One of the most well-known film critics is having his memoirs turned into a movie by some well-known filmmakers. Hoop Dreams director Steve James has optioned Roger Ebert's memoir, Life Itself, with Martin Scorsese executive producing.
Ebert is best-known for his long-running movie review show Siskel & Ebert, but after Siskel passed, Ebert himself faced some daunting challenges. He battled thyroid cancer and as a result of complications from the treatment, had his lower jaw removed. While he can no longer eat, drink or speak, Ebert turned the negative into a positive, reaching out to film fans and interacting with them more than ever.
His life is certainly worthy of a documentary and in the hands of James and Scorsese, it could be something truly special.
Ebert shared his thoughts with CriticWire saying, "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 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."
The book charts Ebert's career as a film critic, his four decades on television, his show with Gene Siskel, how he was the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize. There's also a good amount covering the complications with his cancer treatment and Ebert's eventual triumph as a writer. "The book chronicles Ebert's personal history – his loves, losses, and obsessions; his struggle and recovery from alcoholism; his marriage; his politics; and his spiritual beliefs."
Have you read the book? Are you excited to see what the film version will look like?