Couch Pumpkin: Sofa Adventures
News and reviews for the big and small screens…where potatoes fear to tread.

Possibilities ~Me and Orson Welles

Me and Orson Welles didn’t make a massive splash when it came out last year. Perhaps that was down to the marketing, which emphasised Zac Efron’s participation – surely aiming for his legion of High School Musical fans (mums and daughters alike).

Whilst the film does indeed offer a big helping of Zef and his cute face, it’s far from the glitz and glamour of his other big roles in Hairspray and 17 Again. Me and Orson Welles is a sweet,  low-key romance, which is as much about a boy falling in love with the theatre as it is with the two women (played by Claire Danes and Zoe Kazan) he meets along the way.

Efron plays Richard, a dreamy kid who spends his weekends hanging out in 1937 Manhattan. Here he stumbles upon (a pre-Kane) Orson Welles, who’s putting on a daring production of Julius Caesar and needs someone to play Lucius. Richard gets the job, and is thrown into the deep end with the charismatic, genius and yet highly unstable Welles in charge.

Efron does a fine job as Richard, managing to capture a youthful sense of confident ambition tempered with naivety. It is Christian McKay as Welles, however, who is the true star. His performance evokes the spirit of the man without becoming parody (and, weirdly,  having watched a whole batch of Welles clips and interviews on YouTube with my friend the other week, I was in a good position to judge it!).

Made on a shoe-string (including scenes shot in my former local park at Crystal Palace!) and featuring a supporting cast of mainly British actors (including the always brilliant Ben Chaplin), Me and Orson Welles is no star-studded Hollywood biopic. And yet, like Welles’ own production of Julius Caesar, it’s moving and entertaining because of, not despite, its simplicity. Definitely one to check out.

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