HBO films is going into development on a new film that will be based on the legendary and scandalous silent film star and comedian Fatty Arbuckle. Modern Family's Eric Stonestreet is attached to play Arbuckle in the movie, which is title The Day the Laughter Stopped.
Barry Levinson is set to direct the film from a script that will be written by John Adams screenwriter Kirk Ellis. The HBO movie will be based on the book by David A. Yallop. The life of Arbuckle is a classic rise and fall story. He rose to the top as one of Hollywood's comedian, director and screenwriter. He mentored Charile Chaplin and discovered Buster Keaton and Bob Hope. In 1921 the comedian was accused of raping and accidentally killing actress Virginia Rappe and was tried for her death three times. He was acquitted, but the scandal plagued his career and during the 1920's he didn't work much. The film "promises to detail how, virtually overnight, false accusations of rape and murder against Arbuckle transformed one of the most popular and highest paid Hollywood stars into a showbiz pariah."
Ellis had this to say about Arbuckle in a statement, "He was the biggest and most loved star of the time, bigger than Chaplin, especially with children." He goes on to talk about the trail saying, "It was the first trial by media of the 20th century ... [and] there was a call to clean the place up. Arbuckle became the sacrificial lamb. They decided to kiss off his career rather than risk the government coming in." As for Arbuckle's reaction to to how everyone turned on him after the trial, "He was utterly unable to understand how a world which had so embraced him could turn on him so quickly."
Stonestreet added that, "In addition to the fact that I'm from Kansas and he's from Kansas, I just always found it to be such a fascinating and tragic story. He went from this jolly person who fell down and entertained people into a sexual deviant. It's a true story people don't know about, with a twist."
Vulture also says that the film, "won't be a simple biopic. Instead, the goal is to tell the tale of how America transformed from the exuberance that followed the end of World War I into a more repressive, conservative place during the era of prohibition. The film will also touch on Washington's relationship with Hollywood, as well as the role of media in modern society."
I saw a documentary about Arbuckle a few years back, and it's an incredibly interesting story, and part of Hollywoo history that will make a great movie. I also think Stonestreet is a great actor that will be perfect in the role. What do you all think?
Here's a description of the book that I found:
Yallop's second book The Day The Laughter Stopped confirmed the view that a remarkable investigative talent had arrived. The book was widely acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic. The author located records officially destroyed some forty years earlier, witnesses that many had declared were long dead including the three women who at varying times were married to Roscoe Arbuckle. Two years research that ranged around the world uncovered the incredible true story behind the Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle scandal of 1921, when the far film comedian stood accused of the rape and murder of a pretty screen actress.
Arbuckle's is the story of a man born in extreme poverty who was destined to rise to the heights of a multi - million dollar career, only to have it snatched from him by a wave of hysteria and bigotry that swept the globe. It is the story of Hollywood and what really happened in the corridors of power; the political corruption of San Francisco; the immorality of a President. How Charlie Chaplin's career was saved. How Buster Keaton's was begun. Both by Arbuckle. It is a life story that ranges from comic heights to tragic depths.