Rob Zombie is something of an anomaly. He rose to fame as a founding member of the band White Zombie and launched a successful career as a solo artist in the late ’90s. Not content to remain in the music industry, Zombie moved into film with the debut of the horror movie House of 1000 Corpses in 2003.
Zombie continued to make a name for himself in the horror genre, eventually directing a remake of John Carpenter’s Halloween that became the highest-grossing film in the franchise. And while his movies don’t typically earn critical praise, Zombie’s directorial efforts have often been financially successful. Fans might expect him to remain firmly in the horror genre, but once again the director isn’t content to stagnate.
Case in point, Deadline is reporting that Rob Zombie’s next project is a biopic about the final years of the late Groucho Marx. Zombie and producer Miranda Bailey have acquired the rights to Steve Stoliar’s memoir Raised Eyebrows: My Years inside Groucho’s House. The book details the three years that Stoliar served as the iconic comedian’s secretary at Marx’s Beverly Hills home. Oren Moverman (The Messenger, Rampart) will write the screenplay with Zombie attached to direct and produce the film. The film will be produced by Cold Iron Pictures’ Miranda Bailey and Amanda Marshall, along with Andy Gould.
The memoir provided a unique window into Marx’s life and final years and that glimpse behind the curtain is what inspired Zombie to take on the 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. 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.”
Zombie has attempted to move out of the realm of horror previously with his project Broad Street Bullies, though that film was ultimately shelved in favor of other projects more in line with the director’s established portfolio. That transition made a little more sense, as it would have the opportunity to capitalize on Zombie’s penchant for brutality while further developing the director’s style. A Groucho Marx biopic is the last film anyone would expect from him. Perhaps that in and of itself will peak audience interest.
If not, there’s still Zombie’s Kickstarted film 31, one of our most anticipated horror movies of 2015.
The Groucho Marx biopic (Raised Eyebrows?) is still in the early stages of development. We will update as more information becomes available.