There are three things to learn watching “Me and Orson Welles.” Zac Efron can act. British thespian Christian McKay is Hollywood’s discovery of 2009. And a movie about the “theat-uh” can be more than a snore. Set during one week in 1937, director Richard Linklater zeroes in on a 22-year-old Orson Welles as he rehearses his ground-breaking New York production of “Julius Caesar.”
The chaos. The drama. Welles’ bombastic charms. His romantic dalliances. You can almost smell the greasepaint in the air in Linklater’s exhilarating ode to Welles’ youthful heyday.
“People think they know Welles from “War of the Worlds,” “Citizen Kane” and beyond. But, his early time in New York were his real glory days,” Linklater, 49, told CTV.ca.
“Everything Orson touched back then turned to gold. Theatre. Radio. He launched his Mercury Theatre. He was a showman firing on all cylinders. Nothing ever matched that time again,” says Linklater.
Adding to this story’s pandemonium is the brash arrival of teenaged thespian Richard Samuels (Zac Efron). Desperate to break into the theatre, Richard blunders into a meeting with genius Welles and wins a small role in the play. Suddenly Richard is sucked up into a world of glamour, over-the-top egos and artistic treachery.
“I am Orson Welles!” McKay thunders at Richard and everyone else who dares to breathe the same air that he does.
Welles humiliates his company members. He coddles them. He zings them with poisoned arrows then lets them sob on his shoulder. Every inch along the way McKay embodies Welles right down to his booming voice and sly, ego-slaying smile.
“Finding Christian was just meant to be,” says the Houston, Texas-born Linklater.
Just when Linklater thought no actor could fill Welles’ shoes, he found McKay at London’s Royal Shakespeare Company.
“Christian was a dead ringer for Welles,” says Linklater. “There are so few actors on the planet who could have pulled this role off. Christian did it in spades.”
“Me and Orson Welles” is, first to last, McKay’s show. Yet, Efron gives a surprisingly sturdy performance as the youthful wannabe wounded by his art and the artifice of one ambitious theatre assistant (Claire Danes).
“Zac brought a lot of his own past to this role,” says Linklater. “He told me it reminded him of all the seat-of-your-pants theatre productions he had ever done.”
Linklater also says the “High School Musical” star is a better actor than critics believe.
“Zac wasn’t just this kid coming from California who didn’t fit in here. He held is own against everyone else on the set,” says Linklater.
As for the Welles’ superhuman career, Linklater says, “Nothing about Welles ever ceases to amaze me. It is astonishing that he accomplished so much at such a young age. The more I learned about him on this film, the greater my respect for Welles grew.” [Source]
Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens were spotted leaving Vanessa’s house in North Hollywood on 14 December 2009. Later they headed to a surprise birthday party for Vanessa at East Restaurant and Bar. Hope they had a great time. Enjoy the pics!
• December 14 – Leaving Home In North Hollywood (x3)
High School Musical star Zac Efron has revealed he bought a house so he could skateboard indoors. The actor bought his first property earlier this year and admits he had it designed specifically so he can indulge in his favourite pastime without going out in public, reports contactmusic.com.
“It’s unique, very modern, very clean, very simple, with concrete floors so I can skateboard inside the house,” he said. [Source]
The 18-year-old, who has also been hailed as a new Cliff Richard, was crowned the X Factor winner on Sunday night with 61 per cent of the vote. In what was billed as the closest final in the history of the television talent show, McElderry beat call centre worker Olly Murs to the biggest prize in the music business.
In front of an estimated television audience of 20 million, the performing arts student from South Shields, Tyne and Wear, landed a £1 million recording deal and an all-but-guaranteed number one in the Christmas chart. And Cowell is already planning to fly the teenager to the States in the New Year to tie up a lucrative deal, which will reportedly make the singer £5 million.
Three major US TV networks and several Hollywood studios have reportedly already contacted Cowell about working with McElderry. They think he could be in a perfect position to take over from former teenage idol Efron, 22, who has made millions from the High School Musical films. [Source]
Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens were spotted shopping in Los Angeles on December 13th, 2009. Enjoy the pics! UPDATED!
By the way, creative director of the Elle magazine, Joe Zee, tweeted, “Brunch at Ammo. Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens a few tables over and I think I’m more giddy than the next table of 4 kids, ages 5-8.”
Happy 21st birthday, Vanessa! May all your wishes come true!!!
• December 13 – Out & About In Los Angeles (x54)
Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens were spotted leaving a gym in North Hollywood on December 12th, 2009. Enjoy the pics!
• December 12 – Leaving Gym In North Hollywood (x7)
Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens were spotted arriving at the LAX airport in Los Angeles on December 10th, 2009. Enjoy the pics!
• December 11 – At LAX Airport In Los Angeles (x35)
Actress Nikki Blonsky is busy prepping for ‘Hairspray 2′ and tells PopEater the sequel will live up to the success of the 2007 movie musical.
“Behind the genius of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, they are writing 17 brand new songs… We have all the right people who came up with the first one, so they can knock the second one out of the park.” Director Adam Shankman and writer John Waters will also be returning to work on the new film.
‘Hairspray 2: White Lipstick’ is slated for 2010 and will follow the success of 2007′s Broadway tuner that grossed $200 million when re-adapted for the screen.
Zac Efron will be back. “Where would Tracy be without Link? He is the only Link in my heart,” Blonsky says.
Although she doesn’t know where the couple will be in their relationship, she is pulling for no romantic drama. “I can only imagine they would still be together. Tracy and Link are the ‘Hairspray’ couple,” she adds. [Source]
Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens hosted a party for the actress’s Sucker Punch castmates at Joe Fortes Seafood and Chop House in Vancouver, B.C. The casually dressed duo picked out platters of food to serve family style and also mingled with all their guests during the four-hour dinner.
“They played musical chairs, going from table to table to speak with all their friends,” a source says.
The couple was also “very affectionate with each other” as they enjoyed their meal. Afterwards, the group piled into a stretch limo and continued the party at Hudgens‘ hotel. [Source]
Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens were spotted in Vancouver on 5 December 2009. Enjoy the pics! UPDATED!
• December 5 – Out & About In Vancouver (x11)