See Jennifer Lawrence and Michael Fassbender Do Big Lebowski Reading

26 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘The Big Lebowski’ live read with Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence.

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. Jennifer Lawrence, Dennis Quaid and Patton Oswalt join the ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ star in a live performance of the Coen brothers’ classic at Just for Laughs. 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.

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. 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. Miller (as Brandt), Mae Whitman (as Donny), Mike Judge (as The Stranger) mega star Jennifer Lawrence (as Maude), and the Michael Fassbender (in the role made famous by Jeff Bridges). 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.

Luckily, it was clear from the start that Fassbender was committed to doing the role of The Dude (His Dudeness/Duder/El Duderino) justice — he wore cargo shorts, a plain t-shirt, a pair of had-them-for-years flip-flops, and, of course, a robe. 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.

After all, you don’t go to a script live read to see a seamless word-by-word account of a movie, with the parts done exactly how they were originally. 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). Miller put his own spin on the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Brandt and left the audience rolling, particularly during the scene where Brandt is present for The Dude’s flirtation with Bunny.

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. Oswalt, too, earned numerous instances of thunderous applause that nearly rivaled those given to surprise guest Dennis Quaid, who read the part of Big Lebowski. 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 practically 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.

As you’ll recall from the film we first hear from the character when she leaves a voicemail on The Dude’s answering machine, explaining that she was the person who stole his rug. 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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