UPDATE: If you are in Los Angeles, you should swing by the L.A. County Museum of Art at 7:30 p.m. Though the theater is sold out, Reitman and Film Independent plan to broadcast the show into the courtyard. No rioting, please.
For one night only, Bunny Lebowski’s life is in Seth Rogen’s hands.
The Knocked Up star will be taking over Jeff Bridges’ iconic role for Jason Reitman’s live-read tonight of the Coen brothers script for The Big Lebowski. So call him The Dude. You know… that or, His Dudeness, or Duder, or El Duderino (if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.)
Tonight’s Film Independent event at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will be the sixth and final of Reitman’s staged readings of classic movie scripts before a live audience (at least for now.) By recasting iconic characters with different actors, the events are basically a movie-lover’s experiment, and – sadly, due to rights issues – not recorded for later distribution.
It’s designed to get movie fans talking. Who would you cast in an alternate universe version of the movie? The Up in the Air and Young Adult filmmaker tells EW his picks for The Big Lebowski …
Previously, Reitman has staged readings of The Breakfast Club, The Apartment, The Princess Bride, Shampoo, and Reservoir Dogs, and the events have become so popular they always sell-out before the film is even announced. Reitman tends to keep one or two surprises for the audience, but here’s what we know so far about tonight’s show.
In addition to hearing Rogen deliver lines like, “Obviously, you’re not a golfer” and “This aggression will not stand, man,” we will get to see Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks step into another sultry redhead’s role, taking over the part of Maude Lebowski, originated by Julianne Moore.
Maude, of course, was the aloof, avant-garde daughter of The Big Lebowski, who was a tycoon who married into her mother’s fortune and squandered it on his much-younger pornstar wife, Bunny. When Bunny goes missing, along with $1 million in alleged ransom, Maude offers The Dude $100,000 “bones or clams or whatever you call them” to recover the remaining $900,000. Also, she desires to be impregnated through coitus, the physical act of love.
The Office’s Rainn Wilson will be taking on John Goodman’s belligerent, uzi-toting Walter Sobchak, while Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander will portray the wheelchair-bound Big Lebowski, fond of declaring that “The bums lost!” and “Strong men also cry.”
There is one big change from last week, when Reitman announced the movie as his last live-read of the season. At the time, he pointed out there are more than 40 speaking roles in Joel and Ethan Coen’s script (think of all the memorable bit parts, from the cop who declares “Leads!?” and the taxi driver who throws The Dude out on the street for criticizing the Eagles.)
The plan was to have Nick Kroll, Hank Azaria, and Patton Oswalt play most of these small but beloved parts, but Oswalt had to drop out at the last second. Fred Savage, who last turned up at a live-read in December for The Princess Bride, playing the part he originated as a child, will now be stepping in to those roles.
Among Kroll’s roles will be pornographer Jackie Treehorn (who treats objects like women), John Turturro’s bowling-ball-licking The Jesus, and Tony the joke-cracking chauffeur.
Azaria will be Steve Buscemi’s perpetually dissed Donny, the “brother shamus” private eye Da Fino, and how are you going to keep ‘em down on the farm once they’ve seen his Karl Hungus?
Savage, meanwhile, will be stepping into Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Brandt, The Big Lebowski’s majordomo and lickspittle; the blond thug
who pees on The Dude’s rug and declares “You’re name’s Lebowski, Lebowski!”; Smokey, the rival bowler who may or may not have gone over the line; and the cop who finds The Dude’s stolen car (“Leads? Yeah, sure. I’ll just check with the boys down at the crime lab. They’ve got four more detectives working on the case!”)
Reitman’s sister, Catherine, who starred on the TV show The Real Wedding Crashers and was Maureen Ponderosa (a.k.a. Dead Tooth) on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, will be pulling multiple-role duty on the female side as Bunny, the pornstar-turned-trophy-wife; the coffee shop waitress (“Could you please keep your voices down? This is a family restaurant”); and the housekeeper whose boss is in an iron lung (“He has health problems.)
The poster for the event, which can be seen at left (and in a larger version on the next page), was created by Matt Owen, whose other work can be seen at Gallery 1988.