LOS ANGELES – Jason Reitman’s live read of Herbie Goes Bananas was a star-studded fest for fans of everyone’s favorite VW bug with Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence taking the leads.
For many Herbie Goes Bananas is the apotheosis of all the Herbie films, beating even 1968’s The Love Bug for the quality of its writing, physical comedy, madcap direction and subtle characterization. In the live read, Michael Fassbender played Pete, Jennifer Lawrence played Melissa and Mark Hamill played Herbie, Captain Blythe and Aunt Louise. The biggest surprise of the night was Benedict Cumberbatch who played Pringle one of a trio of villains originally played by John Vernon. Quentin Tarantino voiced the other two villains Quinn and Shepherd.
Tarantino spoke to the Studio Exec EXCLUSIVELY about the live read:
This is a wonderful new way of discovering and rediscovering films. Herbie Goes Bananas was the fourth Herbie film and a work of delightful joie di vivre, perhaps one of the best live action film Disney made. And yet behind the slapstick humor and the apparently light tone, there is a scathing satire on South American dictatorships and specifically the Pinochet regime in Chile. Herbie’s silence stands for the repressed free press and the proletariat’s revolutionary potential.
Jason Reitman explained how the reading had offered up some surprises.
Pete in the original film is just a boy but Michael Fassbender obviously gave the performance of a grown man. And Mark Hamill’s voice work was exemplary. The enthusiasm which greeted the live reading was fantastic, much better than The Empire Strikes Back read which everyone agreed was a pile of dump.
Jason Reitman’s Live Read series continues with The Cat from Outer Space.