Russell Brand in Paradise

Despite the title, Nicolas Cage won’t be left all alone in Army of One. In fact, he’s just picked up a bunch of very funny co-stars. Russell Brand, Denis O’Hare, Ken Marino, Paul Scheer, and Rainn Wilson have all signed on for the comedy, about an American handyman who sets out to capture Osama bin Laden. What makes the premise even crazier is that it’s based on a true story.

Wendi McLendon-Covey also stars. Larry Charles (Borat) is directing. Details on the new Army of One casting after the jump.  Read More »

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jason reitman live read

There are less than 24 hours until the big event and Captain America is out. The text comes in at 11:20 p.m. on Wednesday March 18. For the past two weeks, I’ve been talking regularly to writer/director Jason Reitman about the latest installment in his Live Read series, the ongoing set of performances at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in which he assembles famous casts to read famous scripts from famous movies as a one-night only event. We’ve been covering them for a long time. For the final one of this season, I wanted to know how it was done.

This Live Read was to be Dazed and Confused by Richard Linklater, a sprawling coming of age film with a huge cast of characters, many of whom have become iconic for moviegoers. The most iconic is Wooderson, played by Matthew McConaughey. It’s a small role, and one that Reitman thought he had cast months before the event.

Reitman was at the 87th Annual Academy Awards back in February representing Whiplash, a Best Picture nominee he produced. There he ran into Captain American actor Chris Evans and asked him if he wanted to read the role of Wooderson. Evans enthusiastically agreed and was on board… until less than 24 hours before the event, when he had to drop out. “He had a sincere personal reason to pull out,” Reitman writes via text. “He’s an incredibly decent and lovely guy.” Nevertheless, Captain America has caused a bit of a problem.

Below, find out both how that turned out and the entire making of story behind the Jason Reitman Live Read of Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused Live Read. Read More »

Dazed and Confused Linklater

The great thing about Dazed and Confused? I get older and it stays the same age.

Twenty-two years after Richard Linklater‘s ’70s slice of life film hit theaters, listening to it read by a group of actors still feels as poignant and relevant as ever. Maybe the music and references have changed a bit but a teenager’s insecurities, rebellious nature and mischievousness are and will continue to be universal. In Linklater’s script those ideas are delivered with an almost unfairly simple and eloquent precision.

At Thursday’s Live Read, presented by Film Independent at LACMA, Jason Reitman brought together a group of actors to read the script and, yes, the huge cast of characters made things a little confusing. In back-to-back scenes, an actor might have to jump from nerd to cool guy to stoner, giving the whole evening an unpredictable energy. It was even more unpredictable as they were reading an earlier version of the script that had some huge differences from the final film.

Below, we’ll break down those script changes, the cast, some of the crazy performances, and talk about how even in a form that’s unfamiliar to most of us, Dazed and Confused remains as good as ever. Read More »

MacGruber

Many people who move to Los Angeles do so because of movies. If you want to star in them, you move here. If you want to make them, you move here. If you want to write about them, you move here. And as a result of that, if you love watching movies, there’s really no better place to live in the world.

Case in point, the 4th Annual Wayne Federman International Film Festival. The name may not sound familiar but the event will drop jaws. It takes place at Cinefamily beginning March 5 and features screenings of Klown, Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Ghostbusters, Fletch, MacGruber, Big and The Descent. Those are pretty awesome on it’s own. But the real draw of this are the guests. In attendance will be Will Forte, Paul Scheer, Lauren Lapkus, Sacha Baron Cohen, Kumail Nanjiani, Doug Benson and Chris Hardwick.

Below, find out more about the Wayne Federman International Film Festival. Read More »

Wet Hot American Summer

Camp Firewood is about to get even more crowded. The Wet Hot American Summer Netflix series has just added about 9 more actors, to join the 21 — count ‘em — cast members from the original. The new additions include Michaela Watkins, Josh Charles, John Slattery (Mad Men) and Randall Park (The Interview). More details on the Wet Hot American Summer cast after the jump.  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 »

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The Graduate Live Read

Early on in The Graduate, there’s that iconic moment. Ben Braddock, a recent college grad, is talking with the beautiful older family friend Mrs. Robinson. Ben says, “Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me.” It’s iconic thanks to director Mike Nichols’ choice of angle, the delivery of the line by Dustin Hoffman, and the way that one sentence sets the entire story into motion.

At Jason Reitman‘s final live read of the season, actor Jay Baruchel played the role of Ben Braddock. When he got to that line, delivered next to his Mrs. Robinson, Sharon Stone, the 32-year-old actor broke character, cocked his right arm on his side and whispered, “Yes!” He was excited, not just because he nailed the legendary line, but maybe he got the feeling what was to follow was going to go very well. Reitman’s casting of Baruchel as the nervous, unsure, yet charming and likable Ben couldn’t have been more perfect. The same could also be said for Sharon Stone, whose Mrs. Robinson was sexy, confident and cool.

Though both actors were merely sitting in chairs, reading lines of dialogue, their body language created an electric chemistry that turned the combination of a great cast and a flawless script into a memorable event. Below, read more details about the Film Independent at LACMA Live Read of The Graduate. Read More »

Space Jam Live Read

Generally when a group puts on a live read, they pick a script of reverence. An Oscar-winner like The Usual Suspects, a classic comedy like Groundhog Day or Ghostbusters, maybe a stage masterpiece like Glengarry Glen Ross. When Funny or Die does it, they go a little out of the box. They do Space Jam.

Michael Jordan famously starred in the 1996 animated hit, which blended live actors with the Looney Tunes in a sci-fi, comedic, basketball romp. For kids of that era, the film became a classic. For anyone who has seen it since, it doesn’t quite hold up. But it’s fun, with a nostalgic appeal, and so Funny or Die recruited an all-star cast to read the script. Literally. NBA All-Star Blake Griffin read the role of Jordan and a slew of comedians and actors filled in the other roles, such as Seth Green, Ralph Garman, Danielle Fishel, Paul Scheer, Nick Kroll and others.

Below, watch – not the whole thing – but a good 10-minute highlight of the Space Jam live read. Read More »

Phantom City Creative - Lost 10th

The Lost 10 Year Reunion took place this past weekend in Hollywood and the full event is now online. As part of the annual PaleyFest event, host Paul Scheer spoke with executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse as well as stars Josh Holloway (Sawyer), Yunjin Kim (Sun), Jorge Garcia (Hurley), Ian Somerhalder (Boone), Maggie Grace (Shannon), Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond), and Malcolm David Kelley (Walt). It was a celebration of the 10 years that have passed since the premiere of the show, which helped changed the way the audiences watch and interact with TV. There were some spoilery revelations and many fun stories told.

For those would couldn’t be there, you can now watch the full event embedded below. Read More »