The Cinema Verite Trailer: Jon & Kate Plus James Gandolfini

verite_225.jpgThere is something truly amazing yet unsettling about hearing James Gandolfini talk in his non-Tony Soprano voice. It has a dog-walking-on-hind-legs quality to it -- your ears do what amounts to a double take. Of course, the different voice choices are how you know when Gandolfini is "acting" and not merely doing a variation on his famed -- and brilliant -- portrayal of Tony Soprano on The Sopranos. Sometimes the accents fail (cough, Welcome to the Rileys), but they are always an interesting choice. To wit: His affectation as a sleazy reality television producer in 1970s California is perfect in the trailer for Cinema Verite. How about the rest of this movie-about-a-documentary telefilm?

Well, it doesn't look bad! Directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini (American Splendor) Cinema Verite tells the story of the Loud family, the infamous subjects of the 1973 PBS reality series An American Family, which most hail as the first successful foray into televised reality programming. (Thanks, PBS!) As the trailer shows, the Louds crumbled under the spotlight -- or "eye of that hurricane" as Mama Loud says during an interview within the film -- but that didn't stop television from caring about the foibles of common folk in the future. See also, every reality show ever.

As the Louds, Diane Lane and Tim Robbins seem ideally suited, while Gandolfini -- in a douche-tastic 70s beard -- exudes oily opportunism as their do-anything-for-the-reality television producer. Toss in some gorgeous '70s scenery and the Mamas and the Papas and you've got period piece nirvana. Cinema Verite debuts in April.