Plotting an exit from the horror genre, The Lords of Salem director Rob Zombie will direct and produce a biopic about the last years of comedian Groucho Marx, based on the Steve Stoliar memoir Raised Eyebrows: My Years Inside Groucho’s House.
The memoir recounts Stoliar’s experiences over three years as Marx’s personal secretary and archivist at the actor’s home in Beverly Hills, during which time he rubbed elbows with the likes of Zeppo and Gummo Marx, George Burns, Bob Hope, Jack Lemmon, S.J. Perelman, Steve Allen, Mae West and – of course – Erin Fleming, who exercised extreme control over Marx in his final years.
Groucho was the middle brother in the comedy trio that revolutionized Hollywood in the first half of the 20th century. Among his 26 movies were revered classics Duck Soup, Monkey Business and A Night at the Opera.
Oren Moverman, who co-wrote the excellent biopic Love & Mercy, will write the screenplay. Said Zombie:
“I have been a huge Groucho Marx fan ever since I was a child and have read countless book on the comic legend, but after reading the book Raised Eyebrows, a totally new perspective on Groucho’s life emerged. I immediately saw this project as Groucho’s Sunset Boulevard and knew I had to bring it to the big screen. It is a sad, funny and very dark tale of a one of Hollywood’s greatest stars [sic] final years.”
Zombie is a multi-platinum recording artist who crossed over to Hollywood and became a profitable, if divisive horror helmer. Among his works are House of 1000 Corpses, the two rebooted Halloween movies and The Devil’s Rejects.
Though that last title was a surprisingly engrossing watch, Zombie has never succeeded in translating his stated love of horror cinema (the guy’s band was called White Zombie) into genuinely scary pics, but he’s known as a meticulous director, so it makes sense that he would be looking outside of the genre to expand his skill-set.