It’s been six months since Roger Ebert passed away, and I still find myself saying “I wonder what Ebert would’ve thought of this one?” The film critic’s legacy will be felt for years to come, and now a portion of Ebert’s life is poised to be immortalized onscreen. Sobini Films, Permut Presentations, and Chautauqua Entertainment have acquired Russ & Roger Go Beyond, a screenplay by The Simpsons and SNL scribe Christopher Cluess that focuses on the relationship between Ebert and provocative director Russ Meyer, who helmed Ebert’s one and only screenplay credit Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.
The comedy will chronicle the relationship between the two as they develop and produce Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, which became a critical and commercial success when it was released in 1970. The pic marked Meyer’s first foray into studio filmmaking after having helmed a number of offbeat features like Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill, Kill. Hit the jump to read the full press release.
SOBINI FILMS, PERMUT PRESENTATIONS AND CHAUTAUQUA ENTERTAINMENT PRODUCING COMEDY BASED ON RUSS MEYER AND ROGER EBERT RELATIONSHIP
Los Angeles, CA – (October 8, 2013) Mark Amin’s Sobini Films is partnering with David Permut’s Permut Presentations and Richard Waltzer’s Chautauqua Entertainment to acquire RUSS & ROGER GO BEYOND, a screenplay written by Emmy winner Christopher Cluess (SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, THE SIMPSONS) based on the true story of the unique relationship between provocative filmmaker Russ Meyer and legendary critic Roger Ebert while they made BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS at 20th Century Fox.
Permut, Amin and Waltzer will produce the film with Sobini Films’ Cami Winikoff, Tyler Boehm and David Higgins and Permut Presentations’ Chris Mangano Executive Producing, and Steve Longi Co-producing.
At the end of the 60’s when films like EASY RIDER and BONNIE & CLYDE were reaching new audiences, Meyer, the outlaw director of soft-core pulp films like FASTER PUSSYCAT, KILL, KILL, KILL was given the opportunity to fulfill his lifelong dream of directing a studio film by Richard Zanuck, then head of 20th Century Fox. The studio was struggling with a string of big budget failures and Zanuck thought Meyer was the solution. He offered him BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS and Meyer agreed on the condition that Ebert, then the third string film critic for the Chicago Sun Times (who had written one of the few positive reviews of his work) would write the script. BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS became a struggle between the outsider filmmakers and the establishment studio’s board of directors, particularly over the film’s rating. Meyer, Ebert and Zanuck were ultimately vindicated when BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS was released in 1970 to huge box office success.
Meyer and Ebert remained friends until Meyer passed away in September 2004. Ebert passed away earlier this year after a long public battle with cancer. Last month the Toronto International Film Festival’s opening night paid tribute to Roger Ebert’s life and career.
Sobini Films recently finished shooting period thriller ELIZA GRAVES directed by Brad Anderson and starring Kate Beckinsale, Jim Sturgess, Ben Kingsley and Michael Caine. Sobini’s upcoming projects include A MOMENT TO REMEMBER, a remake of the hit Korean drama by the same name with Ben Lewin (THE SESSIONS) directing and a futuristic reboot of the Zorro franchise.
Permut Presentations recently announced their upcoming feature film projects I AM CHIPPENDALES, written and to be directed by Alan Ball about the dark true-story behind the birth of the famous Los Angeles male strip club, and a Sam Kinison bio-pic to be directed by Larry Charles, staring Josh Gad as the drug fueled preacher turned comedian. Also, Permut is wrapping post production on his next film MATCH, starring Patrick Stewart, and the made for television movie THE COLOR OF RAIN, based on the best-selling book of the same name.
Sobini Films is represented by Paul Almond at Fischbach Perlstein Lieberman & Almond, Permut Presentations is represented by Larry Kopeikin at Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein Kohner & Gellman and Richard Waltzer by Bob Myman of Myman Greenspan Fineman Fox & Light. Christopher Cluess is represented by Corinne Farley at Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein Kohner & Gellman, Michael Sheresky and Ramses IsHak at UTA and Bruce Brown Management.