EXCLUSIVE: The feature take of Steve Stoliar’s memoir Raised Eyebrows: My Years Inside Groucho’s House is finally moving forward, with Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush set to play comedy legend Groucho Marx and Oscar nominee Oren Moverman directing off a screenplay he co-wrote with Stoliar.
Sienna Miller and Moonfall and All the Money in the World actor Charlie Plummer will also star in the Cold Iron Pictures project, which is produced by CEO Miranda Bailey and Moverman.
Set between 1973-1977, Raised Eyebrows follows Steve (Plummer) as he enters Groucho Marx’s house for his dream job of working for the aging, frail comedian, under the watchful eye of Erin Fleming (Miller), who had taken over the Marx brother’s personal and professional life. Marx and Fleming had a controversial relationship in his twilight years, she his devoted girlfriend-turned-manager. The power struggles result in a comedy of horrors in which obsession, love, celebrity, mental illness, family and Hollywood are taken to task and brought to a boil in an anarchic way that could only be described as “Grouchian.”
“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. “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.”
ICM Partners and CAA Media Finance are representing the film in all areas. Moverman and Bailey previously collaborated on the acclaimed Time Out of Mind and Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer, both starring Richard Gere. In addition to Raised Eyebrows, they have several projects in development.
Raised Eyebrows was first announced in 2015 with Rob Zombie attached to direct and Moverman co-writing.
Moverman was Oscar-nominated in the Original Screenplay category for his 2009 movie The Messenger, which he also directed; it earned Woody Harrelson a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. Moverman is also the Emmy-winning producer of the 2020 HBO movie Bad Education. His other feature directing credits include Rampart and The Dinner, and he co-wrote Brian Wilson’s biopic Love & Mercy, Marc Turtletaub’s Puzzle, and Todd Haynes’ Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There, the latter of which earned an Oscar nomination for Cate Blanchett. He also served as EP on Rebecca Hall’s big 2021 Sundance movie Passing and Reinaldo Marcus Green’s Monsters and Men, among others.
Rush is a four-time Oscar nominee winning on his first time out for the role of dysfunctional piano prodigy David Helfgott in 1996’s Shine. He also won a Golden Globe, BAFTA and Australian Film Institute award. In total, the actor counts three BAFTAs, three Australian Film Institute Awards, two Golden Globes, four SAG Awards, one Emmy and one BIFA, among other accolades. Rush is the founding president of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts. He also starred as Albert Einstein in Nat Geo’s Emmy-nominated series Genius in 2017.
His feature credits include Elizabeth, Shakespeare in Love (Best Supporting Actor Oscar nom), Quills (Best Actor Oscar nom), The King’s Speech (Best Supporting Actor Oscar nom), Frida, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and Finding Nemo.
Miller made her film debut in 2004 in the indie thriller Layer Cake directed by Matthew Vaughn. Additional film credits include Bennett Miller’s Oscar-nominated Foxcatcher, Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-nominated American Sniper, Live by Night, G.I.: The Rise of Cobra, American Woman, Factory Girl and The Lost City of Z. In 2005, she made her West End debut in the Shakespeare revival of As You Like It. Additional theatre credits include Flare Path, A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Cabaret and After Miss Julie.
Plummer had his breakout performance in A24’s Lean on Pete, written and directed by Andrew Haigh and featuring Steve Buscemi, Chloë Sevigny and Travis Fimmel. Plummer earned the Marcello Mastroianni Award at the 2017 Venice Film Festival and was nominated in the category of Best Performance by an Actor for the 2018 British Independent Film Awards for his performance. Up next he stars in Roland Emmerich’s Moonfall, opening this weekend via Lionsgate. He recently wrapped production on The First Lady, Showtime’s upcoming anthology series starring Viola Davis, Kiefer Sutherland, Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Pfeiffer and Gillian Anderson, and in Limelight and eOne’s upcoming drama Wildflower alongside Jean Smart, Kiernan Shipka, Alexandra Daddario, Dash Mihok and Samantha Hyde.
Bailey’s recent feature production, God’s Country, starring Thandiwe Newton, made its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. She has produced over 20 films, among them the Oscar-nominated The Squid and the Whale and the Spirit Award-winning The Diary of a Teenage Girl, as well as James Gunn’s Super, the Sundance hit Swiss Army Man, the acclaimed Norman, and the indie feature Don’t Think Twice.
Rush is represented by CAA; Miller is represented by WME; and Plummer is represented by CAA, Luber Roklin Entertainment, Zoom Talent Management and Peikoff Mahan Law Office.
Moverman is represented by CAA and Seven Deuce Entertainment. Bailey is represented by ICM Partners and Echo Lake Entertainment. Stoliar is represented by Callamaro Literary Agency.
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