Guest director Evan Goldberg, co-writer of “This Is the End,” led the live read with a surprise cast featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Wendell Pierce, Rebecca Romijn, Jordan Peele, Lizzy Caplan, Nick Kroll and Michael Chiklis.
The 600 seats were completely filled inside LACMA’s Bing Theater with many people on standby hoping to grab a straggling seat. No phones or recordings were allowed in the theater.
Caplan channeled her best Honey Bunny in the opening scene at the diner, with Hill as Pumpkin, sans London accent. “Any of you fucking pricks move, and I’ll execute every motherfucking last one of ya!” screamed Caplan, just as Amanda Plummer did in the film. The audience broke out in cheers.
From then, the live read really took off. Pierce played gangster Marsellus Wallace and Rogen took the role of Lance, Vincent Vega’s drug dealer.
Gordon-Levitt read the role of Vincent, sounding almost identical to John Travolta, and Peele took on Samuel L. Jackson’s character Jules. Both actors wore black suits and black ties, reminiscent of the iconic attire in the movie.
Chiklis received laughs from the crowd when he took to the mic as scared and timid Brett, who gets shot by Jules and Vincent. Chiklis fake cried, trembled and even jolted in his seat, pretending to be shot to death as Brett did onscreen.
Chiklis also offered a long and well-received monologue as Captain Koons. Koons, played by Christopher Walken in the movie, explains to Butch, read by Hill, that he’s been hiding Butch’s father’s gold watch in his rectum for two years.
Chiklis said, with the same Texas accent and waving his own watch, “So he hid it in the one place he knew he could hide somethin’. His ass.” Rogen cracked up.
Another scene-stealer came from Gordon-Levitt and Caplan at Jackrabbit Slim’s.
Caplan, this time as Uma Thurman’s Mia Wallace, faked doing a big line of coke just like Mia did off the bathroom sink in the film. “I said goddamn!” Caplan shouted.
“You Never Can Tell” by Chuck Berry filled the theater as the two actors rose from their seats and reenacted the famous twist contest scene from the movie. Their improvised dancing made the crowd go wild.
And who knew Rebecca Romijn was bi-accented? The actress switched from Colombian cab driver Esmarelda to Butch’s French girlfriend Fabienne.
“Can we make spoons?” Romijn said in her soft baby voice and French accent.
Hill also improvised with the French language. “Sacre bleu,” he said during the fight scene with Marsellus, and then laughed at his own attempt to speak French.
Throughout the performance Kroll had parts as English Dave, the manager at the diner, the boxing trainer, and the character Marvin. But, he really got the audience’s attention when he took it upon himself to read aloud the giggles and grunts made by the Gimp.
Rogen and Kroll had the crowd rolling with their chemistry during the back-and-forth dialogue as hillbillies Maynard and Zed.
“Whoa, this boy’s got a bit of fight in ’em!” said Rogen. “You wanna fight? You wanna fight? Good, I like to fight!” Kroll followed in the same hillbilly accent. Enter laughs from the entire panel.
The rest of the script was read with Chiklis as the Wolf and Rogen as Jimmy.
The live read ended with a standing ovation and “Surf Rider” playing while the crowd filed out of the theater.
Just as Vincent said to Jules in the last scene, “I think we oughta leave now.”
“That’s probably a good idea.”