Jason Reitman gathers Jennifer Garner, Aaron Paul and more for star-studded reading of 'The Breakfast Club'


Image Credit: Vivien Killilea/Film Independent/WireImage.com

Vivien Killilea/Film Independent/WireImage.com

Last night, a crowd of industry insiders and excited film enthusiasts gathered at the Bing Theater at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) for a live table-read of John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club. This time, instead of Molly Ringwald and the gang, Up in the Air director Jason Reitman gathered an equally eclectic group of actors to reimagine the diverse sterotypes portrayed in the film. A lovely and very pregnant Jennifer Garner was beauty queen Claire (Molly Ringwald), James Van Der Beek was Andy the jock (Emilio Estevez), Mindy Kaling was basket case Allison (Ally Sheedy), Patton Oswalt was Brian the geek (Anthony Michael Hall), and, probably best of all, Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul was the criminal Bender (Judd Nelson). Rounding up the cast as those ever-meddling adults (cue eye-roll) were J.K. Simmons as Carl the janitor, and Michael Chiklis as Mr. Vernon. Reitman himself called out the directions on stage, while images from the film flashed on stage to signal a change of scene.

EW caught up with Reitman after the show, and he said that choosing the ’80s classic for this new experiment was a no-brainer. “The Breakfast Club was just a perfect fit,” he said. “I needed a film that was in a contained location with not too many characters, that was funny, that was populous, that had a great script that the audience would have a relationship with…it just hit the nail.”

If the audience’s frequent laughter is any indicator, then Reitman is absolutely right. Consider that nail hit. Many of the laughs came from Hughes’ already fantastic dialogue, which translates very well to stage, but the audience definitely reacted to the forgotten 80’s lingo that runs rampant in the film. It was very surreal seeing the dude from Dawson’s Creek threaten to ‘total’ a guy, and then a few minutes later Jesse Pinkman used “eat my shorts” as an actual, non-ironic insult. Remember when Bart Simpson was a controversial cartoon character? Crazy.

The entire cast did a great job. Most of them stayed true to the original characters, but Kaling’s natural valley girl voice put a slightly different spin on the vodka-loving Allison. If you didn’t read any press coverage before the event, you never would have known that the actors didn’t rehearse. “They just showed up 30 minutes before and started reading,” Reitman said. “Aaron Paul in particular really took the lead and decided he was going to full-on act it out, and everyone went with it.”

Actually, Paul was downright Method in his portryal of Bender. He almost perfectly nailed Judd Nelson’s voice and tone, to the point where you had to wonder if Paul spent the week hiding in Nelson’s closet. (That’s probably exactly what happened.) Garner was a very princess-y Claire, the only real disappointment being that she didn’t try the lipstick-in-the-cleavage trick. Hovever, her breathy stoned “do you know how popular I am? I am so popular!” delivery may have made up for it. Oswalt, for his part, earned the audience’s eternal respect when he perfectly executed an ad-libbed but fundamentally perfectly spit-take. Steady amount of spray, no obnoxious sound, no cast or audience affected. It was truly remarkable.

In all sincerity, Reitman deserves all the credit in the world for launching this innovative series. It was a creative, fun, and completely relevant idea, excecuted wonderfully. It’s hard not to wonder why on Earth no one had ever thought of this before.

Any Angelenos who missed it should pay attention to Reitman’s Twitter feed, because he’ll be announcing five additional live reads over the next five months, all to benefit Film Independent. The director was mum on detail, but he did tease some of his wishes. “I’d like to do films from different eras,” he said. “I’d like to also play with the idea of casting, where men can play women, old people can play young people. We can do cross-race on certain ideas. I’d like to use this as an opportunity to really examine a screenplay and re-interpret it.”

Any suggestions, PopWatchers?

Read more:
‘Breakfast Club’ live read: Who should join Mindy Kaling and Patton Oswalt?
John Hughes’ greatest movie quotes: ‘Breakfast Club,’ ‘Sixteen Candles,’ more…
John Hughes: 20 Key Movies

Comments (77 total) Add your comment
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  • VB Joel

    I would definitely pay to see this as a live pay-per-view event. What a fantastic idea from Jason Reitman.

    • BJG

      OMG, VB Joel. That is a great idea!

      • canuw

        I would love to see a live reading of the film Chloe, starring Emma Watson and Mia Wasikoski.BTW,I wanna share a good news to you.My best friend ,she just has announced her wedding with a millionaire man who is a celebrity !they met via Millionaireloving.C óM ..it is the largest and best club for celebrity and their admirers to chat online.You do not have to be rich or famous. ,but you can meet one , It’s worthy a try,Maybe you wanna check it out or tell your friends!

      • KJ

        D listers directed by a D lister director….how appropriate!

      • janexmb

        my buddy makes $71 hourly on the internet. She has been without work for 6 months but last month her pay was $6411 just working on the internet for a few hours. Here’s the site CäshHard.cðm

    • Lauren

      Or even one of those special events they play at movie theaters! I would totally go watch that!

      • Josh

        God that picture makes me feel old.

  • I nominate

    The Big Chill, it would be interesting how he could change the dynamic. It fits part of the criteria.

    • Lisa

      Love that idea too!

    • Joni

      Excellent idea, i nominate, ‘The Big Chill’ would be a fabulous table read!

  • cm2

    How is this not already uploaded on the internet via someone’s iPhone? HOW??

    • jcpdiesel21

      No kidding. I would love to see some footage!

    • Ellipsian

      Seriously….someone recorded this and will release it soon, right? RIGHT!?

      • Tarc

        Exactly… I’d pay for a video or audio recording of that!

  • lacey

    I think Jennifer Garner is a talented actress but is too old for the movie. JG is obviously not a teenager and the movie is about teenagers. There are many talented teen actors out there, so I don’t see why they can’t be used,

    • Chelsea

      I think you’re missing the point of the exercise itself. “I’d like to also play with the idea of casting, where men can play women, old people can play young people. We can do cross-race on certain ideas. I’d like to use this as an opportunity to really examine a screenplay and re-interpret it.”

    • jcpdiesel21

      Did you read the article? It was just a table read for fun, and none of the actors in the main roles are teenagers! Sounds like someone just has a hate-on for Garner.

    • Winnie50

      @ Lacey, this could be said for all of the actors used, not just Jennifer Garner. Every actor is between the ages of 32 an 42, so I don’t think they planned for them to be believable teenagers. Maybe you were reading a different article than I was??? I think Jennifer Garner could totally pull off the role of Claire.

      • Winnie50

        I meant: between the ages of 32*and* 42. oops.

    • jp

      lacey, you are constantly putting your foot in your mouth. Think before you post.

    • Stacy

      Lacey, STFU

  • ally

    clerks. discuss

    • MC

      That’s an awesome idea, especially since the acting in that movie wasn’t quite top-notch.

    • Jen40

      That would be great! Imagine if they could get somebody like Anthony Hopkins to read the Randal character…it would be worth big money just to hear the Star Wars discussion.

    • Jay

      Clerks with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as Dante and Randal.

  • K

    It was AWESOME!!!

  • James Fox

    I would love to see a live reading of the film Chloe, starring Emma Watson and Mia Wasikoski.

  • george L.

    the harry potter cast does star wars

  • paul

    shaun of the dead

  • LOL

    Fast Five.

    • Quirky

      Yes, with the cast making “vrrrroom, vrrroom” sounds throughout the reading.

  • B

    Now, this is a great way to honor a film. A remake of The Breakfast Club would be sacrilege. This sounds ideal. Wish I’d seen it! In fact, they could record these and send them straight to DVD and make even more for charity. Just stop the film remakes, please.

    • Adalynn

      I used to think a remake of Footloose would be sacrilege. Hollywood has no sacred cows.

  • Crystal

    They had a sign in the lobby that said they were taping it so I’m thinking it’ll show up somewhere.

    Van der Beek was really good – during the “confession” scene of Andy’s you could hear a pin drop!!

  • QueenCityMichael

    Patton Oswalt doing: “WHO am I? Who AM I? Who am EYE?!” Hopefully with the pen cap in his mouth as well.
    And I wonder if Mindy Kaling flung any slices of Pimento loaf.

  • Vivian Volkoff

    Aaron Paul is excellent in everything. I’m anticipating his career once Breaking Bad is over. I can’t wait to see what he does next. Love Jennifer Garner! So cute and IMO is a great pick to play the Ringwald character.

  • ad

    ferris bueller’s day off

    • abadstroller

      Yes! Reitman could do the pretty much the whole John Hughes oeuvre, which would meet his script criteria of small cast, localized scenes, and cracking dialogue!

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