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Rex Manning Day is serious business for fans of Empire Records. And every year on April 8, Twitter is trending about the event that took place in the 1995 film.
Actor Maxwell Caulfield, who played the aging, pompous music idol, Rex Manning, says he finds the day both heartwarming and stunning.
“It’s titled Rex Manning Day, but it might as well be called Empire Records Day,” Caulfield told The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday. “It initially eluded me because the film had been such a box office disappointment, so I didn’t give it the credence that it has developed over the years. It just won’t go away. It’s one of those showbiz oddities.”
Empire Records, directed by Allan Moyle and starring Anthony LaPaglia, Debi Mazar, Rory Cochrane, Johnny Whitworth, Robin Tunney, Renée Zellweger, Liv Tyler and Caulfield, was a major bomb when initially released, but has since become a beloved ’90s classic. Rex Manning Day is the event at the music store around which the plot revolves.
Caulfield says he took great delight in playing Manning, “someone so full of himself, he is destined to take a great fall.” And while it seems Manning has no redeeming qualities in the film, Caulfield notes there were a couple of scenes that were cut, which showed the aging rocker in a somewhat better light.
In one of the scenes, Rex and Coyote Shivers’ Berko are sharing a cigarette behind the shop. “They were talking about just hanging in there, in the industry. And Rex was imparting some pretty solid advice that showed a different aspect to the character,” Caulfield recalls. Also cut was when Manning joined in on the big jam at the end of the film. “It would have been a nice touch,” Caulfield says.
Every April 8, Caulfield says he knows his Twitter feed will blow up — and he takes great delight, as it signals the film is being enjoyed by fans old and new alike. “The movie holds up. It was a lovely experience. I just wish the studio had backed the film more at the time,” he says.
As for where Manning would be now: “I think today he would be a judge on American Idol,” Caulfield says, laughing. “I don’t think he’d thrown in the towel. He was a real trooper.”
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