Exclusive: Roger Corman biopic has Already shot a Corman cameo
For years director Joe Dante (Gremlins, Small Soldiers) has been trying to get a biopic of his friend and film mentor Roger Corman off the ground. The Man With Kaleidoscope Eyes has gone through several permutations, including one starring Colin Firth as the legendary B-movie director/producer, but is now at Elijah Wood and Daniel Noah’s SpectreVision (Mandy). When we talked to the pair recently, Noah confirmed that even though filming hasn’t started on the Roger Corman biopic yet, an ending featuring the 93-year-old Corman have already been shot!
“It’s already in the can,” Noah confirmed to us. “It’s taken care of, we got him.”
We then reached out to the director himself, Joe Dante, who elaborated on the reasoning behind making sure this scene was shot.
“It was a little while ago, and Roger’s tennis game was starting to fade,” Dante told us. “As you know films take forever, this one’s taking a decade. I started to get worried that the time would come that Roger wouldn’t be able to do the tennis scene at the end of the picture. We figured, why don’t we get that part in the can, and we’ll shoot only his side with a double on the other side, and when we cast that part we’ll shoot the other side. It was just a form of insurance so we could actually get the scene in the picture. It’s the end of the movie. The real Roger talks to the actor playing Roger, they have a tennis game and they talk about what the picture’s gonna be like. It’s a nice scene and it’s a nice ending for the movie.”
It also seems like the film is near-ready to go before cameras next year, should all go as planned. The crucial person to play Roger Corman is still up in the air, though. Colin Firth was cast years ago but dropped out after an increase in demand upon winning the Oscar for The King’s Speech. Bill Hader played Corman at a major live reading in LA in 2016, though so far scheduling has prevented the IT Chapter Two and Barry star from taking the role in the actual film.
“We’re pretty close,” Noah added of the biopic’s status. “We developed the script with Joe and we have been putting a cast together, which is about three quarters of the way filled in. We don’t have a Roger yet. Bill Hader came and read it at a staged reading that we did a couple of years ago. His schedule’s been insane, of course we’re hoping that the schedules will line up so that he could do it.”
“Bill unfortunately has become this major mega star!” Dante laughed. “Unfortunate for us, not for him. Bill really nailed it. He did the part in front of a big audience. He got all the inflections right, the attitude right. He’s the perfect guy, but the chances of him being available between now and the end of the century are slim. So we’re putting our hooks out on various other people.”
“I think our expectation is that we’ll be filming that in 2020,” Noah said. “The script is so entertaining and provocative. In the story Roger Corman, before making the film ‘The Trip’ about LSD, it’s confirmed that Jack Nicholson insisted that he drop acid. And so, he went out to Big Sur and he did and it completely changed his life. It’s an incredible, fascinating little piece of history that we so desperately want to bring to the screen.”
“We’ve done some casting,” Dante confirmed. “We’re trying to get an ensemble going that will allow us to get the best person to play Roger. A lot of times people say it doesn’t matter if the actor looks like the person he’s playing. In this case, there are so many iconic people in the story. You don’t hire Danny DeVito to play Peter Fonda. It should be at least the same character types as the people being portrayed. Roger has a specific kind of personality and a specific frame. You want to get somebody who’s the right age for the age that he was during this movie. We’re sorta putting it together around finding that actor. We’ve tried to start with the actor playing Roger and it never worked out.”
To be directed by Joe Dante, The Man With Kaleidoscope Eyes is written by Michael Almereyda, Charlie Largent, Tim Lucas and James Robison. It is produced by Dante, Frederic W. Brost, Daniel Noah, Elizabeth Stanley, Josh C. Waller and Elijah Wood.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)