Films & Schedules

  • Me and Orson Welles

  • Richard Linklater

United Kingdom
107 minutes

Production Company:
CinemaNX Productions One Ltd./Detour Filmproduction Inc.
Executive Producer:
Steve Christian, John Sloss, Steve Norris
Richard Linklater, Ann Carli, Marc Samuelson
Holly Gent Palmo, Vince Palmo, based on the novel by Robert Kaplow
Production Designer:
Laurence Dorman
Richard Pope
Sandra Adair
Colin Nicolson
Principal Cast: Ben Chaplin, Claire Danes, Zac Efron, Zoe Kazan, Christian McKay

International Sales Agent:
Odyssey Entertainment

Friday September 0506:00PM RYERSON Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Saturday September 0604:00PM AMC 3 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Thursday September 1109:00PM RYERSON Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

Following on from School of Rock, Before Sunset and A Scanner Darkly, Richard Linklater continues to range across American cinema with the freedom of a true maverick. Is it any surprise that he has arrived at the doorstep of Orson Welles?

It is November, 1937, and teenager Richard Samuels (Zac Efron) dreams of making it on Broadway. One day he runs into Welles (Christian McKay), years before Citizen Kane but already a famous New York dramatist. With his new Mercury Theatre troupe as his instrument, Welles plans to mount a production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar that will shake the foundations of American stagecraft. But he needs a bit player. Young Richard impresses him with his bravado and his singing voice – he's hired.

Like a moth to a flame, Richard seeks the approval of the quick-tempered director, but soon finds himself distracted by Welles's girl Friday, Sonja. Crisply played by Claire Danes as a woman with equal parts candour and ambition, she is irresistible, and knowingly so.

As Welles whips the troupe into shape for the pending premiere, egos and passions simmer to a boil. Richard falls for Sonja, but Sonja has a soft spot for more powerful men. Welles erupts into roaring fury when things don't go his way, but can turn on a dime to charm an investor or a pouting actor.

McKay was discovered for this role doing a one-man show as Welles, and his performance is pitch perfect in voice and gesture – nothing short of dazzling. Efron is stretching his talent in new directions. He shows truly impressive range here, as the heady environment of the theatre awakens his character's confidence and brings him to an inevitable clash with Welles.

Based on the novel by Robert Kaplow, Me and Orson Welles offers all the thrills of watching genius through the eyes of an innocent. The man who rose from Julius Caesar to War of the Worlds to Citizen Kane must have been hell to live with, which is the delicious pleasure of Me and Orson Welles.

Cameron Bailey

Richard Linklater was born in Houston, Texas, and was one of the first successful talents to emerge from the American independent film cycle of the early nineties. His extensive filmography includes Slacker (91), Dazed and Confused (93), Before Sunrise (95), subUrbia (96), The Newton Boys (98), Waking Life (01), Tape (01), School of Rock (03), the Academy Award®-nominated Before Sunset (04), Bad News Bears (05), A Scanner Darkly (06), Fast Food Nation (06) and Me and Orson Welles (08).

Cadillac People's Choice Award