Home Movies Gay Talese’s “Voyeur” Movie Can Still Happen Even if Director Sam Mendes...

There’s nothing normal about Gay Talese’s “The Voyeur.” When Talese published an except about his book in The New Yorker last spring, Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment scooped it up to make a movie. Right away, “American Beauty” director Sam Mendes was on the case.

Then as the book itself was getting ready for publication, the Washington Post attacked it (Talese is a Hall of Famer for their rival, the New York Times) claiming there all kinds of mistakes and inaccuracies. They ambushed Talese in a phone call. Startled, he disavowed the book. The next day, cooler heads prevailed as Talese reclaimed the book. It was published and did very well.

In August, it was reported that two filmmakers– Myles Kane and Josh Koury– had wrapped a documentary about Talese called “Gay Talese and the Voyeur.” It seemed that Kane, who does video work for the New Yorker (where Talese writes now), had been following the writer around for three years filming him for a documentary about his life and career. Kane followed Talese through his latest adventures with Gerald Foos, owner of the motel in question. Without telling Talese, Kane shifted his focus to that story more than anything else. He just didn’t bother to tell Talese.

Now Mendes tells Deadline.com that he’s so upset about the documentary that he’s junking the project. It seems Dreamworks is out, too, although I don’t know why. Plenty of great narrative films have been based on documentaries including this Oscar season’s “Loving.” Kane’s documentary will at best show on HBO but it wouldn’t have the power of a film starring, say, Kevin Spacey, as Foos spying on his customers’ sexual hijinks.

Talese is philosophical about this latest turn of events. He’s 85, he’s very famous, and has seen it all. He doesn’t hold Kane responsible, he tells me. “I don’t think he thought it would have any affect on the film,” he says.

Mendes is probably heading back to James Bond, anyway, after saying he wouldn’t make another one after “Skyfall” and “Spectre.” (Mendes and Daniel Craig like to play this game with the Bond movies– we’ll never make another one, oh, they paid us, we’re back!)

Frankly, “The Voyeur’s Motel” reads more like HBO’s “The Night Of” than a feature film. Because the lead character, Foos, is not much of a hero, it might be hard to get people into movie theaters. But it’s almost perfect for a limited series like “The Night Of,” with great twists and turns, and a murder mystery as well.  Talese, as he apparently is  in the documentary, could be the protagonist. Al Pacino could play Talese, and Barry Levinson could direct. They’d be perfect. Spacey could still be Foos.

Meanwhile, there’s another subplot here perfect for a Lifetime movie. Since Kane started filming Talese, he required a liver transplant. Kane has a whole other life as a DJ as “MC Kreacher,” so his friends in that world got together and raised $50,000 to pay his insurance deductible.

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