It’s been a long time since Cary Fukunaga earned his first break in the movie business at a now-defunct filmmakers’ co-op just south of Market. But sitting in a posh suite at the St. Regis Hotel, promoting his captivating new adaptation of Jane Eyre, the Oakland-born director seems inclined to reminisce.
“It was sort of like the Bay Area’s independent film bureau,” says Fukunaga, 33. “You went there if you wanted to get low-end indie-movie production jobs. I found a flier for some really low-budget horror film looking for a location scout, and I got the job, working for free.
If Christian McKay seems uncannily accurate in his riveting portrayal of Orson Welles, the legendary star of stage, screen and radio whose outsize personality was as much a part of his mystique as the productions he so meticulously crafted, credit the man with doing his homework.
Richard Linklater’s new comedy isn’t a biography of Orson Welles – based on Robert Kaplow’s bestselling novel, it portrays the late, great director at 22, brimming with confidence and a furious desire to take Broadway by storm – but it captures his larger-than-life spirit, the hubris of an artist reaching the height of his creative powers and fully aware of it.
The film is set in 1937, a week prior to the opening of Welles’ innovative reimagining of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar with the Mercury Theatre players. Richard (Zac Efron) is a fresh-faced rube, hired by Welles on a whim and thrust into the role of Lucius, which requires a strong set of pipes, a familiarity with the ukulele and the moxie to act opposite the director himself, playing Brutus.
Who is Henry Jaglom?
The answer is complicated enough to have inspired a 1995 documentary, in which conflicting portraits of the London-born director are offered. Is he “the worst filmmaker in America,” as one magazine editor suggested then? Or is he the daring auteur whose work has been described by Roger Ebert as “smart” and “sophisticated”? Do his films suggest a subconscious hatred of women, as a female sociologist once alleged, or do they reflect the “feminine, observant nature” some of his leading ladies profess to admire?