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
Richard accompanies Orson to 485 Madison Ave (CBS) for a "recording session" for a radio show ("The First Nighter" program). At this time (1937) and until the late 40s network programs were broadcast live, never recorded. Most programs were produced live twice, once for the East Coast and three hours later from the West Cost. See more »
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.
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Gilson Lavis is listed as "Drumer" instead of "Drummer". See more »
Me and Orson Welles (2008), directed by Richard Linklater, is a fantasy about a fantastic event--the famed Mercury Theatre production of "Julius Caesar," directed by Orson Welles in 1937.
In the 21st Century, setting Shakespeare's plays in modern dress has become a cliché. More than 70 years ago, however, Welles' production, with its clear references to fascism, was bold and daring. It made theater history, and propelled Welles into the limelight.
Teen heartthrob Zac Efron plays Richard Samuels, who is chosen by Welles for the small role of Lucius in the production. Zoe Kazan plays Gretta Adler, a young woman whom Richard meets in the New York Public Library. Claire Danes is Sonja Jones, Welles' assistant, who is rising in the theater world through a combination of intelligence, beauty, devotion to Welles, and her willingness to get into bed with anyone who can help her career.
Effron is outgoing and attractive, Kazan is shy and attractive, and Danes again shows why she was able to captivate TV audiences in "My So-Called Life," and then move on to immense Hollywood success. (Those who know "My So-Called Life" can recognize some of the interesting techniques that Danes developed then, and has since perfected.)
The highest honors in the film, however, belong to Christian McKay, who portrays Welles, and who stars as Brutus in the production. He has an uncanny resemblance to Welles, and his acting in the movie captures the qualities for which Welles was famous--incredible talent and incredible egotism.
Me and Orson Welles is not a truly great or classic film, but it's not fluff, and it's a perfect choice if you want to see an interesting movie about interesting people. The production values are very high, the sets capture New York City in the 1930's, and the acting is wonderful.
We saw this movie on a hotel flat-screen TV . It would probably work better on a large screen, but the small screen version worked well enough. It's definitely a movie worth finding and seeing.
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