Thursday, August 13, 2009

Zac Efron and Me and Orson Welles (and Richard Linklater)

It was several months ago when I first heard of Richard Linklater's newest film: Me and Orson Welles, about a young man (Zac Efron) working on the 1930's Broadway production of 'Julius Caeser', which was directed by a precocious, narcissistic Orson Welles (Christian McKay). When I heard about it, there was a clip small clip circling the internet which showcased McKay doing a rather impressive Welles impression while Efron performed as a street drummer. Now, the first teaser trailer of the film has appeared. Here you go:

Now, without any history leason, there is only one thing that really comes across in this trailer: Zac Efron! He plays drums! He's in a period piece about Theater!! He's in a movie that's getting startlingly good reviews!!! Christian McKay's rendering of Welles gets one word in within the entire piece, and I'm sure those who don't know anything about Orson Welles will ponder at the meaning of the title.

Now, I say this with perspective knowing that in a film like this (which has been having trouble trying to find distribution) you need to maximize the popularity of its biggest star in order to get more people to see it. I'm sure Zac Efron is good in this, and I'm sure he's desperate to break that High School Musical tag that is attached to him, but it has been McKay which has gotten all of the great notices. He can't even get a billing above Claire Danes, who I've heard has a relatively small role in proportion to Efron and McKay. It's the sad state of movie marketing, and I don't blame the producers of Me and Orson Welles for going in that direction.

He's so dreamy...

On another note, does Orson Welles seem like a film which can rise during festival season to become a sleeper during awards season? I'm sure it's profile is raised because of Efron's involvement (and if he's good, there will be even more attention), but Linklater has never made films with awards in mind, and that's part of why he is so good. The costumes and the aspect of the biopic (not to mention, the hat tip toward 1930's Broadway) may seem to be more awards-baiting than many seem to think.

Here's the clip mentioned earlier, featuring a little more of McKay's performance which the trailer quite restricted:



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