In the book, Stoliar talks extensively about the relationship he developed with Marx and the many fascinating famous personalities he encountered along the way, from Mae West to Jack Lemmon and even Marx’s own brothers Gummo and Zeppo. He also documents his dealings with Erin Fleming, an obscure Canadian actress who became Marx’s companion and exerted much control and influence over his life and career (though she did receive credit for helping to revive his career towards the end of his life).
Oren Moverman, director of The Messenger and Rampart and screenwriter of I’m Not There and The Quiet Ones, will handle scripting duties.
Zombie’s admiration for Marx’s classic hilarity is well-documented; the sleazy male psychopaths in his breakthrough horror flicks House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects were named after characters Groucho played on screen. He wouldn’t be the first person to attempt a Groucho Marx biopic; Ed Wood screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski had a Marx Brothers feature they were going to direct cancelled for budgetary reasons.
This would be the first time in Zombie’s directorial career that he left his comfort zone of violent, gory exploitation. He certainly has a gift for assembling eclectic ensemble casts and that will come in handy here because casting is key to make this project work as a full-fledged feature. Having talented writer and fellow filmmaker Moverman on board to write the script is a major plus and indicates this film is off to a good start.