I don’t know that I could be happier for Rober Ebert than I am right now. The critic, blogger, and media pundit has tweeted the news that Steve James and Steven Zaillan have optioned the rights to his memoir Life Itself, with the intentions of making a documentary produced by Martin Scorsese.
What’s so special is that James is the director of Hoop Dreams, Ebert’s favorite documentary and a film he bent over backwards with partner Siskel to promote back when it was still struggling for eyeballs. They even broke rules to get the film reviewed before its debut as Sundance, and were part of an outraged campaign when it was refused an Oscar nomination because of the Doc branch’s outrageous practices.
All that is in addition to the critic and filmmaker both possessing a deep-running connection to Chicago. Obviously Ebert’s connection with Scorsese runs just as deep, Ebert having critiqued Marty’s films from the beginning and published a volume of prose dedicated to the man’s work.
In addition to his tweet, Ebert had this to say to Indiewire:
“This dropped out of the blue. They say they have a good idea for an approach. I believe Steve James’ ‘Hoop Dreams’ is one of the greatest documentaries ever made, and my hopes for this are so high. I never thought of my book as a doc. I’m keeping hands off any involvement, such as with the screenplay, because I don’t want to be a third wheel. Whatever they do I will be fascinated.”