It’s like the movie gods have decided that us mere mortals are deserving of some good news today. First, of course, there was Werner Herzog joining Tom Cruise‘s “One Shot” and now one of our favorite writer/directors is pairing up with a solid actor to take on the life of a legendary Hollywood figure.
Show Tracker reports that “The Messenger” and “Rampart” writer/director Oren Moverman is teaming with Ben Stiller for a biopic on David O. Selznick for HBO. The project is still in early days, but right now Stiller is executive producing and has met with everyone involved with an eye at taking the leading role. A first draft of the script was penned by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Donald Margulies (he penned the long gestating Keith Moon project that has Mike Myers attached that will never happen), but Moverman has penned a new script that he has submitted and plans to direct. And undoubtedly, the project has a world of potential to be utterly fantastic.
In case you’re not up on your movie history, they just don’t make ’em like David O. Selznick anymore. It’s hard to summarize his career, but his filmography speaks for itself, boasting names like Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, George Cukor, William A. Wellman, Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger and Vittorio De Sica as just some of the major talents the producer and studio honcho worked with. But not always with ease. His battles with fellow producer Alex Korda and director Carol Reed during the production of “The Third Man” are well documented, and he also sparred with De Sica over “Terminal Station,” going so far as to release a severely edited 64 minute cut which he preferred (The Criterion Collection provides both the severe edit and the director’s cut on their excellent set for the film). Then there is the saga of “Duel In The Sun,” the mega disastrous western that ended David O. Selznick Productions.
Selznick was also quite the ladies man, marrying Gladys Mayer (daughter of Louis Mayer, the iconic MGM honcho) as well as Jennifer Jones, but its his accomplishments that stand the test of time. He won back-to-back Best Picture trophies for “Gone With The Wind” and “Rebecca” and while he battled for his creative vision, whatever it was he had, it allowed for some of the best work by the filmmakers he worked with.
Stiller is an interesting choice for the lead. He’s long made a habit of skewering Hollywood, but he’s an adept dramatic actor as well and, if anything, his extensive Rolodex could also help in landing actors for what are sure to be an endless amount of possible cameo roles for celebs of yesteryear. It’s not yet known what the scope of the film will be, but we’d guess it’ll likely cover the meatiest part of his career, and with every cable network falling over themselves for period material, it doesn’t get much more glamorous than this.
More details to come soon we hope, but this is definitely a promising start.