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Will Ferrell could play Russ Meyer for Edgar Wright?

Ebert-and-Russ-Meyer-ave-atque-valeNow this could be an intriguing film if it winds up getting made at all. Apparently there’s a project making the rounds called Russ & Roger Go Beyond, which tells the tale of how filmmaker Russ Meyer and film critic Roger Ebert got together to make Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. None other than Will Ferrell is interested in playing Meyer, with a director like Edgar Wright kicking the tires on this one. I’m curious to see who might want to play Ebert. Folks have always talked about Jonah Hill for that role or maybe Seth Rogen, but I’d be interested in perhaps T.J. Miller getting a crack at the part. Obviously this is all speculation right now, but if Russ & Roger Go Beyond does get made, it could be a fun flick. You can see a bit more on it below, but this movie is just a glimmer in Hollywood’s eye right now.

Here’s the story from Deadline:

Will Ferrell is circling to play softcore film producer Russ Meyer in a movie about the time he collaborated with film critic Roger Ebert to make Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls. The indie project is taking shape quickly. Filmmakers including Edgar Wright are intrigued, as are actors who might play the late Ebert, a strong role for anyone from Jonah Hill to Seth Rogen and others. Mark Amin’s Sobini Films and David Permut and Richard Waltzer are producing Russ & Roger Go Beyond, a script by Emmy-winning Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons scribe Christopher Cluess. Ferrell still has to make a deal, but he puts this on a fast track and the hope is to shoot early next year.

Beyond The Valley Of The DollsThe script focus is the late 1960s, when cheap counterculture films like Easy Rider were minting money, and 20th Century Fox was struggling mightily over a number of big-budget flops. Meyer was already established as the outlaw helmer of softcore pulp films like Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill, and he wanted the legitimacy of making a studio film. Richard Zanuck, then head of 20th, gave him that opportunity because his profit margins were so high and his costs were minuscule.

When Meyer agreed to take on Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls, he insisted the script get written by Ebert, the third-string movie critic of the Chicago Sun Times who had written one of the few positive reviews Meyer had ever received. Given the esteem in which Ebert was held as a film critic when he died, it seems remarkable he meshed so well with Meyer and his brigade of buxom actresses. The film will follow that relationship, and the struggle with the ratings board. It became the rare major studio release with an X rating, but it became a big profitable hit and Meyer and Ebert stayed close until the former died in 2004. Ebert passed away two years ago. Ferrell, who most recently starred with Kevin Hart in the Etan Cohen-directed comedy Get Hard, is repped by CAA and Mosaic.

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Written by Joey Magidson

When he’s not obsessing over new Oscar predictions on a weekly basis, Joey is seeing between 300 and 350 movies a year. He views the best in order to properly analyze the awards race/season each year, but he also watches the worst for reasons he mostly sums up as "so you all don't have to". In his spare time, you can usually find him complaining about the Jets or the Mets. Still, he lives and dies by film. Joey's a voting member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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