Brits talking ‘Blue’ streak

Southern satire will be adapted and helmed by Dowse

One of Hollywood’s fabled unmade projects — an adaptation of Terry Southern‘s cult novel “Blue Movie” — is finally getting made … by a British company in Bavaria.

Since it was published in 1970, Southern’s satire about a major studio making a porn blockbuster has been developed by Mike Nichols, Hal Ashby, John Calley at Warners with Julie Andrews attached, and most recently by Steven Soderbergh and Neil LaBute.

But now Brit outfit Vertigo Films has teamed with L.A.-based producer Marc Toberoff, who optioned the rights, to shoot the project next April in southern Germany, close to Liechtenstein, where the novel itself is set.

Michael Dowse, the Canadian helmer who made Toronto prizewinner “It’s All Gone Pete Tong” for Vertigo, will write and direct. The $5 million budget will be bankrolled by the same private investors who funded “Pete Tong.”

“When the book first came out, it caused quite a stir, and built up a very fond following amongst the literati and glitterati of Hollywood,” Toberoff says. “But because of the outrageous, iconoclastic and sexual nature of the material, the studios wouldn’t bankroll it.”

Southern himself was intimate with the inner workings of the film biz as co-screenwriter of “Dr Strangelove,” “Easy Rider,” “Barbarella” and “The Cincinnati Kid.”

“Terry Southern was really interested in the American focus on anything that’s big — big tits, big money — and that’s what this book exposes, the hypocrisy in our liberated society,” Toberoff says. “It’s a satire about Hollywood as a microcosm of our society.”

With the money already committed, the producers will start putting together the predominantly American cast in the next couple of weeks.

“Given the material, it’s going to be a question of who’s got the chutzpah to get involved,” says Vertigo’s James Richardson.

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