Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Live reading of Breakfast Club screenplay

Well, this was an unexpected treat. Director Jason Reitman [Juno, Up in the Air, Thank You for Smoking] has come up with the idea of live readings of classic scripts with alternate castings. Genius. Pure genius. The first incarnation of this new series at LACMA? The Breakfast Club. The cast? J.K. Simmons, Patton Oswalt, Jennifer Garner, Aaron Paul, Mindy Kaling, James Van Der Beek and Michael Chiklis. Even though I sat toward the back, I was lucky to score tickets to experience a beloved film from my youth in a completely fresh and interesting new way.

It's no secret I have great admiration for John Hughes. It's hard for anyone who didn't come of age during the 1980s to not be permanently attached to multiple films he did. I wrote a small post when Hughes died here. I'm shocked that Hollywood hasn't pilfered the man's creative ashes in watered down, piece of sh*t cash-in remakes for the younger set, which kind of gives me reason to worry after watching the live read. Slimy Hollywood producers might have had a lightning bolt moment as the crowd lapped up the classic dialogue performed on stage with this alternate cast: "Hey, let's revisit The Breakfast Club and make it up to date for kids in 2012." Ugh. No, thank you.

I find the current onslaught of remakes disgusting. I've written about it before and will likely write about it in the future. But, the idea of a live, on-stage reading of a script is an exciting idea that combines elements of low-key theatre and the actual movie itself. The Breakfast Club script is so completely self-contained [most of the action takes place in a library with five major characters], that it is a great choice for this kind of exorcise. Plus, it's a wonderful script from Hughes, full of anger, humor, awkwardness and a heavy dose of '80s slang.

Among the actors who I felt did the best with the material were Patton Oswalt and Aaron Paul. I was kind of surprised by Oswalt as he's not someone that I've been a huge fan of, but he completely got the tender pain of the "geek" character and even executed a perfectly timed spit-take [I'm a huge lover of the old-school spit-take!] that seemed to be unplanned and unexpected by the rest of the cast. Paul, playing the flashiest role in the script as "Bender" [Judd Nelson's role in the original film] also delivered an edgy performance that combined the appropriate raging while literally slouching in his chair when apathy and disgust were needed.

There are five planned readings in this program curated by Reitman. I don't know what November's film will be, but I'll be in the theatre and we already have our tickets. I have heard a rumor of one of the hopefuls and if true, I might be more excited to see this one than I was to see The Breakfast Club. I don't want to spoil it in case it doesn't come to fruition, but it's another movie that is in my all-time top 100.

***Photo from left to right: Jason Reitman, JK Simmons, Patton Oswalt, Jennifer Garner, Aaron Paul, Mindy Kaling and James Van Der Beek. October 2011 @ LACMA, Los Angeles, California.

***Image credit: Vivien Killiles/Film Independent/WireImage.com


hidden staircase said...

pretty cool to see real acting. yeah, good idea to re-use classic screenplays. i just didn't love this movie when it came out and would not watch it again. i know i'm in the minority here...but glad you enjoyed it! can you give us a hint at the one you are hoping for?

Joshua Blevins Peck said...

Hint: it involves the sport of baseball in some way.

hidden staircase said...

baseball! oh wow, i will never guess it. plus, isn't EVERY movie that involves baseball in some way on your top list?! hahaha

The Dude said...

So, do these actors make it into the "celeb sightings" column?

Joshua Blevins Peck said...

Staircase: Very true! Anyone who knows me knows I love a good baseball movie, ha.

Dude: I'm not counting celebs when I go to events--I'm going to see J. EDGAR soon and Clint Eastwood and Leonardo DiCaprio will be there. One of those I'm very excited about. I'm only going to list random sightings like a stalker, ha.

GreenEyes said...

How exciting! Although I totally agree about hoping this doesn't mean another remake. I can barely stomach hearing any more about Footloose and Dirty Dancing being remade but remaking the John Hughes films would be truly horrifying. Maybe in another couple of decades it would be tolerable. I don't think EVERY generation needs an update of every film ever made.
And now I shall sign off with two words that capture my true excitement about this post: "Aaron Paul." I might actually need to say it one more time...just because... "Aaron Paul." :)

hidden staircase said...

clint eastwood! woohoo! oh and by the way, i love the little bird sitting on the cinema sign in your OKI foto on the front page. i just noticed it! yeah, i agree to keep sightings to 'real life' rather than official events. that might get too crazy. i also totally agree with green eyes that not every generation needs a remake of everything...no, no, no! plus, it's just the whole lack of originality that's annoying.

Joshua Blevins Peck said...

Green Eyes--I knew you'd like reading something about Aaron Paul!

Staircase--That bird sat up on that OKLA letter for about 15 minutes when I was photographing this theatre. I was waiting for it to fly off so I could get it in the photo, it just sat there and sat there and sat there.