Cannes: Peter Bogdanovich to Direct Buster Keaton Documentary (Exclusive)

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Peter Bogdanovich

Charles S. Cohen, who owns the rights to all but two of the silent screen legend's films, will produce.

Peter Bogdanovich is set to direct a documentary about silent-screen legend Buster Keaton.

Charles S. Cohen, chairman and CEO of Cohen Media Group, announced the news from Cannes. Cohen will produce.

Buster Keaton’s career is legendary — from his start as a knockabout child performer in vaudeville, to his groundbreaking silent shorts and feature films, through his later work and personal struggles, and finally his critical elevation as one of cinema’s towering artists. Bogdanovich will explore Keaton’s life and work in the film, which will feature interviews with generations of high-profile actors, filmmakers and historians inspired by Keaton.

“While his own life was marked by pain and struggle, Buster Keaton left the world an amazing and cherished gift of comedy, and I’m excited to be able to pay tribute to him," said Bogdanovich.

Added Cohen: “We’re happy to have a cinema lover like Peter turn his expertise to Buster Keaton. Longtime Buster fans and newcomers alike will be thrilled.”

Cohen owns rights to all but two of Buster Keaton’s films, which will allow Bogdanovich unprecedented access to the actor-director’s body of work. Scenes from The General, Steamboat Bill Jr., The Paleface, Our Hospitality and other masterpieces will be intercut with Bogdanovich’s interviews with contemporary stars, directors and others about Keaton’s influence on comedy and all of cinema.

The film will also highlight his rarely seen work in talkies and even his TV commercials.