It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Remember that Orson Welles himself didn't always look like Orson Welles. He was a master of makeup and disguise, and even when appearing in the first person, liked to use a little putty to build up a nose he considered a tad too snubbed. The impersonation of Welles by Christian McKay in "Me and Orson Welles" is the centerpiece of the film, and from it, all else flows. We can almost accept that this is the Great Man.
Twenty-four years after his death at 70, Welles is more than ever a Great Man. There is something about his manner, his voice and the way he carries himself that evokes greatness, even if it is only his own conviction of it. He is widely thought of as having made one masterpiece, "Citizen Kane" (1941) and several other considerable films, but flaming out into uncompleted projects and failed promise. Yet today even such a film as "The Magnificent Ambersons" (1942), with its ending destroyed by the studio, often makes lists of the greatest of all time.
Oh, he had an ego. He once came to appear at Chicago's Auditorium Theatre. A snowstorm shut down the city, but he was able to get to the theater from his nearby hotel. At curtain time, he stepped before the handful of people who had been able to attend. "Good evening," he said. "I am Orson Welles -- director, producer; actor; impresario; writer; artist; magician; star of stage, screen and radio, and a pretty fair singer. Why are there so many of me, and so few of you?"
Richard Linklater's "Me and Orson Welles" is one of the best movies about the theater I've ever seen, and one of the few to relish the resentment so many of Welles' collaborators felt for the Great Man. He was such a multitasker that while staging his famous Mercury Theatre productions on Broadway, he also starred in several radio programs, carried on an active social life and sometimes napped by commuting between jobs in a hired ambulance. Much of the day for a Welles cast member was occupied in simply waiting for him to turn up at the theater.