Quentin Tarantino’s script for grisly, gonzo “True Romance” (1993) will receive the Live read treatment from Jason Reitman next month—but who should the “Casual” and “Up in the Air” director cast? His choices for last year’s “American Beauty” live read were starry (Bryan Cranston as Lester Burnham) and occasionally unexpected (Christina Hendricks as Lester’s uptight wife, Carolyn).
Below, read our suggestions for reviving “True Romance,” more than two decades after its debut. And tell us your picks in the comments. Purchase tickets for the Dec.16 event, all proceeds of which go to Film Independent, here.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as comic-book nerd and Elvis obsessive Clarence Worley (Christian Slater). (Imagine him in Christian Slater’s wide-lapel pink shirt!) As he showed us in Rian Johnson’s “Brick,” JGL has the snappy intelligence to carry off a high-energy, genre-bending tale. Slater was outclassed by the excellent cast of the original (directed by Tony Scott); Gordon-Levitt won’t be.
Kether Donohue as his call girl paramour, Alabama Whitman (Patricia Arquette). Tarantino’s arch one-liners may finally meet their match with Donohue, whose lovable, exceedingly vulgar ditz on FXX’s “You’re the Worst” is both highly stylized in eminently believable. Turn the Valley Girl accent into a world-weary, laconic drawl and you’ve got your woman, Reitman.
Jeffrey Wright as her pimp, Drexl Spivey (Gary Oldman), has exactly the grizzled menace that Oldman used to frighten Alabama and Clarence—at least before they killed him and embarked on their memorable crime spree. Plus, Wright needs to bounce back from being underutilized in several Daniel Craig-era Bond movies.
Clarence’s father (Dennis Hopper), an ex-cop, and Detroit mobster Don Vincenzo Coccotti (Christopher Walken) have a confrontation in the original film that may be its finest moment, so this one requires some thought. Had they not been hamming it up for so many years since, a reprise of De Niro and Pacino’s adversarial relationship in Michael Mann’s “Heat” (1995) would be a logical option, but Hopper and Walken captured an eccentricity comic oddballs Steve Buscemi and Jeff Goldblum.
And it’s only fitting to have Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette back, this time as detective Nicholson (Tom Sizemore) and Dimes (Chris Penn). If they can get a break from their successful TV series, that is.