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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 »

There are some films that seem like logical inspirations for Broadway musicals — such as Sister Act, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and The Lion King, to name just a few of the shows currently playing on the Great White Way. Barry Levinson‘s 1982 coming-of-age dramedy Diner doesn’t seem like one of them. Although the film boasts an impressive soundtrack of midcentury classics, with hits by Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, and Bobby Darin, the talky, meandering picture doesn’t seem like a natural fit for the flashy song-and-dance numbers of a typical Broadway production.

Nevertheless, a musical production based on the movie is currently in the works, to be directed by Tony-winning choreographer Kathleen Marshall. Levinson is set to write the book, with — here’s another surprise — Sheryl Crow writing music and lyrics. More details after the jump.

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