We’ve all been there: reaching the end of Casablanca and crying our eyes out at Rick’s sense of duty and self-sacrifice as he watches the love of his life depart to the strains of “La Marseillaise”. It’s enough to thaw the iciest of hearts.
And yet the wartime classic is being remade – live, for one night only, as a lesbian love affair with an all-female cast. Ellen Page will take the place of Rick, the handsome but cynical barkeep in the Moroccan city, a role immortalised by Humphrey Bogart. Kiersey Clemons is set to replace Ingrid Bergman as the beautiful Ilsa, the fugitive trying to flee Casablanca with Victor Laszlo, her heroic but long-absent husband. Rick and Ilsa’s fleeting romance inspires the film’s most famous musical number, the tender piano ballad ‘As Time Goes By,’ sung by the ever-present Sam (Dooley Wilson).
The full cast, including the role of Sam, has yet to be announced, but the live read-through of the film will take place on 13th December at the Ace Theatre in Los Angeles, directed by Jason Reitman. It continues the Live Reads Series, which has seen, among others, Seth Rogen and Jack Black reading Ghostbusters and Steve Carrell and Natalie Portman reading The Apartment.
Famous for cult classics such as Juno and Thank You For Smoking, Reitman has also become renowned for doing alternative renditions of celebrated films, including an all-female version of the pulitzer-winning Glengarry Glen Ross. This is a one-night only event, for those in and around L.A.
Proceeds from the tickets sales will go to benefit the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, which supports grassroots organizations fighting globally for LGBTQ rights. Tickets can be purchased at axs.com.