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Director Steve James Vows to Finish Ebert Doc ‘Life Itself’

Director Steve James Vows to Finish Ebert Doc 'Life Itself'

In the fall of last year it was reported that Roger Ebert’s memoir “Life Itself,” chronicling his struggle and recovery from alcohol addiction and his long running battles with thyroid cancer, would be adapted into a documentary by “Hoop Dreams” director Steve James. Ebert was a huge fan of “Hoop Dreams;” he gave it a four star review upon it’s release in 1994, and given both the critic and the filmmaker’s status as Chicago icons, it seemed like a perfect fit.

The film is executive produced by Martin Scorsese and Oscar winning screenwriter Steve Zaillian. The film was acquired by CNN Films early this year, and Ebert was extremely grateful and excited about the project; allowing the filmmakers access to essentially whatever they needed, and letting them to record as much new footage as they could.

In the shadow of the iconic critic’s unfortunate passing, director James immediately took to the film’s Twitter account to assure everyone that the film would continue as planned, tweeting “We are devastated. But we will continue. We will finish the film.” A source close to the project told The Hollywood Reporter that “We all knew it was imminent, as sad as it was.” You can read the rest of their article here.

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Wrath of Colin

'upon it's release'? That's professional journalism for you. No wonder kids can't spell these days.

Susan S.

Sounds amazing–can't wait. The news today of Roger Ebert's death has truly shocked and saddened me. His struggle was so courageous, and him and Chaz's love story so deep and strong, he felt immortal to me. I have watched his reviews since I was a kid (late seventies/grew up in the 80s) and LOVED At the Movies with Gene Siskel. I watched it even through its various inceptions with other critics and his illness until its end in 2010. His struggle of the last decade+ was profoundly inspirational, and amazing to see his career highten even more, through blogs and using his computerized voice (because of the cancer & inability to speak). In all the years of Oprah, the show with him & Chaz a few years ago, was one that stands out to me because of this very reason. It touched me in such a DEEP way, their interview and journey, words can not express. It's like today…this pains me and makes me cry as if he is a friend. And he is! To all us movie buffs and lovers!!! Even if you didn't agree with a review, you respected him because he was brilliant and passionate. He was a smart, creative, genius of a Pulitzer-Prize winning screenwriter, short story writer, reviewer and essayist, and his books were legendary–he elevated the art. With his Film Festival, too, which will go on. As will all his work. As a person who hopes to do something with film one day, and as a never-ending movie-watcher, he will be in my future thoughts. And my prayers go out to his wife, children, grandchildren, family, and friends. R.I.P. Roger Ebert. The balcony is closed. Two thumbs up for your life and career, two thumbs down for this news.

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