I have a love/hate relationship with the work of director Richard Linklater. His Slacker and Dazed and Confused films were great, and School of Rock was fun. But the romantic borefests Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, like the animated Waking Life, put me to sleep.
So, I’m not sure what to expect with his upcoming feature, Me and Orson Welles. The new trailer Linklater’s latest work recently debuted and you can watch here, courtesy of Yahoo! Movies.
On the one hand you have the character of Orson Welles (played by Christian McKay), one of Hollywood’s most famous personalities. Though Welles’ Citizen Kane tops the American Film Institute’s “100 Years…100 Movies” list, he is perhaps better known for his fall from hotshot celebrity director to desperation. At the end of his life, he was so hard-up for money that he wouldn’t say no to any job. One of his last roles was voicing the planet-eater Unicron in the animated The Transformers: The Movie.
And on the other hand you have Zac Efron. That’s right–teen idol, perfect skin, dreamy smile, singing and dancing Zac Efron. Just yesterday I saw him smiling at me from some little kid’s backpack. Him and Orson Welles? It’s a bizarre match.
Efron plays a young actor named Richard who lands a part in Welles’ historic 1937 staging of Julius Caesar. This was Welles at his most audacious and cocksure. Though the vogue at the time was for straightforward, men-in-tights style Shakespeare, Welles set the play in fascist Italy rather than ancient Rome. That decision resulted with a huge success, cementing the director’s brilliant reputation and paving the way for Kane.
Here’s the trailer:
Welles is played by relative new comer Christian McKay. McKay doesn’t quite nail Welles’ bass voice, which millions of Americans heard every week on the radio as The Shadow. But he does hit the director’s dramatic style of speaking, with over enunciated consonants and British pronunciations, right on the head. On his performance alone, my curiosity’s peaked.
And then there’s Efron. It’s hard not to look at him and think of the very image he’s surely trying to shake by taking a role in a period piece like Me and Orson Welles. How many of Efron’s preteen fans will even know who Welles is?
The trailer looks like a coming of age story for Efron’s character, which certainly has some resonance for Efron himself. Will Me and Orson Welles prove he has what it takes to be romantic lead in a serious drama? I guess only time can tell. In the meantime, check out the trailer and let us know what you think.