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Jan 5th
10:34 pm
Great MAOW article from THR Showbiz 411  
Zac Efron’s “Orson Welles”: The 2009 Movie That Got Away
Roger Friedman

Each year, amid the hoopla and millions spent, one movie completely falls between the cracks. Originally I thought that was Oren Moverman’s “The Messenger,” but then Woody Harrelson got some award attention and the film got a little uplift.

So the winner this year: Richard Linklater’s charming “Me and Orson Welles.” It’s been in theaters for about a month and made less than a million dollars. The distributor is non-existent, which is a shame. This is such a fine film, and one of the real indie companies should have released it. “Me and Orson Welles” deserved a shot.

Luckily, the San Francisco critics reached out and awarded Christian McKay, who plays Welles so brilliantly, their Best Supporting Actor award. I guess that’s something. (McKay also goes up against Harrelson at this year’s Indie Spirit Awards.)

But otherwise, Linklater’s period piece, set in 1937 New York, will go to DVD and cable. Someone will say to me six months from now, “I saw the best movie last night on TV. Why didn’t it do more?” Uh-huh.

Part of my own reluctance about the film was star Zac Efron, who plays 18-year-old Richard, an acolyte actor who winds up getting a bit part in Orson Welles’s landmark production of “Julius Caesar” at the famed Mercury Theater. Efron has been so maligned as a teen heartthrob that you don’t want to take him seriously. Yet, he’s just perfect as Richard, and carries his role with charm and dignity. He was good in “Hairspray,” too. It’s time to cut him some slack and forget the endless, meaningless “blobbing” about him from gossip sites.

The rest of the cast is spot on, too, especially Claire Danes as Welles’s ambitious Girl Friday and James Tupper as Welles’s leading man Joseph Cotten, Eddie Marsan (always great) as John Houseman, Leo Bill as Norman Lloyd (who would play Dr. Auschlander on “St. Elsewhere” 50 years later) and Zoe Kazan as a wannabe short-story writer. They’re all great.

Linklater, I’m sure, had no money for this film, but the production looks lush thanks to some really gifted cinematography, production and art design. New York of 1937 is very beautifully recreated, especially a scene in the real Bryant Park. It’s nice work.

So what happened? Well, there’s no real sex or anything of that nature. There’s no vulgarity, no explosions, or leaps of logic. Linklater recreates the “Caesar” production masterfully. It’s an intelligent, articulate, well-crafted film that’s completely satisfying. And so, in this economy, has no place to go. Who would want to see such a thing? Fifteen years ago, the old Miramax would have released “Me and Orson Welles” and gotten many Oscar nominations. But in this environment, unless Orson were blue, or to get naked with his leading lady, distributors feel there’s no audience.

Too bad: if you can find Linklater’s little gem in a theater, go see it. Without fail, get the DVD. And pray that, when the recession passes, intelligence will be rewarded again.

source (via ff)

You know I could say a lot about what I think they could have done differently in marketing and distributing this film. Admittedly I don't know the behind-the-scenes stuff (and I'm no expert anyway) but some things were obviously wrong. However, I'll be brief and positive and say I admire them for trying something different in a very unwelcome environment. They did do some things right. And I think that Zac, Christian and Richard (the latter two especially) are awesome for flying all over the place trying to sell this.
Mood: busybusy
11 11 comments Comment
It's Audrey not Aubrey: Tizaudrey_za on January 6th, 2010 06:41 am (UTC)
It’s time to cut him some slack and forget the endless, meaningless “blobbing” about him from gossip sites.
*insert slow hand clap .gif*

I really like what you had to say too, C- especially about trying something different in an unwelcome environment and the miles Christian & Richard (and Zac) traveled to promote their work.
Shruti: Zac | America's Boyfriendcalcified on January 6th, 2010 06:49 am (UTC)
Charm and Dignity should be Z The Actor's middle names.
sillycece: zacSUNcatherish312 on January 6th, 2010 09:12 am (UTC)
i read the whole thing, wow! :p i really wish i had a chance to see this movie in a theater... it wasn't even in Ithaca, NY, where my grandparents live (where i went for christmas).

sigh. guess i'll have to give up searching and wait for the DVD......

hopefully Charlie St. Cloud will come to my area.
samwise gamgee.colfer on January 6th, 2010 10:30 am (UTC)
what a nice article, even though its point is both sad and very true.
IceGoddess: dirty little secret - this is *the* oneccmskatechick on January 6th, 2010 03:30 pm (UTC)
Really, such a great little piece. Nice to see that the movie helped someone else have their eyes open to what he really is capable of doing.
Bee: Zac - GQ - Lying on Car 1jeezbee on January 6th, 2010 04:25 pm (UTC)
I've read that article earlier yesterday and was very happy to see it.

My opinion on Roger Friedman isn't very high after the Wolverine debacle last year (not that it was good before, we're talking about FoxNews) but it's still nice to read and part of THR too.
Terry Jonumbereleven on January 6th, 2010 05:01 pm (UTC)
All I know is that "MAOW" is definitely a noise my cat makes.
summertime: pic#96680640carol_rio on January 7th, 2010 03:06 am (UTC)
Yeah I too read it yesterday
It's sad.

But it's a great article and I'm very proud of Zac, the cast and Richard
Troll St. Trollglamour_addict on January 7th, 2010 03:43 am (UTC)
comp broke.

but is all good now. yay!

missed you guys.
hunny miss (aka lets fead him to the gators)ehs_wildcats on January 7th, 2010 03:50 am (UTC)
i was wondering where you were, i was getting ready to pm you to make sure you were ok! glad you are back on :D
jessica3311: Ant&Decjessica3311 on January 7th, 2010 06:17 am (UTC)
Such a great article. YAY for posting it C! I love how people give him props for Hairspray <3