Geoffrey Rush is set to play iconic comedian Groucho Marx in “Raised Eyebrows,” writer-director Oren Moverman’s upcoming adaptation of Steve Stoliar’s memoir “Raised Eyebrows: My Years Inside Groucho’s House.”
Moverman, whose credits include co-writing the Brian Wilson biopic “Love & Mercy” and writing and directing “Time Out of Mind,” worked on the “Raising Eyebrows” script with Stoliar. Rush will star opposite Charlie Plummer and Sienna Miller.
“Raised Eyebrows” is set between 1973 and 1977 and stars Plummer as Stoliar, who is hired by Erin Fleming (Miller) to work with an aging and frail Groucho Marx (Rush). Fleming was in charge of Marx’s personal and professional life as his manager, and the two had a controversial relationship.
In addition to writing and directing, Moverman will also produce “Raised Eyebrows” alongside Cold Iron Pictures CEO Miranda Bailey. Moverman most recently served as a producer on Rebecca Hall’s acclaimed directorial debut “Passing.” His directorial efforts include “Rampart,” “The Messenger” and “The Dinner.”
“It’s a pleasure and an honor and a responsibility and probably something else to work with this amazing cast on a story I hope will reintroduce the genius of Groucho Marx in a new, provocative, entertaining way all these years later,” Moverman said in a statement. “Steve Stoliar has given the world incredible insight into a bygone era. Done right, we will screw it up royally.”
Added Bailey, “After many years diligently working to get Steve’s brilliant, true story adapted for the screen, I’m thrilled that we found the perfect ensemble of actors to portray these rich yet complicated characters that Oren will, no doubt, masterfully bring to life. Even in a world that tells us ‘never meet your idols,’ Steve’s friendship with Groucho Marx, while filled with moments of heartbreaking humanity, proved to be an overwhelmingly positive and life-changing experience for him – an essence we hope to capture for our audience.”
The role of Groucho Marx is something of a comeback for Rush, whose last film credit is the 2019 drama “Storm Boy.” The actor was accused of sexual misconduct in 2018, with one allegation coming from “Orange Is the New Black” actor Yael Stone.
But in April 2019, Rush was awarded nearly $2 million in a defamation case that he brought against Australia’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, which published a story in which actor Erin Norvill accused Rush of inappropriate conduct during a stage production of “King Lear” in Sydney, Australia. The judge at the time said the newspaper’s report was “recklessly irresponsible.” Rush’s award was upheld on appeal in July 2020.
Correction: An earlier version of this story inaccurately referred to Rush’s defamation litigation as a settlement.