Scorsese to Produce Documentary Based on Roger Ebert's Memoirs
As it stands, Roger Ebert is one of the most well-known film critics in the history of the profession, best known for his thumbs-up scale made famous with his late critic partner Gene Siskel. Now the critic is set to be the subject of his own film as Ebert tweeted this morning (via The Playlist) that his memoir Life Itself has been optioned by Hoop Dreams director Steve James and writer/producer/director Steven Zaillian for a documentary that will also be executive produced by iconic filmmaker Martin Scorsese. But despite his expertise as a film critic, Ebert won't be involved in making the film itself other than being the subject.
Ebert couldn't be more thrilled with the prospect and the talent involved as he said told Criticwire:
"This dropped out of the blue. They say they have a good idea for an approach. I believe Steve James' 'Hoop Dreams' is one of the greatest documentaries ever made, and my hopes for this are so high. I never thought of my book as a doc. I'm keeping hands off any involvement, such as with the screenplay, because I don't want to be a third wheel. Whatever they do I will be fascinated."
James is definitely one of the best documentarians working today as evidenced by his thorough films Hoop Dreams and The Interrupters from last year, and having a name like Zaillian involved only sweetens the deal. Scorsese's involvement is also pretty damn good, but not entirely unexpected. Ebert once wrote on entire book on the filmmaker aptly titled Scorsese by Ebert, something that was necessary reading in my college days when I took a course dedicated to the only the films of the GoodFellas and Taxi Driver director. The project still sounds like it's in its infancy, so stay tuned as it develops. Interested?