Seth Rogen fell prey to typecasting last night at Jason Reitman’s final Live Read event, where he reprised Jeff Bridges’s original turn as The Dude in The Big Lebowski. While it seems cheeky to have one stoner icon play another, that wasn’t the only funny business from last night’s event. Amid the obligatory jokes about White Russians and remembrances of the Coen brothers’ comically-veiled philosophical lines like “The Dude abides,” there seemed a waft of something skunky in the theater air.
Perhaps a Good Samaritan was lighting the mood or perhaps it was a testament to how well Rogen and his co-stars—Christina Hendricks (as Maude), Rainn Wilson (as Walter), Hank Azaria (as Donny), Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander (as Lebowski), and Sam Elliott, with his sweet Southern drawl—recreated the world and misfortunes of Jeffrey Lebowski.
Though no one ever wants to see Hollywood remake classic films, Reitman’s Live Read series has become the hottest ticket for Film Independent’s LACMA program—and for good reason. Since the Live Read’s inception last October, the Thank You for Smoking and Juno director has attracted A-list talent—Natalie Portman, Olivia Wilde, Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell, Mindy Kaling—to perform as they are rarely seen: live!
Reitman has also resurrected beloved films—including The Breakfast Club, The Apartment, Shampoo (getting Kate Hudson to play the role her mother, Goldie Hawn, originated), The Princess Bride, and Reservoir Dogs—for the occasion. Elvis Mitchell, Film Independent’s film curator, said of the selection: “What we’ve been trying to do with these scripts is to pick movies that mean something to all of us, that we have the most connection to, movies that really transformed the face of the medium. Every one of these that we’ve chosen for the Live Read has done that.”
Each Live Read is performed once and not recorded. Thus, they teeter on being a rare, modern piece of Americana that few get to see—making the sold-out shows (even prior to casting announcements) and lines around The Los Angeles County Museum of Art a staple for each event.
Many clamored to get a piece of last night’s final installment of the series—also coinciding with the fourteen-year anniversary of The Big Lebowski’s theatrical release—however Reitman announced that the series will go on and continue in the fall. Explaining the hiatus, he said, “I’ve got this f-cking day job that I’ve got to go do this summer, but after I shoot my next film, I promise I will be back here to do more.”