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Movie Review: ‘Me and Orson Welles’ Starring Former Child Actors Danes and Efron

November 30, 2009

The inaugural production of the Mercury Theatre had to make a suitably bold statement. In what was then a radical departure from tradition (but has since become conventional), Welles recast Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in Fascist Europe. Though the Mercury’s production of Caesar: Death of a Dictator was truly groundbreaking, the true star was Brutus, played by company cofounder and artistic director Orson Welles.

Though in 1937 the Great Depression continued unabated while Fascism spread across Europe, it was still a heady time for one teenaged actor who witnesses the chaos of Welles’s creative process firsthand in Richard Linklater’s Me and Orson Welles, which opens this Wednesday in New York and Los Angeles.

British actor George Coulouris had the lead role of Mark Antony. Joseph Cotton had a small part as Publius. Yet the two actors best remembered from Welles’s celebrated Caesar, were of course the director himself, and the young Lucius, who serenaded Brutus in a pivotal late scene. In Linklater’s film, based on the novel by Robert Kaplow, that young actor is a wide-eyed Richard Samuels (played by Zac Efron), who yearns to be part of the New York smart set. However, working for the tempestuous auteur would be an education in and of itself for the young actor. Read More

 



 
 
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