Director Steve James on Roger Ebert documentary LIFE ITSELF


Roger Ebert was one of the most beloved film critics of all time. He served the public with his eloquent film reviews in the Chicago Sun-Times for more than four decades. He was co-host of popular TV show At the Movies. He wrote more than 20 books. He won a Pulitzer Prize for criticism, and he made the term “thumbs up” a household name.

When director Steve James decided he wanted to shoot a documentary about the famed film critic’s life, he knew it was more than a simple undertaking. ScreenwritingU sat down with the documentarian to hear about how he compiled the extraordinary story of one man’s life.

In this interview, James talks about:

* The emotional response from critics and fans, alike.

* The difficult filming schedule.

* The tough moment where Roger told him that the cancer was back.

* The way shooting Hoop Dreams shaped him as a director, but how he’s now a different person behind the camera.

* The relationship between Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert that was more tumultuous, competitive and emotional than anyone could have ever known.

Life Itself releases in theaters July 4 and includes interviews with Roger Ebert, Chaz Ebert, Martin Scorsese and many others.

Photo credit: Kartemquin Films

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