The Dustin Lance Black-penned and Rob Reiner-directed play 8 managed to net about half of Hollywood for its one-night-only L.A. benefit performance on Saturday. And unlike some other one-night-only, celebrity-packed L.A. live readings I could mention — Jason Reitman, you have received my petitions for video documentation of Aaron Paul as Bender, right? — this one has been posted on YouTube for those of us who couldn't score tickets.
The staged reading had such a stacked cast that listing it all in one sentence might send you into a famous-people-induced panic attack, so here's a handy playbill:
- Brad Pitt as the judge
- George Clooney and Martin Sheen as the prosecution
- Kevin Bacon and John C. Reilly as the defense
- Jamie Lee Curtis, Christine Lahti, Matt Bomer and Matthew Morrison as the plaintiffs
- Chris Colfer, Yeardley Smith, Rory O'Malley, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson as witnesses for the prosecution
- George Takei as a witness for the defense
- Jane Lynch as an anti-gay marriage advocate
Black based his play largely off transcripts of the case, which challenged the legality of Proposition 8. A one-night-only reading of it was also staged in New York back in September, with stars including John Lithgow, Morgan Freeman, and Ellen Barkin.
Clooney had this to say on the issue of gay marriage prior to his performance:
"One day the marriage equality fight will look as archaic as George Wallace standing on the University of Alabama steps keeping James Hood from attending college because he was black. People will be embarrassed to have been on the wrong side… I felt it was important to again bring focus to an issue that, in the very near future, we'll look back on and laugh at the fact that it was ever an issue. It's the right thing to do."
It's encouraging to see so many actors using their celebrity to draw attention to gay rights, and all the proceeds from this performance went to the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which helmed the court case against Proposition 8. So score one for gay marriage support. Now, Reitman, again, about that Aaron Paul tape…