Olivia Munn, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender do table read of ‘The Big …

26 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Jennifer Lawrence and Michael Fassbender Smoked Up the Stage at the Big Lebowski Table Read.

Watching Academy Award-winner Jennifer Lawrence roll joint after joint for Michael Fassbender would be delightful enough, but as part of an all-star ensemble live read of The Big Lebowski, there could be only one reasonable response. The Dude abided in Montreal on Friday as a group of performers led by Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Patton Oswalt revived the Coen brothers’ cult classic in front of a packed crowd, many of whom had queued for up to 10 hours for a ticket. This Live Read was the latest in the seasonal series organised by director Jason Reitman in which an ersatz group of unprepared performers read aloud a classic script. Michael Fassbender put his magnetic superpowers aside Friday night to play stoner icon “the Dude” in a reading of “The Big Lebowski” in Montreal, but it was Patton Oswalt’s performance as Walter Sobchak (the role originated by John Goodman) that stole the show.

The lineup featured X-Men actors Jennifer Lawrence as Maude Lebowski, Olivia Munn as Bunny Lebowski, and Michael Fassbender as The Dude himself, while the Silicon Valley cast provided Martin Starr as Jesus Quintana, TJ Miller as Brandt, and show creator Mike Judge turning on his best southern-fried drawl as The Stranger (repeatedly described in the original stage directions as “a Sam Elliott type”). Fassbender played The Dude, Patton Oswalt played Walter and Lawrence took on Julianne Moore’s original role of Maude Lebowski, according to The Guardian.

As such, the fest managed to lure X-women Jennifer Lawrence (who performed Julianne Moore’s Maude) and Olivia Munn (stepping in as Tara Reid’s Bunny) to join Oswalt and a handful of “Silicon Valley” players — T.J. The cast took to their roles with immeasurable delight, and Fassbender in particular seemed to relish the opportunity to work himself into a character that’s just a little less intense than the roles he’s typically known for. Rolling on stage in a ratty bathrobe and khaki shorts, Fassbender appeared to be playing the Lebowski Challenge, lighting a J every time his character in the movie did so (sadly, this correspondent was unable to confirm if the beverage involved was in fact a Caucasian). Fassbender walked on stage, to a standing ovation from the audience, wearing shorts and a bathrobe with cigarettes and a White Russian in hand, according to VF, and delivered a few lines from Kenny Rogers and the First Edition’s “Just Dropped In.” When Lawrence first sat down, she asked the front row audience if they were able to see up her skirt before later pretending to smoke away on cigarettes while taking on Maude during the performance.

The actor dropped into his spaced-out inflection so naturally that if it weren’t for an occasional hint of Irish brogue, it often sounded like Jeff Bridges himself was in the room. The rest of the group was fleshed out by Fassbender and Lawrence’s X-Men peers, in town to shoot the latest instalment, as well as by members of Mike Judge’s Silicon Valley ensemble. Lawrence provided an excellent mid-Atlantic-tinged read of Julianne Moore’s Maude, complete with endearingly on-brand stumbles over words like “satyriasis” and “vaginal” (having to leave stage at one point, J-Law over-exaggeratedly snuck out like a Looney Tunes character). The dialogue of the German Nihilists took on a vaudeville, Three Stooges-like quality when excitedly bounced between Miller, Starr and Whitman, and in between screaming bellows Patton Oswalt politely asked Reitman if he could use the oft-mocked, censored for broadcast version of one line: “This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps!” Overall, the delight of new performers expertly stepping up into these beloved roles just reinforced what a tremendously unique and excellent script the Coens created with Lebowski.

Photo by Dan Dion.) With some of the more popular titles in the series (such as “American Beauty” and “The Apartment”), Reitman has been known to repeat a Live Read with an entirely new ensemble. Despite the radiant star-power of the live read’s cast, the giddy anticipation of the lines to come, rather than who necessarily was saying them, was the real star of the night, and a great reminder of just how iconic almost every sound and image in this film has become. It goes without saying that Fassbender brought a very different energy to the role, though the British star shed his accent and demonstrated his serious-actor commitment by ambling onstage in boxers and a ratty old bathrobe, carrying a cocktail in a plastic cup (en lieu of the Dude’s signature Caucasian) and smoking three hand-rolled jazz cigarettes over the course of the evening. “I think Fassbender went a little too Method on this one.

Surprise guest Dennis Quaid let rip with some seriously splenetic anger as the other Lebowski while Martin Starr was strong in multiple roles including “convicted pederast” Jesus Quintana. I hope TMZ isn’t here,” Oswalt quipped from an adjacent chair, though Fassbender’s “Big Lebowski” shenanigans were small potatoes compared to the 40-plus pounds he lost to play I.R.A. activist Bobby Sands in “Hunger.” Whereas Fassbender gave what appears to be the most laid-back performance of his career, Oswalt went into overdrive, pouring his full energy into the part of Walter, occasionally even rising from his seat to gesture wildly or wave his finger-gun in the air (while his eight co-stars sat in folding chairs onstage). The evening’s most popular surprise was the last-minute unveiling of Dennis Quaid as the wheelchair-bound Big Lebowski — another convenient get, since Quaid has been in Montreal shooting the upcoming Crackle series “The Art of More.” Audiences were also surprised to discover that Jennifer Lawrence can’t read.

Indeed, his baritone drawl was one of the evening’s real highlights; also up there were his sycophantic mumblings as the landlord/modern dancer Marty. Olivia Munn’s Bunny was bubbly and fun, but her strongest moment was when she accidentally stepped on Lawrence’s lines. “It was highlighted, motherfuckers!” she yelled in explanation, waving her script.

Her Donny was a delight, but she was also spot-on as a nihilistic German or the apoplectic caregiver of Arthur Digby Sellers, who, as any fan of the film knows, “wrote the majority of the Branded series” and “now suffers from health problems”.

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