Report: Will Ferrell may star in Ebert movie
Will Ferrell reportedly will star in a new movie about Roger Ebert’s first and only screenplay.
When Ebert was a young man at the beginning of his Sun-Times career, the Urbana native wrote the screenplay for a satire of “Valley of the Dolls” for B-movie director Russ Meyer.
Ferrell would portray Meyer, the creator of “Vixen” and “Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” and other softcore films.
The story of the new film, “Russ & Roger Go Beyond,” is about the making of “Beyond The Valley of the Dolls,” which was released in 1970 and took in $9 million at the box office, 10 times its budget.
The news was broken by website Deadline.com on Friday, and picked up by a slew of movie industry sources.
Deadline said Ferrell had not yet inked the deal, but there were plans to start shooting the film early next year.
Speculation is that Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen or Clark Duke might play young Ebert. Calls and emails to the producer named, Sobini Films, were not returned Saturday.
The sexploitation movie was an odd footnote in Ebert’s career. He wrote the story for the film together with Meyer, who was trying to gain credibility in Hollywood’s major markets.
Ebert was not only Meyer’s critic, he was his fan.
“What Meyer’s films also have is an uncommonly high level of artistry. In professional filmmaking circles, Meyer is known as the one creative director in the sexploitation field,” the critic wrote in 1969.
“His competitors churn out slipshod low-budget films exploiting the nudity of their actresses (who usually look hideous enough to inspire cries of ‘put it on!’). But Meyer budgets his films at around $70,000 — or 10 times the usual level — and rehearses his cast for a month before shooting.”