When Ebert’s life becomes a movie, who’ll write the review?
Roger Ebert (1975)
The life story of the world’s most famous movie critic soon will be coming to the big screen.
Roger Ebert’s 2011 highly acclaimed Life Itself: A Memoir has been optioned for a documentary by Steve James and Steven Zaillian, with Martin Scorsese as executive producer, the veteran Sun-Times critic announced on Twitter this week.
James was the director of The Interrupters and Hoop Dreams, which Ebert once called “the great American documentary.” Zaillian was the screenwriter for Schindler’s List. Scorsese and Zaillian previously worked together on Gangs of New York, which Scorsese directed and Zaillian wrote.
"This dropped out of the blue,” Ebert, 70, told IndieWire blogger Matt Singer. “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."
At the time his memoir was published, USA Today reported, Ebert joked that he hoped Philip Seymour Hoffman would play him in the movie version. Since it’s going to be a documentary, of course, he’ll have to settle on playing himself.