Russ Meyer biopic in the works?

19 Mar

Beyond the valley of my imagination? Apparently not!

David O. Russell, director of The Fighter and I ❤ Huckabees, is attached to the project that may see the rights being bought to Jimmy McDonough’s Big Bosoms and Square Jaws: The Biography of  Russ Meyer.

Meyer is a deserving candidate of a future biopic. One of the most hard working independent filmmakers, Meyer became King of the sex film, churning out sexploitation and B movie films in the 1950s and 60s. He is an important figure in the industry for helping to bring sex, nudity and the depiction of sexuality to the big screen, paving the way for other Western directors to up the ante to the state of display we have in film now. Often associated with his big breast fetish, his films and his leading ladies have since become legendary.

Big Bosoms and Square Jaws is an excellent biography and a fantastic read, even if you’re not a fan of the man himself. Full of anecdotes from everyone associated with Meyer, it paints a very rounded portrait of the man. Warts and all. I wonder, if the film does get greenlit, what exactly it will focus on. One option would be to focus on the 1960s to the early 70s, when his career really took off, culminating in his three picture deal with and eventual release from Fox Studios (going full circle, the film is being optioned by Fox Searchlight, a subsidory of Fox specialising in independent film). Another would be to really dip in and out of Meyer’s varied life. Many forget that he served as a combat photographer during the Second World War, his stills and footage are regularly used in documentarys and films. What would also be interesting to see is the relationships he had with the women he cast in his films and how they changed over the years. The impression that you get from Big Bosoms is that, at times, Meyer could be very difficult to work with and was quite cold towards his actresses.

Either way, if the final product is a film, it will be interesting to see how it is recieved. Many consider Meyer to be a movie genius and give him credit as creating strong willed and sexually active female roles for women. Others consider his work to be smut and argue that the gratuitous nudity and odd rape scene undermine women and are just examples of exploitation.

My requests? Please get his women on board! With Tura Satana, the lead in Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and probably his most iconic actress, having passed last month, it would be such a shame to not let the remaining ladies contribute in some way. After all, they made his career in all shapes and sizes. It would be fantastic to have input from Roger Ebert who, aside from being a good friend, co-wrote scripts with Meyer and really championed his work. Although only attached at the moment, with no definitive word on a role, David O. Russell would be a great director for the project and could possibly deliver the right intensity and comic delivery that both he and Meyer are known for.

But James Franco circling the lead? That idea is completely beneath my valley of ultra imagination…

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