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Film / Me and Orson Welles

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Me and Orson Welles is a 2009 American film directed by Richard Linklater about the life of a high school student, Richard, who gets a part in Orson Welles' production of Julius Caesar at the Mercury Theatre. While working on the production, he falls in love with Sonja Jones, the production assistant. Drama ensues. It is based on a novel with the same name.

This film provides examples of:

  • The '30s: The movie is set in the late 1930s.
  • Ain't No Rule: Invoked by Welles, who hires ambulances to take him from radio show to radio show and back to the theatre, claiming if there is a law saying you have to be sick to ride in an ambulance, he hasn't heard of it.
  • Berserk Button: Never criticize Orson Welles. Also, never bring up his pregnant wife after he just spent the night with the production assistant.
  • The Casanova: Welles again. He tries to seduce just about every female in the movie. Joe Cotten, too.
  • Historical In-Joke: "How the hell can I top this?" Right, Orson. How could you possibly top that?
  • It Will Never Catch On: Who in the world would think of staging Shakespeare in modern dress?
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Orson can certainly be a Jerkass, but he still cares for his cast and crew. Above all, he's Doing It for the Art
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  • Manipulative Bastard: Orson. Most obvious at the end of the movie, when he convinces Richard to come back for opening night, then fires him anyway.
  • Setting Update: Welles's production of Julius Caesar had the setting updated to what was then modern-day facist Italy, drawing blatant parallels to Mussolini.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Both employed (when the image fades to black ofter Sonja invites Richard into the bedroom) and, in its literary form, discussed:
    Joseph Cotten: Welcome to "quadruple space", kid.
    Richard: What's "quadruple space"?
    Joseph Cotten: You know, in a novel, when the main characters are finally about to schtup. They can't describe it, otherwise they can't print the book. They just go, you know, "he hugged her hard, they fell on to the bed", Period, Quadruple space.
  • Shout Out: Joseph Cotten is shown hiding in a darkened doorway while Richard talks with Sonja.
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  • Sidelong Glance Biopic
  • Throw It In!: An in-universe example. Orson Welles is shown improvising a line paraphrased from The Magnificent Ambersons while recording a part for a radio soap opera. Based on the reaction from the director and the rest of the cast, this could even be called Orson Does Something Brilliant.


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