There's been a lot of hubbub in the press lately about two competing Steve Jobs biopics, but now, The Chicago Tribune reports that there are two dueling movies based on the life of Del Close, the father of modern improvisational comedy. Close, amongst other things, trained dozens of well-known comedians like Bill Murray, John Belushi, Chris Farley, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, and Amy Poehler at Chicago's Second City and ImprovOlympic theaters from the early '70s up until his death in 1999. Here's the info on the two similar movies, one called Guru from the Second City camp and another called Del from the ImprovOlympic camp:
Guru - Produced by Second [...]
Will Harris over at The A.V. Club has a great interview with actress Jami Gertz today. Gertz was one of the stars of Anne Beatts's short-lived, much-loved sitcom Square Pegs, which Beatts's SNL buddy Bill Murray guested on once. In the interview, Gertz reveals that Murray was trying to put together an improvised movie circa 1983/1984 and had recruited her to be part of the cast:
"I did some improv with [Bill Murray] back in Chicago, with Del Close. He really introduced me into the improv world and what improv is all about. In fact, there was a small time there where we were… well, he was trying to get a movie [...]
On paper, Charna Halpern is intimidating. Really intimidating. Through her partnership with Del Close, she co-founded ImprovOlympic, developed The Harold and helped launch the careers of everyone from Chris Farley to Matt Besser to Rachel Dratch. Oh, and she introduced Amy Poehler to Tina Fey.
In person, Halpern is a warm, Midwestern, cool aunt type. She drives a convertible, brings her dogs everywhere, and never hesitates to say exactly what's on her mind. Her no-nonsense demeanor may make you forget she's a kingmaker and a legend until she offhandedly mentions getting high with Del Close. Someone give this woman a reality show.
While Harold Ramis isn’t quite a household name, he absolutely should be. As a writer/director, the man shaped the big screen personas of Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, John Candy, and Rodney Dangerfield, amongst others, defined the comedic tastes of a generation, and had more of an effect on American film humor than just about anybody in the past few decades. Before conquering Hollywood, Ramis performed at Second City Chicago, on The National Lampoon Radio Hour, and on SCTV (where he also served as head writer). Ramis then went on to write, direct, and/or star in a string of hit comedies that includes Animal House, Caddyshack, Stripes, National Lampoon's Vacation, [...]