Fifty years of Hollywood surfing movies is the topic for a new doc in the works by Greg MacGillivray. The untitled project, currently in production, will include a central look at writer, director and surfer John Milius’ “Big Wednesday.”
“It’s really about how Hollywood’s superficial view of surfing culture has influenced popular culture,” MacGillivray said in a statement, “and the story of what happened when real surfers tried to change that.” Described as an “answer to Hollywood’s exploitative surfing films of the previous decades,” Milius’ 1978 “Big Wednesday” had a disappointing release but later became a cult classic.
The filmmakers are teasing a mix of archival material, as well as interviews ranging from Kathy Kohner (the real “Gidget”), surfers Greg Noll and Mickey Munoz, and filmmakers Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola and Quentin Tarantino.
The doc is being produced by Lincoln Forrest-Phipps, Chris Kobin, MacGillivray-Freeman Films and William S. Price, III, founding partner of private equity giant Texas Pacific Group.
ICM, which represents Milius, is also repping the film for worldwide distribution. “Hollywood surf movies, whether purposely or not, have been hugely influential in defining American youth culture,” said the project’s co-director/writer Sam George (a former editor of SURFER Magazine and screenwriter for “Riding Giants”), “and yet none have shaped actual surf culture quite like ‘Big Wednesday’.”