Horror film director and rocker Rob Zombie is set to direct a film about the last days of legendary comedian Groucho Marx.
Marx, 86, died in 1977 after declining both physically and mentally, and his family battled with his much younger companion Erin Fleming over control of his affairs, as recorded in the memoir Raised Eyebrows: My Years Inside Groucho’s House, written by Marx’s personal assistant Steve Stoliar.
According to Deadline, screenwriter Oren Moverman will adapt Stoliar’s memoir, which also details Stoliar’s experiences as the personal assistant and archivist for the comedic icon in the last years of his life.
Moverman most recently penned the screenplay for the Beach Boys biopic Love & Mercy.
Stoliar’s book recounts living alongside Marx, and meeting a slew of celebrities, including Mae West, George Burns, Bob Hope, Jack Lemmon, and Steve Allen, and building a close relationship the comedian at the end of his life, and his dealings with Fleming, who had taken over Groucho’s personal life and career.
Rob Zombie spoke to Deadline about the project, and described it as “sad, funny and a very dark tale of a one of Hollywood’s greatest stars final years.”
“I have been a huge Groucho Marx fan ever since I was a child and have read countless book[sic] on the comic legend, but after reading the book Raised Eyebrows, a totally new perspective on Groucho’s life emerged,” he said.
“I immediately saw this project as Groucho’s Sunset Boulevard and knew I had to bring it to the big screen,” he added.
A person close to production told Deadline: “Steve’s story detailing his experience with one of the most iconic comedians of our time was so poignantly crafted, and such a compelling read, that I immediately knew it was a project I wanted to be involved with. Rob is the perfect visionary to direct Oren’s script to the screen.”
Rob Zombie previously directed the horror films House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects and two Halloween films.
As a musician, Rob first found success as the vocalist for the heavy metal band White Zombie in the 1990s.