Buoyed by the success of Samuel L. Jackson’s rendition of Go The Fuck To Sleep, Audible.com has launched a whole new line of “A-List” audiobooks, in which various celebrities help make reading things way easier for you by doing so in their velvety celebrity voices, which tricks your sluggish and resistant mind into thinking it’s watching a movie instead. And while the idea of a celebrity reading an audiobook isn’t exactly new, Audible’s gathering of talent such as Kate Winslet, Anne Hathaway, Colin Firth, Dustin Hoffman, Annette Bening, Naomi Watts, Diane Keaton, Nicole Kidman, Hilary Swank, Jennifer Connelly, and Susan Sarandon necessitates that the project be described in a press release as an effort to “reinvent the audiobook into a new form of interpretive art—one analogous to theater and classical music, in which the performance is every bit as important as the prose.” After all, some of those people have won Oscars.
Also, the Audible project is apparently slightly more personal than your typical audiobook, as each actor personally chose their respective work because they were specifically passionate about it. You can judge for yourself whether that all adds up to anything by downloading some of the first releases in the series here, which so far include Sarandon’s take on Carson McCullers’ The Member Of The Wedding and Jackson doing Chester Himes’ A Rage In Harlem (which sounds about right). And you can get some idea of the “passion” involved with the below footage of Anne Hathaway taping her session for The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz, in which she imbues every one of her lines not only with her fame, but with her usual shrill, maniacal energy, thus ensuring you won't accidentally fall asleep while driving.