Documentary director Marina Zenovich (Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired) is set to make a documentary based on Mark Harris’ excellent 2008 book Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood. The book chronicles the production of the five films that were nominated for Best Picture at the 1967 Academy Awards: Bonnie and Clyde, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, In the Heat of the Night, The Graduate, and Dr. Doolittle (If you’re wondering, In the Heat of the Night won). It chooses ’67 as the year that was the beginning of Hollywood’s second Golden Age. I love warts-and-all tales of a film’s production and Pictures is five of those stories packed into one terrifically-written book. It’s similar to Peter Biskind’s Easy Riders, Raging Bulls (which is also a must-read), but less on the sensational side.
Zenovich had 60s-70s Hollywood at the periphery of the excellent Wanted and Desired, and I’ve been anxious to see what would be her follow-up to that amazing film. To learn that she’s going to be making a film based on one of my favorite film history books has me excited out of my mind for this project. [Variety] [Update: You can now read the press release after the jump]
Here’s the press release:
New York, NY (May 16, 2010) – Oscilloscope Laboratories announced today that it will partner with Specialty Films to develop and produce a feature-length documentary based on Entertainment Weekly columnist and acclaimed film writer Mark Harris’ 2008 New York Times best-seller “Pictures At A Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood” and have set award-winning Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired filmmaker Marina Zenovich to direct.
“Pictures” tells the unique story of the incredibly diverse five Best Picture Oscar nominees for 1967: Bonnie and Clyde, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, In the Heat of the Night, The Graduate and. Dr. Doolittle (!). The book weaves together the stories of how each film was conceived, made and released. The documentary will create a conversation between all five films to capture the realities of filmmaking at the time and examine the wider story of this crucial period in Hollywood – and America at large. The story set the stage for and is relevant to today’s unpredictable marketplace; as Harris writes “the only event more disruptive to the industry’s ecosystem than an unexpected flop is an unexpected smash, caught off guard by the sudden arrival of more revenue than they thought their movies could ever bring in, the major studios resorted to three old habits: imitation, frenzied speculation, and panic.”
Specialty’s Rachael Horovitz (Grey Gardens, Moneyball), who also produced a documentary of Steven Bach’s Heaven’s Gate chronicle “Final Cut,” said, “Mark’s book so perfectly captures the struggles and unknowables of movie-making, and with such great detail and wit, that we thought it was worth bringing the story to the screen itself.”
Marina Zenovich said, “I’m looking forward to bringing to life the story of Hollywood’s revolutionary year. If you want to know when the golden era of ’70’s American cinema really starts, then this is it.”
Adam Yauch, head of Oscilloscope said, “We are really looking forward to working with these guys. Rachael is a longtime friend. She and I have talked about doing something together for decades, and I can’t imagine a better project, or more perfect director to helm it than Marina. I’m a huge fan of the Polanski doc she made. So without further ado, let’s light this candle.”
Horovitz will serve as producer with Zenovich’s collaborator P. G. Morgan. Adam Yauch and David Fenkel of O-scope will serve as executive producers of the documentary. Oscilloscope Laboratories will theatrically release the film in North America and qualify it for the Academy Awards.