While his credentials as a film critic remain above reproach, few knew that Roger Ebert also dabbled a bit in the industry he loved to celebrate/condemn. Back in the 1960s, he became fast friends with skin flick impresario Russ Meyer, the man responsible for such softcore nudie classics as ‘The Immoral Mr. Teas,’ ‘Mudhoney,’ and ‘Faster Pussycat Kill!..kill!!’.
Apparently, the director appreciated Ebert‘s take on one of his efforts and the two remained close up until Meyer’s death in 2005. They even worked together, collaborating on the cult classic ‘Beyond the Valley of the Dolls’ (Ebert wrote, Meyer directed). They enjoyed that experience so much that when the Sex Pistols hired Mr. ‘Supervixens’ to make their infamous film, ‘Who Killed Bambi?’ (renamed ‘The Great Rock ‘N’ Swindle,’ and eventually helmed by Julian Temple after manager Malcolm McLaren fired his famous director), Ebert was there again, penning the script.
Now, someone plans on making a movie of their time together on ‘BTVOTD,’ and for those of us who are big fans of the man who made massive, oversized mammaries a motion picture staple, we couldn’t be happier. Deadline.com has confirmed that Mark Amin’s Sobini Films has partnered with David Permut and Richard Waltzer to purchase a script from ‘Saturday Night Live’ and ‘The Simpsons’ scribe Christopher Cluess entitled ‘Russ & Roger Go Beyond.’ Using the era as a backdrop and concentrating on Ebert‘s hiring, one can easily see this being a hilarious homage to a Hollywood long gone ala ‘Ed Wood.’ Meyer was quite a character (he notoriously refused to let his films be released on regular home video and self-published his own multi-volume autobiography) and the contrast between his horny old man persona and Ebert’s Tinseltown naiveté should be wonderful.
The only problem? Casting the comely lasses the director typically obsessed over. Meyer enjoyed his women buxom and built, and not the static, siliconed type of ta-tas you see today. There was also a severe lack of body art back then, so finding the brickhouse burlesque types he preferred in today’s tattooed love girl marketplace may be hard. Also, there’s a lot of dirt to be dished about Fox and their handling of the film. Worried that people would think it was a sequel to the original ‘Valley of the Dolls,’ they placed a disclaimer in most of their ads, and when the MPAA slapped the movie with an X-rating, the studio wouldn’t let Meyer re-cut it. Why? He wanted to add MORE sex and nudity. Anyway, those of us with an appreciation of what these men did together will be first in line if and when ‘Russ & Roger Go Beyond’ sees the green-light of day. Until then, there’s always the original film itself. Go check it out. You’ll be glad you did.