Where would Clarence Worley and Alabama Whitman be today, apart from being the parents of a now 22-year-old son named Elvis?
Unless we get a True Romance sequel from screenwriter Quentin Tarantino, we’ll never know. But next week, we will see the actors who played those two star-crossed outlaws reunited onstage to reprise their original characters.
Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette will take part in Jason Reitman’s Live Read of True Romance on Dec. 16, joining a new slate of performers enacting the story of the call-girl and the kung-fu fanatic, who steal each other’s hearts — and then steal a bag of cocaine.
“Every once in a while you get a movie where I feel like the voice of the actor is so synonymous with who the character is that it becomes hard to find anyone new,” Reitman tells EW.
RELATED: Patricia Arquette on how True Romance changed her life
The Live Reads are a storytelling experiment, and Reitman usually recruits new performers to recite classic dialogue and add a different dimension to familiar characters. In this case, it’s the same actors as the original film, but the difference is the span of two decades.
“We’ve done this a couple times in the past, where we’ve had a person reprise a role,” Reitman says. “We had Cary Elwes do The Princess Bride, Sam Elliott came back to do The Big Lebowski, Susan Sarandon came back to do Bull Durham.”
In 2011, he also got a grown-up Fred Savage to return as the 10-year-old in The Princess Bride. (The actor even recreated his costume by finding an adult-sized 1980s-era Bears jersey.)
Reitman reached out to Slater and Arquette simultaneously, and they proved to be a package deal. “Both said yes. But both wanted to make sure the other was in. It was very sweet,” he says. “One didn’t want to do it without the other.”
The two stars have been having a strong year. Arquette won best supporting actress for Boyhood at the Oscars last February, and Slater was nominated for a supporting actor Golden Globe today for the USA Network drama Mr. Robot. (Reitman is also the producer of Hulu’s Casual, which was was nominated for best TV comedy/musical.)
Reitman curates the Live Read series with film critic Elvis Mitchell, whose longtime friendship with Tarantino helped secure his permission to perform the script, which was originally directed by the late Tony Scott.
“Tarantino was the first punk rock filmmaker of my generation, and True Romance is a film that hit me at the right time when I was thinking about becoming a filmmaker myself,” Reitman says. “This will be the third of Quentin’s script we’ve done. We did Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction and he did his own reading of The Hateful Eight as part of the series.”
The show will be presented by Film Independent and take place at the Ace Hotel theater in downtown Los Angeles. If you’re in the neighborhood, here’s where you can find tickets.