Source: The New York Times.
The Academy Award-winning documentarian Morgan Neville, who took home an Oscar for “20 Feet From Stardom” in 2014, is turning his camera to the Hollywood auteur Orson Welles, focusing on the final 15 years of his life.
The film will serve as a companion piece of sorts to Welles’s final unfinished opus, the satirical “The Other Side of the Wind,” which now appears closer to completion after Netflix stepped in. The streaming service is producing Mr. Neville’s documentary, too.
While the decades-in-the-making “The Other Side of the Wind” is a saga unto itself, Mr. Neville wants to put the film in context by exploring Welles’s struggles in Hollywood as he toiled to complete the movie, which was meant to be his comeback.
Starring John Huston, “The Other Side of the Wind” was filmed in fits and starts in the early to mid-’70s, but its completion was stymied by ownership complications; financial hurdles and a revolution; and Welles’s death in 1985. A major stakeholder was the brother-in-law of the Shah of Iran; after the Iranian revolution, the government attempted to seize the negatives. Until recently, it seemed doomed to join the dozens of other unfinished projects in Welles’s oeuvre.
Mr. Neville, an ardent fan of Welles, said he wanted to unpack why the fiercely independent filmmaker did not thrive in what should have been fertile ground.
“At the beginning of the ’70s, everything was possible,” Mr. Neville said, referring to the surge in creative filmmaking that swept the movie industry after the demise of the traditional studio system and the rise of the counterculture. Welles should have been “the conquering hero of that new Hollywood,” he said, adding, “but nothing went right for the auteur.”
By the end, Mr. Neville said, “no studio was interested in making movies like ‘The Other Side of the Wind.’”
Mr. Neville said he became interested in a possible documentary after reading “Orson Welles’s Last Movie: The Making of ‘The Other Side of the Wind,’” by Josh Karp, but was daunted by the same tangle facing the team trying to get the film finished. A few months ago, though, he got a call from Netflix, saying that if he was still interested in making the picture, the company would pay. The plan is for the documentary to come out the same time as the film, sometime next year.
“As for a title,” Mr. Neville wrote in an email, “I’m thinking I’m going to use this Orson quote: ‘They’ll love me when I’m dead.’”