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Ellen Page and queer, female cast will do ‘Casablanca’ live reading

Ellen Page

Oscar-nominated actress Ellen Page will join a queer and female cast for a live reading that re-imagines the classic 1942 film “Casablanca.” Photo: Sam Jones.

Oscar-nominated actress Ellen Page will join a queer and female cast for a live reading that re-imagines the classic 1942 film “Casablanca.”

“Live Read of Casablanca (1942),” which will take place at the Ace Theatre in downtown Los Angeles December 13, will benefit LGBTQ grassroots activists through the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice.

Tickets for the one-night only performance, ranging from $30 to $150, are on sale.

‘Casablanca’ Reading

“ ‘Casablanca is such an iconic film and screenplay with some of the most famous lines in film history,” Page said in a telephone interview with Q Voice News Tuesday.

“It’s also one of the most iconic romance movies. We wanted to show a more inclusive cast. We will have a queer and female cast,” said Page, who identifies as a lesbian and came out in 2014 at an LGBTQ youth conference in Las Vegas.

Casting details are being finalized and expected to be announced this week. Page said she doesn’t yet know what character she will portray.

The entire film will be performed in the reading, Page said.

Writer-director Jason Reitman, who worked with Page on 2007’s “Juno,” is collaborating with her on “Live Read of Casablanca (1942).”

Jason Reitman

Writer-director Jason Reitman, who worked with Ellen Page on 2007’s “Juno,” is collaborating with her on “Live Read of Casablanca (1942).” Photo: Dale Robinette.

‘Live Reads’ series

The “Live Reads” series ran for five-consecutive sold out seasons, including appearances at the Toronto International Film Festival and Just For Laughs in Montreal.

The Apartment” with Steve Carell and Natalie Portman, “Reservoir Dogs” with Cuba Gooding Jr and Laurence Fishburne, “The Breakfast Club” with J.K. Simmons and Patton Oswalt, and “Ghostbusters” with Seth Rogen and Jack Black are some of the films that have been re-imagined.

In April, Page and Reitman reunited to raise money for Planned Parenthood, with an all-female live read of “Juno.” Page reprised her role and was joined by Jennifer Garner, Alia Shawkat, Tracee Ellis Ross, Issa Rae, and Kristen Wiig.

LGBTQ Activism

Page told Reitman she wanted to do a benefit that would benefit Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, and Reitman supported the idea.

“I admire Astraea so much,” Page said. “They give grants for grassroots activists who help the more marginalized members of our LGBTQ community. They support the bravest and most radical organizations fighting for change and equality.”

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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