The old “creative differences” adage gets thrown around so much. It’s come up again, as according to The Wrap, director Michael Winterbottom has dropped out of Russ and Roger, an upcoming buddy comedy that charts the unlikely friendship of sexploitation filmmaker Russ Meyer and film critic Roger Ebert.
There’s no word on exactly what happened but the movie- to be distributed by STX Entertainment- is still hoping to be on track for a shooting start sometime early next year as the search for a new director begins. Will Ferrell (Get Hard) signed on to play Meyer, famed B-director of the camp classic Faster Pussycat! Kill Kill! as has Josh Gad (The Wedding Ringer) to portray Ebert. The film centers around their unlikely friendship while making the 1970 cult favorite Beyond the Valley of the Dolls as well as their battle to fight the MPAA’s X-rating of the film. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls was a film Meyer directed and Ebert famously wrote. Chris Cluess (famed television writer of such shows as The Simpsons, MADtv and Night Court) penned the screenplay.
The highly idiosyncratic Winterbottom has previously directed a wide variety of project that include the critically beloved bio 24 Hour Party People (2002), the sexually explicit romance 9 Songs (2004), the Angelina Jolie headlined A Mighty Heart (2007) and war documentary The Road to Guantanamo (2006). Next on his plate is the already completed Russell Brand documentary The Emperor’s New Clothes and the drama The Longest Cocktail Party.
We will stay tuned to the latest on Russ and Roger.