Roger Ebert (1942-2013) was not just a movie critic, he was the movie critic. He became the first film critic to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and remains by far the most prominent in his field. But did you know that he also helped make a few movies of his own? A screenplay for Russ and Roger Go Beyond, from Emmy-winning writer Christopher Cleuss (Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons), follows the production of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970), a film written by Roger Ebert and directed by his good friend Russ Meyer (1922-2004). Meyer was best known as a director of pulpy exploitation films. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, a follow-up/parody of Valley of the Dolls, was his first studio feature. Ebert, at the time only a few years into his career at the Chicago Sun-Times, was one of the few critics giving positive reviews to Meyer’s work. The two would go on to collaborate on future projects as well including Up and Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens.
Russ and Roger Go Beyond will focus on the friendship between the two men and their struggles against the studio as they fight to make the silly, ludicrous movie that they want to make. Russ and Roger has no director at this time, but considering how quick the turnaround was for the first Steve Jobs movie, we bet it’s not long before a studio lines someone up.