Cohen, Garner set Meyer bio
Director-producer Rob Cohen and former Revolution Studios partner Todd Garner have optioned the book “Big Bosoms and Square Jaws: The Biography of Russ Meyer, King of the Sex Film,” by Jimmy McDonough for Cohen to direct.
Meyer, who died in September 2004 at the age of 82, was the infamous director of sexploitation romps such as “The Immoral Mr. Teas” and “Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens” and “Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!”
A true auteur, Meyer wrote, directed, produced and shot many of his films himself. In 1970 he directed “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls,” written by Roger Ebert.
Cohen and Garner will produce the film, respectively, through their Nowita Pictures and Broken Road Prods. shingles.
“Most importantly, this is a love story about Meyer and his centerfold wife and the way they worked together to create themselves as much as the movies they were making,” Cohen told Daily Variety. “It’s a love story couched in the staid quality of the 1950s, when this guy came along and had a new vision of what movies could do. Ultimately, he was begged by Richard Zanuck and David Brown at 20th Century Fox as a savior to direct ‘Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.’ ”
The project comes full circle for Cohen. The director “brushed shoulders” with Meyer when Cohen was a 23-year-old at Fox overseeing movies being remade for TV and had to recut “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” for syndication.
“I never met (Meyer), but I’ve been a fan for years,” Garner said. “When I was at Disney I worked on ‘Ed Wood,’ and I’ve always been captivated by independent, outside-of-the-system filmmakers who, despite the odds against them drew the system toward them as opposed to vice versa.”
Cohen directed another biopic, “Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story,” as well as Sony’s “XXX” and Universal’s “The Fast and the Furious.”
Garner founded Broken Road last summer. Current projects include upcoming pics “Zoom,” “Next” and “No Place Like Home,” all for Revolution.