We all know Roger Ebert as a deeply influential film critic who changed the way we look at movies, for both good and ill. But we must remember that even Ebert had his little youthful follies, and one of them was called Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, a film which he penned and would probably have had harsh words for in his later career.
Now, the making of that odd little movie will be the subject of indie feature Russ & Roger Go Beyond, with comedian Josh Gad being eyed to take on the part of the young Ebert opposite Will Ferrell as filmmaker Russ Meyer.
Russ & Roger Go Beyond will tell the story of the relationship between Ebert and Meyer as the pair collaborate on Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, including taking a fight to the ratings board over the film’s initial X-rating. With the likes of Ferrell and Gad being looked at for the leads, we can assume that this is going to be a comedy of sorts and not a really serious treatment of the bizarre world of 1970s filmmaking.
There had been some talk of Jonah Hill playing Ebert back when Will Ferrell was first linked to the project, but that casting appears to have fallen by the wayside in favor of Gad. The actor has been a rising comic star in recent years: he voiced Olaf in Disney’s Frozen, and will be appearing opposite Kevin Hart (and Ferrell) in The Wedding Ringer in a few weeks’ time. Although he is not yet confirmed for Russ & Roger Go Beyond, he is the producers’ top choice for the part.
We shall have to wait and see what materializes for Russ & Roger Go Beyond. It’s a bit of an odd subject for a feature film, but stranger things have happened. We can only hope that it will turn out to be a film that Roger would have been proud of.
Source: The Wrap