Director Lurie writes up “real man” Roger Ebert

Posted by · 12:24 pm · May 4th, 2009

Roger EbertDirector Rod Lurie recently presented his film “Nothing But the Truth” (which finally benefited from a mass-market release by landing on DVD last week) at Roger Ebert’s Ebertfest.  Using the sad news of Ebert’s paper, the Chicago Sun-Times, filing Chapter 11 in March as a spring-board, Lurie writes up a nice love letter to the famed critic in this Huffington Post item.

In the piece, Lurie recounts Eberts physical reactions to the film’s screening and the undeniable passion for cinema that still oozes from his every pore, despite the throat cancer that has been such a terrible burden.  Here’s a taste:

This all registered with me with a special profoundness. I have followed his writing since I was a teenager. When I was 14, I sent him a letter asking for his ten best of all time list. He wrote me back. In longhand. That’s a mensch for you (Citizen Kane was number one, I remember). He is the one critic who can convince me to see films that everybody else hates because he has a unique sense of finding hidden talent and hidden value. Whenever I have a film coming out, his is the one opinion I take personally. When he has given me a smack here and there I have deserved it…

Ebert now communicates by writing on a small pad. Matt Dillon and I were peppering him with questions. Matt wanted to know who his favorite directors were (I think I saw Hawks, Huston, and Keaton on the list), I asked him what movie has he never seen that everybody would have expected to have come under his gaze (The Sound of Music)…As I watched him write his answers — and he did it with zeal and pleasure — it struck me that his pen had become an IV to him. His lifeblood.

It’s a great read and a touching dedication.  Read the full piece here.

→ 13 Comments Tags: , , , | Filed in: Daily

13 responses so far

  • 1 5-04-2009 at 12:37 pm

    brian said...

    In that hat he looks like Lecter at the end of Silence. Does this mean that Rod Lurie saw Knowing? And what did he think?

  • 2 5-04-2009 at 1:08 pm

    Vito said...

    Poor Ebert. Will he ever regain the use of his voice?

  • 3 5-04-2009 at 3:06 pm

    /3rtfu11 said...

    I miss his voice.

  • 4 5-04-2009 at 3:34 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    brian: Rod saw your comment and forwarded the following message:

    “yes, I did see KNOWING on the basis of Ebert’s four stars. It was an interesting film for me to see since I was attached to it about eight years ago. I was with the Ebert review until the very end, which I thought was admirable and gutsy – even if it didn’t quite fulfill the kind of epic statement it wanted to achieve. I found the film to be very involving with a great sense of what’s-going-to-happen next. ”

    There you go.

  • 5 5-04-2009 at 4:53 pm

    McGuff said...

    Directors are reading these comments?

    Did I mention I have this great script in the hopper that would be just perfect for Rod Lurie :)

  • 6 5-04-2009 at 4:53 pm

    Speaking English said...

    ***I asked him what movie has he never seen that everybody would have expected to have come under his gaze (The Sound of Music)***

    Wow. That’s the same movie I get ridiculed for not having seen (by my friends who know I’m such a movie freak). That’s really funny.

    Although him not having seen it is a lot crazier than me not having seen it. A lot. But at least now I know I’m not the only one. :)

  • 7 5-04-2009 at 5:03 pm

    D said...

    Spelling Nazi time…Kris, I think you mean “pore” rather than “pour.”

  • 8 5-04-2009 at 5:06 pm

    alynch said...

    I’m not sure how I feel about Ebert not seeing The Sound of Music, since I’m pretty sure I’ve read him saying that it’s one of the worst Best Picture winners of all time (don’t have a link handy, but I’m near certain of this). Was he pounding the film without having seen it?

  • 9 5-04-2009 at 5:24 pm

    Bill said...

    “Was he pounding the film without having seen it?”

    Remember Tru Loved?

  • 10 5-04-2009 at 5:26 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    D: Ugh, silly mistake. Thanks.

  • 11 5-04-2009 at 6:00 pm

    brian said...

    Awesome. This is probably not the best forum, and it has already been made fun of above, but I am a film student and do have a couple of scripts lying around, should Lurie care to read or pass them along.

  • 12 5-05-2009 at 12:04 am

    rosengje said...

    Loved the article. I incidentally just watched Nothing But the Truth and really enjoyed almost all of it but am very torn by the ending.

    Blahblah spoilers.

    I feel like by assigning the blame to the person in question undercuts the majority of the film’s message. Beckinsale repeatedly states that men are lauded for sticking to their convictions in these cases and that by giving in she would be saying that because she is a mother she is less able to maintain her integrity. But doesn’t the ending suggest that she was only privy to the initial information because of her motherly status and, more controversially, imply that her hesitation to reveal her source has something to do with the child’s identity. I completely reassessed her motives after the last scene. I feel like the character felt more indebted to a child than she would have a ‘normal’ source, and that she didn’t want the child to be burdened with the death of her mother. Most importantly, I feel like there was a selfish desire to not have misplaced the child’s trust.

    Do you think this ambiguity meaningfully complicates the film or is just a cop-out of sorts?

  • 13 5-05-2009 at 6:58 am

    Zac said...


    Thanks for the link to the article. It’s always nice to read about people appreciating Roger Ebert for all he does.

    Mr. Lurie,

    I just finished watching Nothing but the Truth moments ago and I wanted to compliment you on a fantastic movie. I think if Fox Searchlight had distributed the movie, it would have been much more successful. You did a great job with the cast, especially Kate Beckinsale, who I thought gave a career best performance. Everything in the movie was top-notch. I look forward to more of your movies.

    Last, but not least, is it me or did Kate Beckinsale get robbed of an Oscar nomination for Nothing but the Truth? Between this and Snow Angels, 2008 was a great year for her, acting wise and shows that she is much more than a pretty face.