Film Independent at LACMA closed out its season Thursday with a Live Read of "The Graduate." Director Jason Reitman led the event.
Before the Live Read began, Reitman made an announcement that someone very special was in the packed 600-seat Bing Theatre. It was none other than the original screenwriter of "The Graduate," Buck Henry. When he stood to say hello, the entire theater gave him a standing ovation.
Unlike previous Live Reads, such as Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen Unite for 'Pulp Fiction' Live Read" href="http://variety.com/2014/scene/news/joseph-gordon-levitt-jonah-hill-seth-rogen-unite-for-pulp-fiction-live-read-1201115080/" rel="nofollow">"Pulp Fiction" and Harold Ramis at Live Read of 'Groundhog Day'" href="http://variety.com/2014/scene/news/jason-bateman-jason-reitman-honor-harold-ramis-at-live-read-of-groundhog-day-1201141743/" rel="nofollow">"Groundhog Day," Reitman hadn't announced all of the event's participants, so it remained a mystery who would be playing the iconic roles of Benjamin Braddock and Mrs. Robinson. Reitman called the readers one by one to take their seats/roles.
Jay Baruchel read the lead character Benjamin Braddock, Mae Whitman took on the role of Elaine Robinson, and the biggest surprise was Sharon Stone as Mrs. Robinson.
Baruchel played an awkward Benjamin while Stone oozed sexual tension while remaining very cold. When it came time for Mrs. Robinson's and Benjamin's first tryst at the Taft Hotel, Baruchel took the reading one step further and planted a kiss on Stone.
The audience erupted.
"I'll get undressed now. Is that all right?" Stone asks coldly.
"Sure. Shall I, I mean, shall I just stand here? I mean, I don't know what you want me to do," Baruchel gulped with a combination of fear and awkwardness.
"Why don't you watch?" Stone replied.
At the end of the reading when it came time for Benjamin to go after Elaine, Baruchel spared no emotion when it came time to bang on the imaginary window in the imaginary church. "ELAINE!!!!" Baruchel stood up and screamed as if he were really Hoffman in that famous scene.
Whitman responded with the same enthusiasm, also screaming at the top of her lungs.
Of course, the Live Read started and ended with Simon and Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson."