Live Read

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Live Read
Show typeStaged Reading
LocationBing Theater, LACMA
Los Angeles
Creative team
Creator and DirectorJason Reitman
HostedElvis Mitchell
Official website

Live Read was a monthly live staged reading of a film script and a part of the Film Independent at LACMA film series at the Bing Theater directed by Jason Reitman and hosted by Elvis Mitchell from 2011 to 2016. Reitman read the stage directions in the scripts while images from the film would be projected behind the cast. The script would only be announced days before the event and while some actors were announced beforehand, full cast lists and the role each actor would play were kept secret until the event itself. The actors would not rehearse ahead of time.

The readings were one-night only and were not recorded due to rights issues. Because of this, tickets for the 600 seats, which would go on pre-sale to members of Film Independent, LACMA Film Club and NYT Film Club one week ahead of the general public, would sell out almost immediately.

Reitman said that the series was to show audiences how actors create characters.[1][2]



Jason Reitman directs and reads the stage directions unless otherwise noted. Many of the actors play multiple supporting roles. Specific roles are stated only when information is known.


October (The Breakfast Club)[edit]

The Breakfast Club by John Hughes[3]


November (The Apartment)[edit]

The Apartment by Billy Wilder and I. A. L. Diamond[4]


December (The Princess Bride)[edit]

The Princess Bride by William Goldman, based on the novel by Goldman[6]



January (Shampoo)[edit]

Shampoo by Robert Towne and Warren Beatty[7][8]


February (Reservoir Dogs)[edit]

Reservoir Dogs by Quentin Tarantino.[9][10][11][12] Reitman assembled an all-black cast to play roles originally played on screen by white actors.


March (The Big Lebowski)[edit]

The Big Lebowski by the Coen brothers.[13][14] Due to the huge turnout, speakers were set up outside to allow those without tickets limited access to the proceedings.[15]


April (The Apartment)[edit]

The Apartment by Billy Wilder and I. A. L. Diamond at The New York Times Center. This was the first of the Live Read series to take place outside of Los Angeles[16]


September (American Beauty)[edit]

American Beauty by Alan Ball at the Toronto International Film Festival.[17][18][19]


Woody Harrelson was originally slated to play Colonel Fitts while Nick Kroll would play Buddy Kane,[18] but when Harrelson was stuck in Hawaii, Kroll played Fitts and Paul Scheer played Kane.[19]

October (Bull Durham)[edit]

Bull Durham by Ron Shelton


November (Manhattan)[edit]

Manhattan by Woody Allen[20][21][22]


December (Ghostbusters)[edit]

Ghostbusters by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis.[23][24] Jason Reitman's father Ivan Reitman directed the original film.



January (His Girl Friday)[edit]

His Girl Friday by Charles Lederer, based on the play The Front Page by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur[25]

Guest director: Fred Savage


February (Glengarry Glen Ross)[edit]

Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet, based on the play by Mamet.[26][27][28] Reitman assembled a cast of women to read the all-male script.


March (The Usual Suspects)[edit]

The Usual Suspects by Christopher McQuarrie[29]


July (Breaking Bad's pilot episode)[edit]

The pilot of Breaking Bad by Vince Gilligan.[30] This was the first television episode performed at the readings.


September (Boogie Nights)[edit]

Boogie Nights by Paul Thomas Anderson at the Toronto International Film Festival[31]


October (Boogie Nights)[edit]

Boogie Nights by Paul Thomas Anderson[32][33][34]


November (Tootsie)[edit]

Tootsie by Larry Gelbart and Murray Schisgal[35][36]

Guest director: David Wain


December (Raising Arizona)[edit]

Raising Arizona by the Coen brothers[37]

Guest director: Patton Oswalt



January (American Pie)[edit]

American Pie by Adam Herz. Reitman gender-swapped the cast, with women playing the male roles and men playing the female roles.


February (Pulp Fiction)[edit]

Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino[38][39]

Guest director: Evan Goldberg


March (Groundhog Day)[edit]

Groundhog Day by Danny Rubin and Harold Ramis. Reitman chose this reading as a tribute to Harold Ramis, who died the previous month. He also chose an earlier draft of the screenplay rather than the final shooting script.[40]



The Graduate[edit]

April 17: The Graduate by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry. Based on the novel by Charles Webb.[41]

The Hateful Eight[edit]
The Hateful Eight Live Reading at the Ace Hotel Los Angeles, as part of LACMA's Live Read series on April 19, 2014.

April 19, special event: The Hateful Eight by Quentin Tarantino at the United Artists Theater at the Ace Hotel Los Angeles. Unusually for the series, this script had not been filmed prior to the reading. After a script leak in January, Tarantino considered dropping the film, but decided to hold a reading of the first draft of this script.[42][43][44]

Guest director: Quentin Tarantino


October (American Beauty)[edit]

American Beauty by Alan Ball. All cast members starred in Jason Reitman's 2014 film Men, Women & Children.[45]


November (Diner)[edit]

Diner by Barry Levinson. All cast members have appeared in a lead or recurring role in the FX show The League.


December (The Empire Strikes Back)[edit]

The Empire Strikes Back by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan, story by George Lucas.[46]



January (Goodfellas)[edit]

Goodfellas by Nicholas Pileggi and Martin Scorsese. Based on Wiseguy by Pileggi.


February (Sideways)[edit]

Sideways by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor. Based on the novel by Rex Pickett.[47]


March (Dazed and Confused)[edit]

Dazed and Confused by Richard Linklater. Most actors except Travis Tope also played various freshmen.[48][49]


April (Major League)[edit]

Major League by David S. Ward

Guest director: Joe Manganiello. In a departure from Live Read tradition, Manganiello did not read the stage directions, but instead played a character. He cast sportscaster Rich Eisen as the narrator.[50]


May ("The Wheel" from Mad Men)[edit]

The first-season finale of Mad Men, "The Wheel" by Matthew Weiner and Robin Veith. The reading was held on the same day as the premiere of the series finale and was followed by a screening of that episode.[51][52]


June (Fast Times at Ridgemont High)[edit]

Fast Times at Ridgemont High by Cameron Crowe based on his book Fast Times at Ridgemont High: A True Story at the Los Angeles Film Festival[53][54]

Guest director: Eli Roth


July (The Big Lebowski)[edit]

The Big Lebowski by the Coen brothers at the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal[55][56]


Fassbender, Lawrence, and Munn would all appear in X-Men: Apocalypse. Miller and Starr appear on the series Silicon Valley, created by Judge.

September (The Princess Bride)[edit]

The Princess Bride by William Goldman, based on the novel by Goldman at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.[57][58][59]


Garcia Bernal was late for the show due to a delayed flight, so Catherine Reitman filled in until he arrived.[60]

October (Ferris Bueller's Day Off)[edit]

Ferris Bueller's Day Off by John Hughes

November (Network)[edit]

Network by Paddy Chayefsky

Guest director: Scott Sternberg

December (True Romance)[edit]

True Romance by Quentin Tarantino


January (Dr. Strangelove)[edit]

Dr. Strangelove by Stanley Kubrick, Terry Southern & Peter George. Based on the novel Red Alert by Peter George.

Guest director: Mark Romanek

February (The Maltese Falcon)[edit]

The Maltese Falcon by John Huston. Based on the novel by Dashiell Hammett.

Guest director: Laurence Fishburne.[64] LACMA curator and event host Elvis Mitchell read the stage directions.

March (Stand by Me)[edit]

Stand by Me by Bruce A. Evans & Raynold Gideon. Based on the novella The Body by Stephen King.[66] Like the Glengarry Glen Ross reading, the all-male script was read by all women.

April (Thank You For Smoking)[edit]

Thank You for Smoking by Jason Reitman. Based on the novel by Christopher Buckley. For the first time, Reitman staged a performance of one of his own scripts.

Reitman announced that this reading would be the last of the series.[69]

December 2018 (Casablanca)[edit]

For the first time since April 2016, Reitman directed another live read, featuring an all female cast, for Casablanca, by Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, and Howard Koch. The reading was sponsored by Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice.

March 2019 (My Dinner With Andre)[71][edit]

Film Independent Presents, the producers of the Live Reads series, resumed again with (what was supposed to be) My Dinner With Andre with comedy stars Nick Kroll and John Mulaney. Hosted by Elvis Mitchell, the evening veered into a comedy put-on by Kroll and Mulaney, as the reading was staged with Michael Keaton and Paula Pell doing the main roles from the original script, heavily interrupted by Kroll and Mulaney's Oh, Hello characters Gil Faison and George St. Geegland, respectively.


Other events[edit]

On March 23, 2014, Jensen Karp assembled a cast to read Space Jam by Leo Benvenuti, Steve Rudnick, Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod at the UCB Theatre in Los Angeles.[72] The event was in many ways a parody of Reitman's series. While the scripts Reitman chooses are from well-received and occasionally Academy Award-winning films, Space Jam is a children's film that received, at best, mixed reviews. In addition, LACMA's Bing Theater is a large auditorium, while the UCB Theatre is a small comedy club. The cast included:


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External links[edit]