Groundhog Day Live Read

10,000 years. That’s how long Phil Connors was stuck in Groundhog Day. At least, that’s what writers Harold Ramis and Danny Rubin said in an early draft of the now classic 1993 film. That revelation was later cut out, along with a lot of other things, to make the film we know and love.

But on March 20, Jason Reitman presented that early draft as part of his Film Independent at LACMA Live Read series. On a night dedicated to Ramis, the Groundhog Day co-writer and director, Reitman brought together a small but perfect cast to read through the script. That cast included Jason Bateman as Phil, Elizabeth Reeser as Rita, Jeffery Ross as Larry, Mae Whitman as Nancy, and Stephen Tobolowsky as Ned, the role he originated.

That balance of familiarity from Tobolowsky, coupled with a fresh but perfectly poignant take from Bateman, made Groundhog Day one of the best live reads to come out of the series to date. Read More »

The Wind Rises

Briefly: Joseph Gordon-Levitt is having a big news day. He’s attached to adapt Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and he’s now officially been revealed as the lead voice in Disney’s English-language release of Hayao Miyazaki‘s final film, The Wind Rises.

Gordon-Levitt will voice Jiro Horikoshi, a talented engineer who spends his life building planes, only to realize he can’t fix everything. The actor will be joined by an impressive list of names including his Looper co-star Emily Blunt, her husband John Krasinski, as well as Martin Short, Stanley Tucci, Mandy Patinkin, William H. Macy, Werner Herzog (!), Mae Whitman, Jennifer Grey, Darren Criss, Elijah Wood and Ronan Farrow.

The English dubbed version will be released February 21. [USA Today]

The Pirate Fairy

Tom Hiddleston is already a Disney prince of sorts, but he’ll dive even deeper into the Mouse House next spring. A few months back, it was announced that Hiddleston and Christina Hendricks had signed on for The Pirate Fairy, a sort of Peter Pan spinoff about Tinkerbell (Mae Whitman — yes, her), a badass fairy named Zarina (Hendricks), and the cabin boy (James) she falls for.

Unfortunately for Zarina, the object of her affections may not be quite as sweet and innocent as he looks. It turns out his name is James Hook, as in Captain Hook, although The Pirate Fairy takes place before that crocodile took his hand. A new trailer has just arrived, and you can check it out after the jump.

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Breaking Bad Pilot Bryan Cranston

“If you’re a writer tonight, you might want to hide your knives,” said Jason Reitman at Tuesday night’s special summer live read. “This script is so good you’ll never want to write again. You f***er, Vince.”

The script Reitman was referring to, the script that could get the writer/director to come back and do a live read in July when he’s not scheduled to come back until October, was the pilot of AMC’s Breaking Bad. The “Vince” is creator Vince Gilligan. And as fantastic the first episode of Breaking Bad is to watch, to hear it read reveals another level of brilliance. If you were to travel back in time, sit down with Gilligan in 2007 and ask him to describe what happens in the show over a few beers, that’s what his writing sounds like. It’s perfectly, brilliantly descriptive with a language that’s filled with vulgarity and humor. It has a conversational, culturally current tone that pops off the page.

The latest live read at the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, presented by Film Independent, revealed not only this fantastic writing, but some fun interpretations by great actors, appearances by the original actors, deleted scenes and more. Read about it below. Read More »

Usual Suspects

For Jason Reitman‘s final live read of the 2012-2013 season, he chose a revered, Oscar-winning screenplay: Christopher McQuarrie‘s The Usual Suspects. When that title was announced I was initially skeptical. I thought, “The Usual Suspects is so well known for its surprise ending, and that ending is so incredibly visual, how would it come across in a live read setting?” The answer was revealed in two ways. First this read suggests that Bryan Singer‘s direction in the original film is powerful and underrated. Also, as great as the ending to McQuarrie’s script is, some of his true poetry isn’t even on the screen.

Presented by Film Independent at LACMA, read more about the star-studded cast (which included Dexter‘s Michael C. Hall, The League‘s Mark Duplass and original cast member Kevin Pollak) below. Read More »

Maybe it was David Mamet‘s script. Maybe it was Jason Reitman‘s casting. Most likely it was a combination of both, but the latest live read at Los Angeles County Museum of Art was the stuff of legend. Six women – Mae Whitman, Carla Gugino, Robin Wright, Catherine O’Hara, Melanie Lynskey and Maria Belloreading the screenplay for Glengarry Glen Ross was the perfect mix of material, personality, chemistry, and energy. Add a certain je ne sais quoi, and the great script and event concept became something truly special.

Presented as part of the Film Independent at LACMA Film Series, the Glengarry Glen Ross live read was, unfortunately, a one-time-only event. But below, I’ll do my best to explain how each actress expertly inhabited their character, simply sitting on a stage with a script and a music stand. Read More »

Jason Reitman has once again decided to completely flip the cast for his February Live Read, presented by Film Independent at LACMA. This time around, the film is Glengarry Glen Ross. Best known as a 1992 movie starring Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin and Ed Harris, Glengarry Glen Ross is based on a Pulitzer Prize winning play by David Mamet. Mamet adapted the screenplay for the film and that script is what Reitman’s Live Read will be based on.

The twist, though, is that he’s doing it with an all-female cast. The ladies will A – always, B- be, C- closing on February 21 in Los Angeles. Read the cast below. Read More »

In a piece of fan casting worthy of years and years of Ghostbusters 3 speculation, director Jason Reitman has revealed that for his next live reading, Ghostbusters, he’s cast Seth Rogen, Jack Black and Rainn Wilson as Venkman, Stanz and Spengler respectively. The event, part of an ongoing series presented by Film Independent at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, takes places Thursday December 12. It’s sold out.

Of course, Jason Reitman’s father, Ivan Reitman, directed the hit 1984 film and revealed to his son that much of the famous dialogue was improvised by Bill Murray. So this isn’t just a script reading, it’s a combination of the original shooting script with Murray’s iconic one-liners. Read the rest of the cast, and how you can possibly see this once-in-a-lifetime event, after the jump. Read More »

The Bluth family’s historic bad luck with relationships is apparently following them into the new season — bad for them, probably, but great for comedy and therefore great for us. After the jump:

  • Lucille 2 and Egg will return to Arrested Development
  • Terra Nova invites fans to choose their own ending
  • Terry BrooksShannara series is heading to television
  • Check out a video tour of the Walking Dead prison
  • See American Horror Story teaser nos. 15, 16, and 17
  • Fringe‘s series finale will air in February 2013; see a PSA
  • See photos from Community‘s Hunger Games homage

Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

“Your childhood memories will be raped” by this creepy, twisted, but incredibly funny new Funny or Die video.  It’s a live-action version of the popular 1990s Nickeoldeon cartoon Rugrats starring Michael Angarano as Tommy, Alia Shawkat as Chuckie and Mae Whitman as the evil, manipulative big-girl Angelica. In true Funny or Die fashion, the red-band trailer digs deep and exploits the sadistic subtexts of the show which were only visible to an older audience. Check it out. Read More »