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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 8,316 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 and Richard go to the dressing room to check on George Coulouris, as they turn the corner, Orson is in a suit. When we see them complete the turn in the next shot, Orson has on a black trench coat. 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 This Morning: Episode dated 19 November 2009 (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A beautifully crafted film
8 December 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I have seen a couple of good reviews of Me and Orson Welles, so decided to go and see whether they were merited. I'm pleased to report that the film certainly impressed me.

The film focuses on the rehearsals and opening of the play Caesar starring Orson Welles in 1937. Nominally Zac Efron plays the lead as Richard Samuels who is almost 18 and yearning to become an actor. A chance encounter with Orson Welles outside the Mercury theatre leads to Richard being cast as Lucius. Welles was one of those larger than life characters who had so much talent that they could get away with having a rather inflated ego.

This is the first time I have seen Zac Efron on screen and I have got to say he played the role of the star struck teenager very nicely. The character is full of dreams and it certainly resonates long after the film has finished.

If Christian McKay does not get a supporting actor Oscar nomination for his Orson Welles portrayal it will be a travesty. He is quite simply superb. I've always found Claire Danes very engaging and she is also very good in this as are a number of the supporting cast including Ben Chaplin and Zoe Kazan.

If you are after traditional blockbuster fare from your movies then you are probably well advised to skip Me and Orson, but if you like an intelligent film that is well scripted, well directed (by Richard Linklater) and well acted then it's a must see.


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