Patrick Stewart Shines, Shia LaBeouf Smokes at 'Dr. Strangelove' Live Read
The cast, led by Mark Romanek, included Seth Rogen, Olivia Wilde, Colin Hanks and Catherine O'Hara.
Stanley Kubrick's 1964 film Dr. Strangelove, Or I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb got the Live Read treatment on Thursday night from Film Independent as part of Jason Reitman's ongoing series.
But Reitman, the founding filmmaker behind the well-received series, passed the director's chair to helmer Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo), who quipped to the audience that the classic political satire was "a hell of a way to start the year." Judging by the audience reaction inside LACMA's Bing Theatre, he was right. (Even Reitman, seated in the audience, received a standing ovation just for showing up.)
In introducing his selection, Romanek dropped a couple of historical anecdotes including Dr. Strangelove’s four Oscar nominations and the film's third place ranking in AFI’s 100 best comedies of all time. In appropriate Kubrick fashion, the cast that took the stage to reenact the comedy was a mixture of acting gold and meta variety.
Filling Peter Sellers Oscar nominated shoes as Dr. Strangelove, Patrick Stewart took the stage to rousing applause which continued during the night thanks to his rendition of the Third Reich doctor. Johnny Knoxville proved to be a surprise hit, playing Kongo in a flight suit complete with a gladiator helmet.
One of the most pivotal pair of Strangelove performances fell into the capable hands of Josh Gad as Mandrake and LaBeouf as Ripper. During one scene, LaBeouf lit up a cigarette to naturalize his performance to which Gad joked, "I don't think you’re supposed to do that in here."
Other highlights included O'Hara's President Muffley and Rogen as Turgidson. The latter delivered every one of his “Well Mr. President” retorts with just the right amount of constipation and chuckles. Rounding out the cast were Wilde as Miss Scott, Hanks as Guano and Fred Willard as the narrator.
Romanek and his Live Read crew kept one major surprise under wraps: a performance by Fiona Apple, who crooned Vera Lynn’s “We Will Meet Again” while Knoxville ceremoniously slammed a pie into her face.
Director Mark Romanek and Fred Willard, Olivia Wilde, Colin Hanks, Johnny Knoxville, Patrick Stewart, P.J. Byrne, Shia LaBeouf, Josh Gad, Catherine O'Hara and Seth Rogen perform onstage at Film Independent’s Live Read of "Dr. Strangelove" at LACMA’s Bing Theatre on Jan. 21, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
Josh Gad and Shia LaBeouf perform onstage at the Film Independent Live Read of "Dr. Strangelove" with guest director Mark Romanek at the Bing Theatre at LACMA on January 21, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
Catherine O'Hara and Seth Rogen perform onstage at the Film Independent Live Read of "Dr. Strangelove" with guest director Mark Romanek at the Bing Theatre at LACMA on January 21, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
Colin Hanks and Johnny Knoxville perform onstage at Film Independent’s Live Read of "Dr. Strangelove" at LACMA’s Bing Theatre on Jan. 21, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)