When you think of a film about Groucho Marx, I’m sure the last director that comes to mind is horror filmmaker Rob Zombie. Well, prepare to be amazed because Deadline reported yesterday that Rob Zombie will in fact be directing a Groucho Marx biopic based on the book Raised Eyebrows: My Years Inside Groucho’s House, written by Steve Stoliar. The book chronicles Groucho Marx’s last years through the eyes of Stoliar, who served as Groucho’s personal secretary and archivist. The film will be written by Oren Moverman, co-writer of the recent Brian Wilson/Beach Boys biopic Love & Mercy.
Being known primarily as a heavy metal musician and creator of crazy horror films, Zombie is certainly an odd choice to direct a film about one of the greatest comic minds in history. Deadline revealed why Zombie chose this project: “I have been a huge Groucho Marx fan ever since I was a child and have read countless books on the comic legend, but after reading the book Raised Eyebrows, a totally new perspective on Groucho’s life emerged,” says Zombie. “I immediately saw this project as Groucho’s Sunset Boulevard and knew I had to bring it to the big screen. It is a sad, funny and very dark tale of one of Hollywood’s greatest stars final years.”
Despite Zombie’s admiration for Groucho Marx, it’s still a monumental task he’s taking on and there’s no doubt that a lot of critical eyes will be on him now. It’s surely daring of him to take his first steps away from the horror genre to take this project on (although he hasn’t abandoned the genre just yet with his clown horror film 31 set to come out in 2016).
The film is still in pre-production and has yet to find an actor to step into Groucho Marx’s very large shoes, a daunting task on its own. But with the help of screenwriter Oren Moverman and Zombie’s passion to bring Groucho’s life to the big screen, this biopic definitely shouldn’t be counted out just yet.