Sunday, November 01, 2009

Amazing Resemblance

As research for a piece I'm writing, yesterday I watched "Citizen Kane" and "The Battle Over Citizen Kane." The second film had a photograph of Orson Welles just after his arrival in Hollywood in 1939, sporting a Van Dyck beard and smoking a pipe.

Wow, I thought, that "beatnik" guy on "Mad Men" (above right) looks just like Welles. I wonder if it's by accident or on purpose?

I stopped wondering after a Google search for "Michael Gladis" + "Orson Welles" got 225 results, the 2nd of which is an AMC blog, which begins:

He looks like Orson Welles, smokes like Albert Einstein and wants to be Ernest Hemingway. Michael Gladis was born to play bohemian ad man, Paul Kinsey.

Q: Your character is compared to Orson Welles. You've played Orson on stage. Is this an ongoing theme?

A: I remember at like six-years-old my grandmother saying you look like a young Orson Welles and I had no idea who that was. I had to turn to my mother and be like is that a good thing or a bad thing? She said no sweetie it's a very good thing. My whole life there has been comparisons drawn. I was cast to play Orson in a film that didn't get made and I was heartbroken.

Q: Did that have anything to do with casting you as Paul?

A: That came up in the audition. Matt Weiner, at the beginning of the season (I think referencing our conversation in the audition room) said some time this season someone is going to make note of your resemblance to Orson Welles. Mark my words. And I never heard anything else about it. I'd see every script and there was nothing there. Finally, Joan makes the reference in Episode 12 and Matt says see you thought I forgot didn't you? He stuck it in.

Until I read the above, I'd forgotten about that line. I wonder how Gladis feels about Christian McKay, who played Welles in the play "Rosebud," getting to portray him again in "Me and Orson Welles," which opens on Nov 25. McKay sure as hell doesn't look like Welles in the movie's poster, below. However, he does in the shot with Zac Efron, probably due to padded cheeks and bulky clothing.

1 comment:

Warren Bobrow said...

thank you for these great pictures! Orson Wells looks so hip... Cheers. wb