Roger Ebert Documentary Will Be Finished, According To Filmmakers

For a website such as this, that features news and reviews about all areas of cinema, the passing of Roger Ebert will reverberate for quite some time, silencing a voice that most of us have for years held high as one of the only critics left who could encapsulate an entire life’s worth of film knowledge and experiences into a single article without ever making it sound like anything but a simple film review. It’s no small shame that we’ll never get to hear him critique the biographical documentary being made about him.

A documentary that is still very much in the works, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The film is based on Ebert’s 2011 memoir and all-around enjoyable book Life Itself, which encompasses his entire career that saw his rise with the Chicago Sun-Times to his television show with rival critic Gene Siskel to his battles with and recovery from thyroid cancer.

“We are devastated,” wrote the documentary’s director Steve James (Hoop Dreams) on the film’s Twitter account. “But we will continue. We will finish the film.” THR’s sources told them in the months before Ebert’s latest cancer issues came up earlier this week, filmmakers were preparing for the worst, as his health was continually worsening. But despite all that, Ebert had been contributing as much as possible to the documentary, allowing himself to be recorded as much as need be for the filmmakers to get what they needed. Always putting others before his pride. Except of course, when Siskel tried talking shit.

CNN Films, of all companies, has the U.S. broadcast rights to the film, hoping to air it at some point in 2014 after it is completed. Sadly, the film has not yet been picked up for theatrical distribution, but I can’t see that lasting much longer after today’s awful news.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.