assembled an all-female cast to live-read the Oscar-winning
script at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles last Saturday, with all proceeds going to
. Ellen Page and
reprised their original roles as Juno MacGuff and Vannesa Loring, the woman who eventually adopts the baby. The two were joined by
as Paulie Bleeker,
as Juno's outspoken best friend Leah,
as Mark Loring,
as Juno's father Mac and
Tracee Ellis Ross
as Juno’s stepmother Bren.
While the reading at the 1600-seat venue was a predictable triumph, the evening began with a pair of surprise performances from the film's platinum-selling soundtrack.
Barry Louis Polisar
sang the unofficial theme "All I Want Is You" and
performed six of the album's tracks in total, commencing with "Tire Swing".
Reitman, who was reading the directions, admitted feeling "really emotional" and took a moment to compose himself before introducing writer
with the words: "Thank you for changing all of our lives with this movie." Onstage, Cody revealed to the auditorium, "I actually tried to get a small role in this film when it was made, and I am such a bad actress that even this person [eyeing Reitman] who I think genuinely loves me was like ‘No.’." She also told
at the event's after-party, held on the theatre's mezzanine entryway, that she auditioned on tape to play the abortion clinic specialist who memorably offers Juno boysenberry-flavored condoms, the same ones that "make my boyfriend's balls smell like pie." Reitman made the right call, she continued.
Even so, one personal regret from the film has been "haunting her for years." "In a way I feel like I had a responsibility to maybe be more explicitly pro-choice, and I wasn't," Cody said. Although she also "never attempted to hide" her values, "I think I took the right to choose for granted at the time. Something that's disturbed me over the years is people perceiving Juno as an anti-choice movie. It was very healing for me tonight to have a representative from Planned Parenthood stand up there and say that she supported the narrative". Ultimately, the main character's decision not to have an abortion was due more to Cody's "personal peccadillos" than "any moral conundrum." "I'm afraid to give blood, so I could see myself freaking out in the waiting room of an abortion clinic," she confessed.
Evelyn Garcia over at
The Poly Post
wrote a great recap of the evening, which we would like to share with you here as well:
'Juno' 10th anniversary live read for a good cause
Evelyn Garcia, A&E Editor - Monday, April 10, 2017 9:33 pm
Most people remember and love the film “Juno,” about the witty outcast teenager (Ellen Page) who faces an unplanned pregnancy with her best friend and admirer, Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera). The film’s unique approach to the topic, alongside delightful humor and great performances, garnered it much attention and even an Oscar win for writer Diablo Cody for best original screenplay. It’s been 10 years since then, so in honor of the film’s anniversary, director Jason Reitman decided to put together a live read as he has with other films, this time to benefit Planned Parenthood. For five years, Reitman presented live-read shows for various films and believed he wouldn’t return. That is, until President Donald Trump won the election. Reitman gathered an all-star, all-female cast to live-read the script at the theater at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles Saturday, with all proceeds going to Planned Parenthood.
In the weeks leading up to the event, Reitman used social media platforms to encourage people to donate, attend and enjoy the evening during a difficult and uncertain time under a new administration. Information tables with merchandise, donation boxes and forms to sign up to volunteer at Planned Parenthood were lined up inside the venue as attendees mingled before the show.
The night began with Barry Louis Polisar playing the recognizable “All I Want is You” from the Juno soundtrack. Cheers erupted as the audience sang along. Immediately following, Sue Dunlap, CEO of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, walked on stage. She addressed the need for the audience to stand up for Planned Parenthood, and then requested they literally stand up as she explained the important services the organization provides. Dunlap posed the question, “If not now, when?” multiple times to drive the point home on the importance behind taking action. “We will not go back,” Dunlap shouted over applause. The audience was then treated by another performance, this time by Kimya Dawson, who sang “Tire Swing,” another song on the soundtrack and a fan favorite.
Reitman joined the stage and echoed the importance of ensuring Planned Parenthood is supported, saying Juno had a choice, referring to her initial decision in the film to get an abortion, then ultimately putting her baby up for adoption. Ellen Page and Jennifer Garner effortlessly reprised their original roles as Juno MacGuff and Vannesa Loring, respectively. The two were joined by Kristen Wiig as Vanessa’s husband Mark (originally Jason Bateman), Alia Shawkat as Paulie Bleeker, Tig Notaro as Juno’s father Mac (J.K. Simmons), Tracee Ellis Ross as Juno’s stepmother Bren (Allison Janney) and Issa Rae as Leah (Olivia Thirlby), her outspoken best friend.
As Reitman narrated the script, the hilarious women stole the show, even pausing in between scenes as the audience and they themselves couldn’t contain their laughter. In a particular scene where Juno is explaining how her father named her after the Greek god Zeus’ wife, Page hesitated as she said she “was supposed to be super beautiful but really mean...kind of like Diana Ross.” Real-life daughter Ross interrupted, asking Reitman why it wasn’t left out of the script as the room erupted in laughter. Such candid moments occurred throughout the night, reminding the audience it was an unrehearsed live reading, but still beyond entertaining to watch. As Page strung along with a guitar accompanied by Dawson, the show ended with herself and Shawkat singing “Anyone Else But You.” Nostalgia filled the room as Garner and Wiig motioned for the audience to sing along, reminding everyone how Cera and Page did so sweetly in the film 10 years ago. This time, however, it was led by a group of talented women supporting a good cause in order to encourage others to do the same.