Jesse Eisenberg is set to be the “big bright shining star” of Jason Reitman’s live reading of “Boogie Nights,” which has also cast Josh Brolin in advance of tonight’s highly-anticipated event at the Ryerson in Toronto.
In an inspired bit of casting, the lanky Eisenberg will take over the role of porn star Dirk Diggler from muscled Mark Wahlberg. Meanwhile, Brolin inherits the role of filmmaker and family patriarch Jack Horner from Burt Reynolds.
Olivia Wilde and Dakota Fanning co-star as Amber Waves and Rollergirl, respectively. Julianne Moore and Heather Graham originated the roles in Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1997 masterpiece.
Reitman’s live reading also features funnymen Dane Cook and Jason Sudeikis as Reed Rothchild and Buck Swope, the characters played by John C. Reilly and Don Cheadler in the movie.
The rest of the cast includes Marc-Andre Grondin as Scott J (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Jaron Einsohn as Todd Parker (Thomas Jane), Jordan Hayes as Jessie St. Vincent (Melora Walters) and Scott Thompson as The Colonel (Robert Ridgely).
It’s unclear whether actors will read multiple roles or whether more announcements are coming from Reitman, as important supporting characters such as Little Bill (William H. Macy), Rahad Jackson (Alfred Molina), Maurice Rodriguez (Luis Guzman), Kurt Longjohn (Ricky Jay), Floyd Gondolli (Philip Baker Hall) and Dirk’s mother (Joanna Gleason) have yet to be cast.
Reitman’s live readings of classic screenplays are a hot ticket, whether in Toronto, Los Angeles or elsewhere. He snagged Bryan Cranston to read Kevin Spacey’s Oscar-winning role of Lester Burnham in last year’s Toronto reading of Alan Ball’s “American Beauty,” and he previously did an all-female reading of Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs.”
“Boogie Nights” will be Reitman’s longest reading, and his first to be 18-plus at Toronto.
Reitman’s latest movie, “Labor Day,” will screen at Toronto, where “Boogie Nights” first premiered.
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