Jason Reitman has aimed his sights at reinterpreting a new classic: Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs.
After re-creating The Breakfast Club, The Apartment, The Princess Bride, and Shampoo in a series of Los Angeles staged readings, Reitman has selected the 1992 crime saga for his latest one-time-only live performance with a new cast.
And there’s a big switch in store for Mr. Blonde, Mr. Pink, Mr. White, Mr. Orange and the rest of the diamond-heist crew.
“We’re changing the race of the entire cast,” Reitman says.
EW has the details, along with the event’s new poster by artist Matt Owen …
For a while the reading was a toss-up between The Big Chill and Reservoir Dogs, but the crime saga ultimately won out.
“If we were going to make it an all-black cast, we wanted to make sure we started with an all-white cast,” Reitman said. “What makes the Reservoir Dogs script work so well is, despite the fact that it was cast with all white actors, it really is a script that could feature any race.”
The Film Independent event happens at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Feb. 16, and although tickets were sold out well before the title was announced, there will be a wait-list line for those willing to take a chance. (Unfortunately, they aren’t recorded for broadcast due to rights issues.)
Reitman’s monthly live-reads began in October as a way for the Up in the Air and Young Adult director to highlight the language in some beloved scripts by having new groups of actors read them on stage before an audience. “You can truly reinterpret a screenplay,” says Reitman, who narrates the stage directions during each show.
In past performances, Reitman cast Bradley Cooper for the Warren Beatty role in Shampoo, Steve Carell for Jack Lemmon’s part in The Apartment, and made Cary Elwes the villain Humperdinck in The Princess Bride while Paul Rudd took on Elwes’ original role of the hero Westley.
This time, in consultation with Film Independent’s Elvis Mitchell, who helps curate the event, they decided to make a more radical switch.
“We talked about the idea of changing the age, changing the gender, and of course changing the race of the characters,” Reitman says. “This is kind of the first attempt at really looking at a screenplay through a different lens, and we’ll see what happens when we do that. Maybe nothing changes, or maybe the story becomes completely different.”
The film, as it turns out, is surprisingly colorblind, given the names of its characters. But then, those code names were specifically chosen because the colors had no meaning.
The cast is still coming together, but click through the next pages for a look at who has signed on to the all-black Reservoir Dogs so far.