Josh Gad Will Play Roger Ebert to Will Ferrell’s Russ Meyer in ‘Russ & Roger’

Josh Gad (Frozen, The Book of Mormon) will play the late, great film critic Roger Ebert in the forthcoming comedy Russ & Roger, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The film, which Michael Winterbottom (The Trip, 24 Hour Party People) will direct from a script by Chris Cluess (SCTV, MADtv), covers the bizarre period, early in Ebert’s career, when he took a sabbatical from criticism to pen the screenplay to Beyond the Valley of the Dolls for buddy Russ “King of the Nudies” Meyer. The notorious 1970 film, a rare X-rated release from a major studio, was a controversial critical and box office failure that subsequently became a beloved cult fave.

Will Ferrell will play Meyer, a bit of casting that’s nearly as perfect as Gad’s. Aside from voicing Olaf the talking snowman, Gad is best known to the general public for starring in quickly-cancelled television shows, but as a screen performer, he’s got the goods (check out his fine work in the otherwise unexceptional Wish I Was Here and Thanks for Sharing to see what I mean).

Ebert (who had, alas, expressed hope that Philip Seymour Hoffman would one day play him in a movie) was also the subject of last year’s excellent documentary Life Itself.