EXCLUSIVE: Jerry Lewis turns 90 today, and he’s got a gift coming. Blackbird’s Lawrence Inglee,and Lightstream’s Garrett Kelleher, the producers of Max Rose, Lewis’ first film in awhile, have set a deal with Paladin to release the film theatrically in the U.S. It will kick off with an April 10 premiere at the Museum of Modern Art as the final piece of a MOMA exhibition called Happy Birthday, Mr. Lewis: The Kid Turns 90.
The retrospective, featuring highlights from Lewis’ seven-decade career as a filmmaker and actor, just just concluded. Paladin will launch Max Rose in New York and Los Angeles in late August, and then branch out in the fall. The pic played in Cannes in 2013 as a work in progress and didn’t get great reviews. But it was the first film with Lewis since 1995’s Funny Bones, and how many more chances are we going to get to toast the legend who starred in everything from Cinderfella to The King Of Comedy? Here, Lewis plays the title role in the film that Daniel Noah wrote and directed. He’s in every scene, playing a retired jazz musician whose beloved wife of over six decades has just passed away. Though his career wasn’t everything he’d hoped it would be, Max Rose always felt like a success because the beautiful, elegant Eva was by his side.
While going through her things, however, Max discovers an object bearing an intimate inscription from another man, a shocking revelation that leads him to believe his entire marriage, indeed, his entire life, was built on a lie. Coping with anger, withdrawal and his own fragile health, Rose embarks on an exploration of his past, all the while searching for Eva’s mystery suitor, hoping to find the answers he needs to be at peace. Claire Bloom, Kevin Pollak, Kerry Bishé, Dean Stockwell, Mort Sahl, Rance Howard and Lee Weaver also star. Oscar winners Michel Legrand with Alan and Marilyn Bergman created an original song for the feature. Rush River’s Bill Walton produces along with Inglee and Kelleher.
“We can think of no better way to celebrate Jerry’s landmark birthday than to announce that Max Rose will be reaching theaters this summer,” Inglee and Kelleher said. “His commitment to the film has been unwavering every step of the way, and our entire team, including our newest partner, Mark Urman of Paladin, is prepared to match his passion with our own.” Added Noah: “The amazing [MOMA] retrospective illustrates what an extraordinary, original, and incomparably versatile artist Jerry is, and I believe his work in our film will show that his talents have only deepened with age.”