Roger Ebert and Russ Meyer Try to Make Pulp Mainstream in ‘Russ & Roger Go Beyond’

Ebert and Meyer

Years before At the Movies graced our televisions and “two thumbs up” ever entered our lexicon, Roger Ebert was still a third-string film critic at the Chicago Sun-Times who had a friend in filmmaker Russ Meyer. Now, their exploits as they teamed up to make Beyond the Valley of the Dolls are being brought to the big screen in Russ & Roger Go Beyond.

The film, penned by Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons writer Christopher Cluess, focuses on the late 1960’s, when Meyer, already well-established as a master of pulp, decided to try his hand at a studio piece. Twentieth Century Fox handed him Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, and he agreed under the condition that Ebert write the script; he was a huge Ebert fan, as Ebert had written one of the only positive reviews he had ever received.

From there, it was a major battle to make the movie they wanted as opposed to limiting themselves to the studios expectations. Hey, they had to know what they signed up for when they hired the director of Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! to helm their film. There are going to be a lot of groovy babes engaging in questionable behavior and ratings boundaries being pushed (Beyond the Valley of the Dolls wound up getting an X rating).

Russ & Roger Go Beyond sounds like a campy good time, more than anything. It doesn’t seem like you can craft something dramatic involving Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, at least. While it’s going to be fun seeing Ebert galavanting through the late ’60s, hopefully we’ll still get a full biopic sometime soon.

Here’s the trailer for Beyond the Valley of the Dolls:

There’s no director or cast on board at this time.

In childhood, Samantha had a Mary Katherine Gallagher-esque flair for the dramatic, as well as the same penchant for Lifetime original movies. And while she can still quote the entire monologue from A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story, her tastes in film have luckily changed. During an interview, director Tommy Wiseau once called her a “good reporter, but not that intimidating if we’re being honest.” She once lived in Chinatown and told her neighbor Jake to “forget it” so many times that he threatened to stop talking to her.

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