Netflix Completing Orson Welles Film ‘The Other Side of the Wind’

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 6.10.24 PM

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 6.10.24 PM

By: Briana Phipps

Netflix has acquired global rights to Orson Welles’ unfinished final film, “The Other Side of the Wind” and will finance the completion of the movie.

The film was shot by Welles beginning in 1970 from a screenplay he co-wrote with Oja Kodar, and stars John Huston, Peter Bogdanovich, Kodar, Robert Random, Lilli Palmer, Edmond O’Brien, Cameron Mitchell, Mercedes McCambridge, Susan Strasberg, Norman Foster, Paul Stewart and Dennis Hopper.

Welles shot the film-within-a-film between 1970 and 1976 and then worked on it until his death in 1985, leaving behind a 45-minute work print that he had smuggled out of France. Huston starred as a temperamental film director battling with Hollywood executives to finish a movie –much like Welles did throughout his career.

The character portrayed by Huston originated in an encounter between Ernest Hemingway and Welles in 1937 — four years before the release of “Citizen Kane” — in which a whiskey-drinking Hemingway threw a chair at Welles and they scuffled. Welles decided to use Hemingway as the primary model for Huston’s character.

The film is a Royal Road Entertainment production and was originally produced by Welles and Les Films de L’Astrophore.  Frank Marshall, who served as a production manager on the original production and has led efforts to complete this film for over 40 years, will oversee the completion of the film with consultation from Bogdanovich. He will work closely with fellow producer Filip Jan Rymsza, who has been involved in pursuing the film’s completion.

Netflix did not disclose when it will release “The Other Side of the Wind.”

“Like so many others who grew up worshipping the craft and vision of Orson Welles, this is a dream come true,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer. “The promise of being able to bring to the world this unfinished work of Welles with his true artistic intention intact, is a point of pride for me and for Netflix. Cinephiles and film enthusiasts around the world will experience the magic of Orson Welles once again or for the very first time.”

“I can’t quite believe it, but after 40 years of trying, I am so very grateful for the passion and perseverance from Netflix that has enabled us to, at long last, finally get into the cutting room to finish Orson’s last picture,” said Marshall.

Ryzma said in a statement, “We could not ask for better partners or a better home. I’m immensely grateful to the whole Netflix team for their tireless effort and unwavering support. With Netflix’s global reach, this will undoubtedly be the widest release of any Orson Welles film, if not all of them combined.”

Producers on “The Other Side of the Wind” are Marshall and Rymsza. The executive producers are Bogdanovich, Jens Koethner Kaul, Beatrice Welles, Carla Rosen-Vacher, Olga Kagan and Jon Anderson.

Royal Road had announced in 2014 that had negotiated agreements with Welles’s collaborator, Kodar; his daughter and sole heir, Beatrice Welles; and Iranian-French production company, L’Astrophore. Welles had financed the project through a combination of TV roles and investors, including Mehdi Bushehri, brother-in-law of the shah of Iran and an investor in L’Astrophore.

As a result of clashing with Welles, Bushehri took control of more than 1,000 negative reels, which have been stored in a Paris warehouse.

This news was first reported by Variety.

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