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Running Time:
1 Hour, 54 Minutes

Rating: PG-13 Parents Strongly Cautioned.

Rating Explanation:
for sexual references and smoking.

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
A funny and appealing coming-of-age drama propelled by an unforgettable performance by Christian McKay as the legendary boy-wonder Orson Welles.

Additional Info:
Extra DVD Features: The Making of Me And Orson Welles; The Real Orson Welles; The Gate Q & A; The Mercury's Caesar; Deleted Scenes

CAST:
Richard Samuels - Zac Efron
Sonja Jones - Claire Danes
Orson Welles - Christian McKay
Gretta Adler - Zoe Kazan
Joseph Cotten - James Tupper
Norman Lloyd - Leo Bill
John Houseman - Eddie Marsan
George Coulouris - Ben Chaplin



Me and Orson Welles
Me & Orson Welles Director Richard Linklater ("Before Sunset") based his film on the novel by Robert Kaplow about a fictional, theater-crazed 17-year-old high school student Richard Samuels (Zac Efron "High School Musical"),  who arrives at Orson Welles' Mercury Theater during the final week of his rehearsals for his modern-dress version of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. In a coincidental stroke of luck Richard is asked by Welles (newcomer Christian McKay) to play the small role of Lucius. Welles' ambitious assistant Sonja (Claire Danes "Stardust") warms to Richard quickly, while Welles sweeps him into his orbit by taking him, in a speeding ambulance, to one of his day jobs, where he dazzles all by improvising during a live-theater broadcast.

It's a heady world Richard has landed in. At a mere 22, Welles had just recently produced an all-black production of "Macbeth" in Harlem, and he and his co-producer John Houseman (Eddie Marsan "Hancock"), with whom he bickers constantly, are intent on making theatrical history with their new Shakespeare production on Broadway. Early on, Richard is warned never to criticize the boss, and told he'll have to tolerate lots of bad behavior in exchange for the the privilege of basking in genius.

Richard increasingly becomes involved with the older Sonja, who's also the object of unrequited lust by every man in the company, including Joseph Cotten (James Tupper "Corky Romano"), but the immature boy inevitably takes a back seat to Welles himself who's alternating between acting as Brutus and directing everyone else. Among the other familiar Welles cohorts are Norman Lloyd (Leo Bill "28 Days Later"),  the eternally pessimistic George Coulouris (Ben Chaplin "The Water Horse"), Greta Adler (Zoe Kazan "Revoltionary Road") and Les Tremayne (Michael Brandon "Déjà Vu") who all have their moments.

Christian McKay who has previously portrayed the larger than life Welles on stage in the one man show "Rosebud: The Lives of Orson Welles" has very much the right look and sound and best of all, he precisely catches Welles' humor, with arched eyebrow, ironic sense of amusement and mocking self-modesty as he sneaks off to trysts with willing actresses and assistants, while continuing his radio show which pays the bills and never apologizing for his raging ego. And Zac Efron holds his own as Richard although he does seem a bit mature playing  a high school student.

Me and Orson Welles is a must for lovers of the theater and admirers of fine  acting, and it ends on a note of happiness and hope for both Orson and Richard. But basically it will only appeal to art-house audiences.

 

  







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