Bill Hader to play Roger Corman in a reading of 'The Man With Kaleidoscope Eyes'

Bill Hader will take the role of famed filmmaker Roger Corman at 8 p.m. tonight in a live reading of “The Man With Kaleidoscope Eyes” at the Vista Theatre as part of the ongoing SpectreFest.

Besides Hader as Corman, the cast will include Jason Ritter as Peter Fonda, Ethan Embry as Jack Nicholson, Hopper Penn as Dennis Hopper and James Adomian as Peter Bogdanovich and Bruce Dern. Also participating will be Claudia O’Doherty, Pat Healy, Sarah Burns and Sky Elobar.

The narrator for the reading will be director Joe Dante, who has been trying to get the “Kaleidoscope Eyes” script into production for many years. Written by Tim Lucas and Charlie Largent (with additional work by Michael Almereyda and James Robison), the film tells the story of Corman first taking LSD while working on the notorious 1967 drug film “The Trip.”

“It’s the equivalent of a test screening of a movie that isn’t made,” said Dante in an interview earlier this week.

Corman himself will be at the event as well, because before the reading he will put his hands in cement in a ceremony outside the theater. Corman, a producer and director, is known best as the B-movie godfather who nurtured the early talents of Nicholson, Fonda, Bogdanovich and many others including Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Jonathan Demme and John Sayles.

Dante worked for Corman starting in the early 1970s, cutting trailers before stepping up to direct the Corman-produced “Piranha” and then moving on to make films such as “The Howling,” “Gremlins” and “Small Soldiers.”

“This particular period in his life, when he made ‘The Trip,’ was kind of a crossroads for him,” said Dante of Corman. “He is sort of a stand-in for all of the… I hesitate to say square people, but all of the people who weren’t quite as hip as other people, who were learning about the changes going on in the culture and in the world.

“The thing I find most interesting about this script is it’s all true,” added Dante. “We didn’t make up a lot of stuff. These are the real people with their real names and the real things that happened. And in many cases the things that they actually said.”

SpectreFest, put on in conjunction between SpectreVision and Cinefamily, continues through Nov. 9. Also tonight is a preview of J.A. Bayona’s “A Monster Calls” at the Cinefamily.

There will also be a four-night series known as “Phenome-con” celebrating the paranormal, including a preview screening of “Ouija: Origin of Evil.” Filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul will be on hand to present his “Cemetery of Splendor” and “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.” Also in the program is the world theatrical premiere of the black-and white version of George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road.” The festival will close with a screening of Denis Villeneuve’s “Arrival.”

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Mark.Olsen@latimes.com

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