Roger Ebert (left) and Russ Meyer during their collaboration on “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.”
Roger Ebert spent decades critiquing movies, and now a part of the late Sun-Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winner’s life is headed to the big screen.
“Russ & Roger Go Beyond,” a screenplay penned by Emmy winner Christopher Cluess (“Saturday Night Live,” “The Simpsons”) is being produced by Sobini Films, Permut Presentations and Chautauqua Entertainment. The movie will focus on the relationship between provocative filmmaker Russ Meyer and Ebert while the made “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” at 20th Century Fox. Meyer insisted that Ebert be brought on board to write the script because he was one of the very few critics who had written positive reviews of his earlier films.
The struggle to make “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” was intense at times — as Meyer and Ebert and Fox studio head Richard Zanuck tussled with the Fox board of directors over various issues. In the end, the trio were rewarded when the film was released in 1970 and was a big box office success.