EXCLUSIVE: Maven Pictures’ Celine Rattray and Trudie Styler have acquired The Making Of Rock Hudson, a script by Tyler Ruggeri about the transformation of a young Midwesterner into a legendary movie star. Maven will produce with Gadabout’s Aaron Cruze and Stephanie Marin.
The transformation of Hudson from a shy kid into a sex symbol with rugged good looks was a tricky bit of business, in that he was forced to keep secret his homosexuality. The script tells the story from the vantage point of Henry Willson, the agent who discovered Hudson. Beyond changing the actor’s name, Willson became adept at keeping secrets. One would hope that such a stigma is fast becoming a thing of the past, as more and more actors are now open about their sexuality. Back in Hudson’s heyday, such honesty would have been instant career suicide. When the showbiz tabloid Confidential threatened to publish rumors that Hudson was leading a secret life in 1955, Willson arranged for Hudson to marry his secretary, Phyllis Gates. They did a good job of keeping Hudson’s private life private right up until he died in 1985, when he became the first major movie star to pass away from complications relating to AIDS.
“Tyler’s screenplay perfectly captures the daunting, and in many ways timeless, struggle between public and private persona,” said Rattray and Styler. “It was a time when a leading man’s career could be destroyed if the vice squads or the tabloids got the wrong impression.”
Maven’s first film, the Shari Springer Berman- and Robert Pulcini-directed Kristen Wiig/Annette Bening-starrer Girl Most Likely, premiered at Toronto last fall and will be released by Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions on July 19. They just completed Filth, starring James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent, Jamie Bell, and Imogen Poots, and Maven is now in production on Black Nativity with Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, and Tyrese Gibson. That film will be released November 27 by Fox Searchlight. With Cate Blanchett, Maven also is producing Cancer Vixen at HBO, with Blanchett starring.
The Making Of Rock Hudson script was brought to Maven by Nic Marshall. Ruggeri is represented by Gersh, Anonymous Content, and Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown.