The Ghost of Peter Sellers is a comic-tragic feature doc about what it takes to be a film director and survive your biggest disaster. After 43 years the wounds have barely healed for Director Peter Medak (The Ruling Class, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, Romeo is Bleeding) and this is his opportunity to tell the story and finally release the weight associated with its failure. At its core lies the story of an unraveling production but also the tale of a young Director firmly on a path to greatness. Medak had made 3 back-to-back successes; most notably ‘The Ruling Class’ in 1972 with Peter O’Toole. This film changed his career forever. In September 1973 Peter Sellers embarked on the production of a 17th Century pirate comedy in Cyprus for Columbia Pictures (Ghost in the Noonday Sun). Structured around the original director Peter Medak and his journey back to the island 42 years later, The Ghost of Peter Sellers is a timeline of events supported by eye-opening and heart-felt interviews with remaining cast members, production staff, Cypriot locals and others from the world of filmmaking. From Los Angeles to New York, from London to Cyprus, Medak recaptures what it was like to work with the genius talents of Sellers and Milligan whilst explaining the saga of the Pirate film and how such a brilliant and funny idea could go so terribly wrong and become a total disaster. Director Peter Medak joins us for a candid conversation on the toll the making of his star-crossed film took on him professionally, personally and psychologically and where he is today.
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About the Director – Peter Medak is an award-winning international Film Director. Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1937. In 1956 he fled to England at the age of 18 during the famous uprising against the communist regime. He studied and worked his way through by being an assistant editor, assistant cameraman and eventually a 3rd, 2nd and 1st assistant Director on some of the most remarkable British Films of the late 50’s and early 60’s. He was fortunate enough to work with some of the most legendary British film Directors such as Sir Carol Reed, Anthony Asquith, Fred Zimmerman and many others. In 1967 he went under contract with Paramount Studios where he directed his first feature film called Negatives with Glenda Jackson in her first ever film. He then proceeded making two highly acclaimed black comedies: A day in the death of Joe Egg (starring Alan Bates and Janet Suzman) and The Ruling Class (Starring Peter O’ Toole) for which he received an Academy Award Nomination. Since that time he has Directed a great number of feature films on both sides of the Atlantic starring Peter Sellers, Alan Bates, George C Scott, Richard Harris, Gary Oldman, Ted Danson and many more. In recent years Peter has made The Krays which won him The Evening Standard Award for “Best Director in England”. Then he made Let Him Have It, Romeo is Bleeding, The Men’s Club etc. In addition, he has directed a great number of television plays, mini-series, films for television, operas and stage productions over the past 50 years of his directing career and continues today.
“The director has made a documentary that’s both a mea culpa for his role in a botched enterprise that left no one looking good and an affecting attempt to define a life’s turning point.” – Todd McCarthy. Hollywood Reporter
“Deeply entertaining and profoundly moving, The Ghost of Peter Sellers offers a slice of forgotten movie history that, it turns out, is well worth remembering.” – Christopher Llewellyn Reed, Hammer to Nail
“Many times throughout the documentary, Medak’s friends and associated ask him why he’s making this film. Like those tragic moments in our lives, we have to re-live it and confront it in order to move on with life.” – Alan Ng, Film Threat
“The Ghost of Peter Sellers beautifully allows the guilt-ridden director to exorcise his demons; against himself, against Sellers and against the film itself, within this surprisingly eloquent contemplation of a well-intentioned misfire.” – Alex Lines, Film Inquiry