EXCLUSIVE: Rhino Films’ Stephen Nemeth, writer-director Adam Rifkin and producer Chris Kobin are developing a TV series based on indie filmmaker Russ Meyer called Faster Pussycat! and they’re using their own personal experiences meeting with and interviewing Meyer over the years as the basis for the project.
In fact, the series is anchored on meetings Nemeth, Rifkin and Kobin took with Meyer back in 1999 when the trio intended to do a biopic about him. At that time, Meyer regaled them with tales of being a combat photographer on the beaches of Normandy for General Patton in WWII, being one of Hugh Hefner’s first photographers in Playboy’s wild earliest days and the behind-the-scenes antics on the set of Meyer “classics” like Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.
In addition to the series, Nemeth, Rifkin and Kobin also will produce a companion documentary on the life of the flamboyant Meyer as well. There have been other attempts to bring his story to the screen, including one by Fox Searchlight and David O. Russell, but it never came to pass.
“Russ Meyer was a hilarious, exceptionally talented and balls-to-the-wall-nuts filmmaker whose giant personality was even more buoyant than the behemoth boobs he loved so much,” Rifkin said. “His contribution to the world of independent cinema should not be diminished just because he excelled in the world of exploitation fare. And after hearing him tell his tales, his real life was even more insane than his movies.”
Said Kobin: “Meyer, known as ‘The King of the Nudies’ is important in film history because he is one of a handful of directors who could actually claim to be an ‘auteur,’ having funded, cast, directed, shot, edited and distributed every film he made, the exception being the notorious Fox film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, written by film critic Roger Ebert, which brought big business and a black eye to the studio.”
Nemeth has produced 62 films including Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Sessions, and has six films in production. Rifkin most recently wrote and directed Dog Years, a drama starring Burt Reynolds that premiered to critical acclaim at Tribeca this year. The film was bought at the festival by A24, which intends to release it in 2018. Kobin has written/produced nine films that premiered at festivals such as Cannes, Telluride and SXSW.