LEE MARVIN BIOPIC: BACKGROUND & POSSIBILITIES

A Lee Marvin biopic would seem like a natural following the surprise success (except to me, of course) of the publication of Lee Marvin Point Blank in 2013.  Why? Well, one would just naturally assume that any non-fiction title that made the NY Times, Publisher’s Weekly and Wall Street Journal’s best seller list in the top five would have studios and executive producers just scrambling for the rights. Sadly, that has not been the case (yet) but it can be rectified with a little background info.
I have written about the possibility previously on this blog, as readers may have noticed. I’ve brought up the subject based on lead actors, young and old, possible directors, even casting ideas for supporting characters.

Schaffner Press decided to include the sunburst image and green banner highlight for Lee Marvin Point Blank’s paperback release in 2014.

Why have I written about it? A couple of reasons. First and foremost, the market for biopics has gained enormous interest lately, as detailed earlier this year in Market Watch.
Secondly, I would be less than an honest if I said the idea of a Lee Marvin biopic based on my book had not crossed my mind while I was working on it. It took me nearly 20 years to get a publisher interested in my book and the idea of a biopic existed even then.
My agent, Mike Hamilburg and I were constantly being told that the proposal is well-written but that there wasn’t a market for a Lee Marvin bio. Then Tim Schaffner of Schaffner Press agreed to publish it on almost a whim in 2013. It won several awards when it came out and, as previously mentioned, in June of 2014, the e-book made the NY Times bestseller list at #4. Wall Street Journal and Publisher’s Weekly, too! So much for there not being any interest in the project.
Okay, all that said, it was my agent, Mike, Hamilburg, who first suggested I write a film treatment based on the book.

I did just that, submitted it to him and was told that he would then shop it around as he thought it was one of the best he had ever come across. This, coming from the guy who helped put together the film American Hustle (!) Unfortunately, Mike fell into a coma around the holidays and died New Year’s Day, 2016. The project has been in free fall ever since, with no agent and no way to contact anyone to pitch it to for a possible option, which is a VERY frustrating situation.

One of the rare times Lee Marvin himself played a real-life character on film was RCMP’s Edgar Millen in DEATH HUNT.

Lee Marvin as Edgar Millen in DEATH HUNT.

I feel without a doubt Marvin’s PTSD and how he dealt with it is a major selling point. The time period it encompasses is also a popular aspect. I like to think of it as sort of The Hurt Locker meets “Mad Men.”
A good example of success in this area is FX Channel’s show about Bette Davis & Joan Crawford called “Feud” which was extremely popular and dealt with the same time period as the bulk of my Marvin bio. It too, was based on a popular book (by Shaun Considine that came out in 1989). I hope I won’t have to wait that long for an option but you get the point I’m making:
There is an audience for a great biopic just waiting to be seen and I own the copyright and the registration with the Writer’s Guild.
So, with that in mind, I unabashedly state that if anybody reading this has possible industry connections and likes the idea of a Lee Marvin biopic, do not hesitate to contact me here and we can definitely work out a deal. Seriously. Let me know and we can get the ball rolling. Until then, here’s hoping some clear thinking investor/producer/entrepreneur reads this and does indeed make contact. Fingers crossed.

Title page with logline, tagline, copyright & WGA registration for the film treatment FROM HELL TO HOLLYWOOD based on LEE MARVIN POINT BLANK.

-Dwayne Epstein

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PAPERBACK TIE-IN FINALE: THE 80s!

PAPERBACK TIE-IN

The paperback tie-in tells the story. In the last decade in which he worked, Lee Marvin continued to look for worthy projects in spite of his age and the dearth of material. Times had clearly changed from the experimental films of the 60s & 70s that had made him a star. As the paperback tie-in covers below indicate, he did try…..
huntredoneAlthough filmed in the late 70s, writer/director Sam Fuller’s The Big Red One wasn’t released until 1980 in a truncated version that disappointed all involved. Fuller’s novel (right) filled in the gaps of the story until the reconstructed version came out over 20 years later.
The largest manhunt in Canadian history was the source for Death Hunt (1981) for which there was no book version, but the paperback (left) retold the facts fictionalized in the film in which Charles Bronson played Albert Johnson as a victim of circumstance. Marvin played real life RCMP Edgar Millen, pictured below from the book’s inside cover, proving the film definitely changed the actual events….

millen

 

More literate material was available via the popular Martin Cruz Smith crime thriller Gorky Park (below right) with Marvin giving a pitch perfect performance as the mysterious Jack Osborne. On the left, Marvin’s final film appearance, the 1986 live-action Chuck Norris cartoon Delta Force, in which even the cover could not hide Marvin’s tired appearance…..
deltagorky

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