It is clear that since his passing, Roger Ebert has been revered, and I certainly agree with that as an overall sentiment. But I spent enough time with Roger to see a glimpse or two of that rowdy playful side that was an equally important part of his personality. He was, after all, the screenwriter of “Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls,” and he was famous for his friendship with Russ Meyer.
For those of you who were born in an era where you can simply download any extreme perversion you want in HD at any time, day or night, with your phone, you may not fully appreciate or understand what was special about the work that Meyer did as a director. He was a man with a very particular appetite, and it is distinctly possible he gave an entire generation of young men a rabid breast fetish.
I am particularly excited to see that it's Michael Winterbottom making “Russ & Roger,” a movie about the making of “Dolls” and the friendship between Meyer and Ebert. Today, the news broke that Josh Gad is set to play Ebert, and I think it's a great fit. The idea that Gad and Will Ferrell are playing Ebert and Meyer makes this an absolute must-see for me. Ferrell is in that phase of his career right now where he seems willing to experiment, and I think that's really exciting. The Lifetime movie he did was so straight-faced, played in just the right way, and I'm looking forward to whatever the hell that HBO baseball special is. He's clearly established that he is a major comic talent, and stretching is the way he's going to continue to keep things interesting for himself.
Gad's on fire these days. I wasn't a fan of “Pixels,” but I admire the energy he brings to each and every thing he does right now. His FX series “The Comedians” got stronger as the season progressed, and Gad got a chance to tweak his own image with a malicious glee. Put him together with Ferrell playing Meyer and that sounds like it's got to be one of the wilder sets I can imagine.
“Russ & Roger” should arrive sometime in 2016, and I will camp out for it if the trailer is half as awesome as it sounds like it should be.