s just the actors, the script, a few images and the audience. As a massive Star Wars fan that was my big concern going into the latest Jason Reitman Live Read, presented by Film Independent. Would The Empire Strikes Back hold up without so much of what makes it great?

The answer, as you’d expect, isn’t that straightforward.

Below, read all about The Empire Strikes Back Live Read which not only featured Ellen Page as Han Solo and Aaron Paul as Luke Skywalker, but also Mark Hamill in a special appearance reading the Emperor, Boba Fett and Obi-wan Kenobi roles. Read More »

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Empire Strikes Back live read

Thursday night is Jason Reitman‘s biggest live read yet. Literally. He and his cast will read Irvin Kershner‘s landmark sci-fi sequel, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, and the venue has been changed from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to the Ace Hotel Theater in Downtown Los Angeles. Earlier this week, several members of the main cast were revealed. Aaron Paul will be reading the role of Luke Skywalker, and J.K Simmons the role of Darth Vader. But two of the main characters had yet to be revealed: Han Solo and Princess Leia.

The actors for those roles have now been revealed, and they’re pretty surprising. Han Solo will be read by Oscar-nominated actress Ellen Page and Princess Leia will be read by Jessica Alba. We’ll have a full report from the event Friday. For now, read more about the Empire Strikes Back live read below. Read More »

Empire Strikes Back live read

Jason Reitman‘s live-read series has been a hot ticket at LACMA for a few years. The director chooses a new cast to read a well-known, sometimes classic script live on stage as a one-time performance. (We’ve covered many of these events in the past.) This year, among other films, Reitman has chosen one script with a particular appeal: The Empire Strikes Back. Most of the scripts chosen for live reads are oriented very much around character and dialogue; the event is just a bunch of people sitting on stage, after all. But the Empire Strikes Back live read will be one of the few to feature a script that is effects-heavy — meaning the audience will have to imagine a lot of what’s going on as the actors read the pages.

But the cast of characters is still tremendous, and some of the actors have now been revealed. They include Aaron Paul as Luke Skywalker, and J.K. Simmons as Darth Vader. Read More »

Diner Live Read Header

Usually when I go to a Live Read, I know the movie like the back of my hand. Ghostbusters, Pulp Fiction, The Usual Suspects, American Beauty, these are all movies I’ve seen dozens of times and know backwards and forwards. However, the November reading was a film I’d never seen until this week: Barry Levinson‘s Diner. It totally deserves to be mentioned among those films, but it somehow fell through the cracks in my years as a film fan. It’s as timeless, funny and poignant as any movie I’ve ever seen.

Watching the film, I began to worry about the Live Read. Sure this was a movie with dynamic characters based on a razor sharp script, but Levinson’s film also created such a perfect atmosphere. The movie was 1959 Baltimore, from the weather to the locations, outfits and the music. Oh, the music. Diner is a jukebox full of awesome tunes and the Live Reads don’t play music during the read. Was it going to work out?

Presenter and director Jason Reitman had an answer for that. To make the script move at a clip worthy of its amazing original cast, and to make the audience forget there was no music or settings to enhance it, he’d need actors who are incredibly familiar with each other. Actors with an ability to deliver filthy dialogue very fast, have perfect chemistry, talk a ton of crap and dish about football. How about the cast of FXX’s The League?

Yes, almost the entire cast of The League read Barry Levinson’s Diner at latest Jason Reitman Live Read, presented Film Independent at LACMA. Below, read what the cast brought to the script and what the script revealed about itself.  Read More »

new Jason Reitman movie

As it stands, Jason Reitman‘s career can be divided into two phases: Fox Searchlight and Paramount. His first two movies, Thank You For Smoking and Juno, were released by Fox Searchlight and the four since have all been at Paramount. For an upcoming project, the director of Up in the Air will transition back to the studio were it all started.

Reitman is now attached to a film called I Would Only Rob Banks for My Family, based on a magazine article about a seemingly normal Texas family who robs banks together. It’ll be adapted by High Fidelity author Nick Hornby and produced by Jason Reitman’s father, Ivan Reitman. Read more about the new Jason Reitman movie below. Read More »

Hobbit Battle Five Armies character posters

So many sequels, so little time. So let’s get to it. After the jump:

  • Channing Tatum isn’t so sure about 23 Jump Street
  • Magic Mike XXL could be in 3D (but probably won’t be)
  • Adam McKay is still planning to make Step Brothers 2
  • Producer Malek Akkad has a Halloween 3 update
  • Rumor has it Frank Grillo will lead Skyline 2
  • Jason Reitman offers a suggestion for Ghostbusters 3
  • See the Lorde-curated soundtrack list for Mockingjay
  • Billy Boyd will sing the final Hobbit credit song
  • Check out the new banner for Horrible Bosses 2

Read More »

American Beauty Header

It’s a shame only 600 people got to see Jason Reitman‘s Live Read of American Beauty on Thursday. If more people saw it, they’d be lining up to see Men, Women and Children this weekend. The cast proved they are wonderful together.

As the kickoff to the 4th season of Live Reads at LACMA, Reitman presented Alan Ball‘s Oscar-winning 1999 script. For all the roles, he chose actors from his latest film. (Which happens to open wide this weekend.) In the role of Lester Burnham, for which Kevin Spacey won an Oscar, Reitman cast Adam Sandler. The wife Carolyn, originally played by Annette Benning, was played by Rosemarie DeWitt. Their daughter Jane, originated by Thora Birch, was played by Kaitlyn Dever. Her best friend Angela, originated by Mena Suvari, was played by Olivia Crocicchia. Buddy the real estate king, first played by Peter Gallagher, was read by Phil LaMarr. Next door, the Colonel, played by Chris Cooper, was read by Dean Norris. DeWitt doubled as his wife (Allison Janney) and their son, the pot-dealer Ricky was Travis Tope. Wes Bentley originated the role.

With a script as good as Ball’s, an infant could read it and it would sound like poetry. What Reitman showcased with his latest cast is prove that good words are one thing, but chemistry and talent are something entirely different and wonderful. Below, read more about the American Beauty Live Read presented by Film Independent at LACMA. Read More »

New Men Women and Children trailer

In the new Jason Reitman film, Men Women & Children, technology really isn’t making our lives easier. Instead of bringing us together, social media, gaming, online dating and other tech advancements too often provide methods to emphasize our fears and insecurities, and all the other things that cause pain and drive us apart. In this new Men Women and Children trailer, we see a dazed young guy played by Ansel Elgort, the girl he’s interested in (Kaitlyn Dever), her tech-paranoid mom (Jennifer Garner) and a host of other characters who either can’t connect, or choose the worst possible ways in which to reach out through technology. Read More »

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