One of the great things about Jason Reitman‘s “Live Read” series for Film Independent at LACMA is that the all-star sessions are never filmed or recorded for Internet posterity. It’s all about the audience surrendering to a live-performance moment. To bring that point home last night, curator Elvis Mitchell donned a pair of sunglasses and jokingly warned that anyone caught using a Smartphone in the audience would get a painful, personal visit from Laurence Fishburne.
Fishburne (pictured), seated center stage, was riveting as Mr. White, cranking out the first pair of Reservoir Dogs reading highlights: the injured-partner-in-the-car scene with Mr. Orange (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and the soulful significant-others discussion with jewelry store heist organizer Joe (Chi McBride). Bookending the all-black cast last night was Reitman, stage-left, who reads the script scene set-up info, and his Young Adult co-star Patton Oswalt, stage-right, who donned several comic relief hats as a radio DJ, policeman and more.
Terrence Howard put his own, seductive spin on the role of psychopath Mr. Blonde, played so memorably in the film by Michael Madsen. He also got one of the biggest laughs of the night when he came to page 59 and, in response to Reitman’s stage direction, told the audience, “I wasn’t ready to die yet.” Reitman quickly adjusted, expanding Quentin Tarantino‘s words to indicate a longer, drawn out death scene.
Rounding out this delightfully profane Black History Month celebration at the Bing Theater were Anthony Mackie (Mr. Pink), Anthony Anderson (Eddie Cabot) and rapper Common (Mr. Brown). In his introductory remarks, Mitchell recalled how he and other members of the African-American community were fascinated, upon Reservoir Dogs‘ original release, by how “black” every character in the movie sounded. Last night, that was truer than ever.