After years of struggling to make his Roger Corman biopic, The Man With Kaleidoscope Eyes, Joe Dante might finally be ready to go into production. Screen Daily’s Geoffrey Macnab reports that prolific producer Saïd Ben Saïd will be producing the film through his company SBS Productions, with Corman himself on board for a cameo appearance.
Dante broke into the film industry working for Corman, who produced Dante’s first and second features, 1976’s Hollywood Boulevard (co-directed with Allan Arkush) and 1978’s Piranha. More recently they reteamed for Dante’s 2009 Netflix web series Splatter, which was the streaming service’s first original-content venture long before House Of Cards. As far back as February 2007, Dante was trying to sell Kaleidoscope Eyes at the Berlinale Co-Production Market. His film centers on the production of Corman’s notorious 1967 LSD-centric drug flick The Trip. To prepare for production, Corman and his cast and crew retreated to Big Sur, where they traded shifts tripping and coming down.
There’s obviously plenty of fodder for dramatization; co-screenwriter Tim Lucas (editor of the genre-centric publication Video Watchdog) describes it as “a future cult comedy waiting to happen.” Lucas also claims that Quentin Tarantino once expressed interest in playing screenwriter Charles Griffith, while at another point Colin Firth was supposed to star.
Dante has only made two features since 2003; that year’s Looney Tunes: Back In Action and 2009’s 3-D horror-for-kids film The Hole, which got an extremely limited U.S. release (but is streaming now on Netflix). Most of his work in the interim has been for TV, including episodes of Hawaii Five-O “to get the rent paid,” as Dante told USA Today in June. While no start date for production’s been set, getting financing in place means Kaleidescope Eyes finally has a real shot at making the trip to the big screen.
Here’s the trailer for Corman’s The Trip: