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Me and Orson Welles (2008)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  4 December 2009 (UK)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 8,309 users   Metascore: 73/100
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A teenager is cast in the Mercury Theatre production of "Julius Caesar" directed by a young Orson Welles in 1937.

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Title: Me and Orson Welles (2008)

Me and Orson Welles (2008) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 9 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Evelyn Allen
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Walter Ash
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Grover Burgess
Shane James Bordas ...
Conspirator
Alessandro Giuggioli ...
Conspirator
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Conspirator
Rhodri Orders ...
Conspirator
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George Duthie
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Martin Gabel
Simon Nehan ...
Joe Holland
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Storyline

In November 1937, high school student and aspiring thespian Richard Samuels takes a day trip into New York City. There, he meets and begins a casual friendship with Gretta Adler, their friendship based on a shared love and goal of a profession in the creative arts. But also on this trip, Richard stumbles across the Mercury Theatre and meets Orson Welles, who, based on an impromptu audition, offers Richard an acting job as Lucius in his modern retelling of Julius Caesar, which includes such stalwart Mercury Theatre players as Joseph Cotten and George Coulouris. Despite others with official roles as producer John Houseman, this production belongs to Welles, the unofficial/official dictator. In other words, whatever Welles wants, the cast and crew better deliver. These requests include everything, even those of a sexual nature. Welles does not believe in conventions and will do whatever he wants, which includes not having a fixed opening date, although the unofficial opening date is in ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

All's fair in love and theater

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual references and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

4 December 2009 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Ben ve Orson Welles  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£166,389 (UK) (4 December 2009)

Gross:

$1,186,957 (USA) (19 February 2010)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While the way in which the film shows a sprinkler system being triggered may not be accurate, the incident shown really did occur, and was indeed set off by the Zac Efron character of the Mercury actor who was playing Lucius at the time, Arthur Anderson. Orson Welles himself described the sprinkler incident during the closing credits of the Mercury Theatre radio broadcast of "Treasure Island" the following year, on July 18, 1938:

"First of all, I'd like you to meet [the actor who played] Jim Hawkins, Junior, our leading man at 14 years old. Last season he made a really startling contribution to the stage history of Shakespeare's plays. This was during the course of some experiments with the Mercury Theatre sprinkler system. As a consequence of what must certainly have been extensive research in that field, he caused it to rain, actually to rain, and copiously to rain where in more than 300 years it has never rained in 'Julius Caesar' before. It rained on Brutus, it rained all over Brutus in the forum. I was Brutus, and I ought to know."

"Now, as dramatic criticism, I found this telling, and even final. But as a surprise item in the funeral scene, I can assure you that the unexpected appearance on the stage of so many gallons of real water created in us all, an impression that was almost overwhelming. Our popular leading man says that he did it all with a match. I don't dare think what he'll do when he's old enough to run for president, but meanwhile, no matter what happens to the plumbing, he can always work for the Mercury. As you've probably discovered, he's something more than a very gifted performer, and as I told you, he's something less than 15."

"His name shall not be withheld: I refer to that fine old actor Arthur Anderson." (Actor George Coulouris was credited as "having escaped 'Rainmaker' Anderson" during that incident.)

At the very end of the broadcast credits, a faint crash is heard in the background, and Welles ad libs, "There is at this moment a disturbance in the control room, and if it isn't a tumbrel, it's Arthur Anderson. It's a good thing the program's over." See more »

Goofs

When Orson finds Richard on the park bench, Orson's collar is up in the wide shot, but only half-up in the following close-up shots. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Dr. Mewling: By the year of 1592, Shakespeare was already an actor, and a playwright. Records of how his stage career began have not survived. We do know that in 1594 he joined a theater troupe. Called... anyone remember? Not everyone at once now. The Lord Chamberlain's Men.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Gilson Lavis is listed as "Drumer" instead of "Drummer". See more »

Connections

Featured in Live from Studio Five: Episode #1.60 (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Just when you thought Linklater's body of work couldn't get any more erratic...
14 January 2009 | by (Ireland) – See all my reviews

Me and Orson Welles is a wonderful story of a young boy (Efron)whose only acting experience is in high school musicals (ha! See what they did there) who manages to get a small part in Orson Welles' (Adam McKay) 1937 production of Julius Caesar. The film follows the volatile relationship between Orson and his company. He is a madman, a selfish, arrogant user and an absolute genius. He knows how the politics of show-business and he knows people, and how to play them. However, for all his antics, he is powerfully charismatic and it seems generally accepted that he is a genius.

Christian McKay's performance here as Orson Welles is wonderfully broad as he goes through every one of Orson Welles persona's with equal relish. He is snappy and arrogant but at the same time warm enough to earn some affection so when he lets a character down, you feel just as played yourself. The rest of the cast were great too. Zac Efron does his best here to leap from Disney heartthrob to leading man, and I personally thought he was solid and likable, with just enough of a sparkle in his eye and just enough skill to keep it there.

Overall this film has a charming story, which ends on such a high note I didn't know whether to smile or cry. It also boasts a very strong cast and most importantly a sweet disposition that stayed with me for a good half hour after the credits rolled.


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