Josh Gad is best known for playing roles in Frozen and The Book of Mormon, but he has dabbled with portraying real figures, too. He played Apple Computer co-founder Steve Wozniak in Jobs, and now he’s in line to play the late film critic Roger Ebert in Russ & Roger Go Beyond. The film already has Will Ferrell lined up to play filmmaker Russ Meyer, who with Ebert created the film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. This film plans to explore their friendship and working relationship, and the origin of that film. And if we see Josh Gad as Roger Ebert opposite Ferrell as Meyer, we have to assume it is meant to be quite the comedy as well. Read More »
In 1970, soft-core exploitation maestro Russ Meyer and film critic Roger Ebert collaborated on a film that Ebert later characterized as one “that got made by accident when the lunatics took over the asylum.” Beyond the Valley of the Dolls was originally intended to be a sequel to the melodrama Valley of the Dolls, but in the hands of Meyer and Ebert it became something else. Ebert calls it “a satire of Hollywood conventions, genres, situations, dialogue, characters and success formulas.” It’s a bizarre curio of a very different Hollywood.
Naturally, the story of its creation is going to be a movie, called Russ & Roger Go Beyond. Will Ferrell is looking like the actor who will play Russ Meyer in a project that doesn’t yet have any other creative talent attached.
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It was inevitable that Roger Ebert‘s life story would end up on film in some manner. A documentary or two seemed the most likely method, but a couple producers have something else in mind, and are putting together a dramatic feature.
The film is called Russ & Roger Go Beyond, and it has a script by Christopher Cluess (SNL, The Simpsons) that tells the tale of the collaboration and unique friendship between director Russ Meyer and critic as they worked together on Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Ebert scripted the film for the b-movie mogul whose drive-in cheapies featured outrageously busty women, strange comedy, and plenty of sordid thrills and violence.
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, co-written by Ebert and Meyer and directed by Meyer, wasn’t quite like the director’s other “bosomania” efforts. It was originally developed as a sequel to the trashy drug melodrama Valley of the Dolls. (Where “dolls” meant pills, not women.) But Ebert and Meyer eventually scripted the film as a spoof of the original and, as Ebert said, “a satire of Hollywood conventions, genres, situations, dialogue, characters and success formulas, heavily overlaid with such shocking violence that some critics didn’t know whether the movie ‘knew’ it was a comedy.” Read More »