If you go simply by the trade reports and quickie news pieces, you’d think the acquisition of Marvel character The Human Fly by a Paramount-based producer was another example of Hollywood beginning to mine the weirder comic book heroes. It might also seem to be the development of another odd Marvel hero that remains outside of their stable. Both of these things are kind of true, but what is lost in the quicker coverage is that the “Marvel Hero” side of The Human Fly is incidental- the real meat of the project is the biopic of a real life daredevil from the 70s, and the sausage-making businessman who promoted him.
You see, the limited-run Human Fly comics from Marvel were actually little more than promotional by-products of a short-lived craze around a stuntman who pulled tricks like riding a commercial airplane through the sky. He fell out of the spotlight after a failed attempt to top Evil Knieval’s famous bus jump, but had he succeeded the plan was for a much more long-term marketing empire based around wild stunts.
Of at least as much interest as the Fly himself (whose identity is not definitively known, though it’s probably a guy named Rick Rojatt) is the fly’s mastermind and promoter, Joe Ramacieri. You can see him in the video piece below being mildly sleezy as he talks about his stuntman commodity, having moved from being a successful sausage manufacturer to a media huckster. The video is also a good way to get a handle on this whole, very weird scenario .
All of this was brought to my attention by Russ Fischer’s piece about the project at /Film, which comes with information he got straight from director Steven Goldmann’s mouth about the comedic biopic he’s hoping to make, with “echoes of Catch Me if You Can and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.” I’d take a look at his full rundown over there if you find this story as oddly fascinating as I do.
In any event, don’t expect The Human Fly to be making any post-credit cameos in the next round of Marvel films…