There is only one Mrs. Robinson in movie history: Anne Bancroft. But this week, Jason Reitman found a new seductress for The Graduate in Sharon Stone. The movie classic closed this season of Live Read, one of the events organized by Film Independent at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA, with the support of the HFPA. An appropriate conclusion to a series that has become one of the best kept secrets in town: Live readings of classic scripts from a bare stage where half a dozen actors, whose names are not released till the reading starts, re-create the movie without leaving their seats.
That was never a problem for Stone. Her legs crossed, her deep voice, her pregnant pauses, even her untimely cough due to a cold, allowed her to play every bit the temptress originated by Bancroft in the 1967 film. Jay Baruchel, the new Benjamin Braddock, fell for the seduction, finishing the iconic sequence with an impromptu kiss on Sharon’s mouth. Mae Whitman as Elaine, Kevin Pollack, Paul Scheer and Tig Notaro filled the other roles while Jason Reitman read the script directions.
During its three years existence, Live Read has staged readings of movies as diverse as Groundhog Day, Space Jam, Boogie Nights or Reservoir Dog, among others. But from the beginning Reitman longed to read The Graduate. The moment finally came with Buck Henry, his scriptwriter, and his producer, Lawrence Truman, in the audience. A unique treat for a unique moment reserved only for the ones on attendance. As Reitman said, “in a world where everything is downloaded and streamed instantly” the night was an experience “unique and one-off” for the audience.