One of the stars of ABC’s "Modern Family" is working on an HBO Films project focusing on one of the biggest stars of the silent film era, reports Joe Adalian in New York Magazine’s Vulture blog.
Eric Stonestreet, who plays Cameron on “Modern Family,” is behind the project about silent film star Fatty Arbuckle, who faced three trials after being charged with the rape and murder of actress Virginia Rappe. The case effectively ended Arbuckle’s career even though he was acquitted. It remains one of the most infamous show business scandals ever.
The project is called "The Day the Laughter Stopped," with "John Adams" writer Kirk Ellis working on the script and Barry Levinson attached to direct. It’s based on a book of the same name by David A. Yallop.
"When the charges were filed, Paramount had just wrapped production on three Arbuckle pictures worth, in today’s terms, nearly $200 million, but the studio decided it couldn’t wait for a verdict and shelved them all," Adalian writes.
Stonestreet said he has been thinking about playing Arbuckle since the late 1990s, the story notes.
"In addition to the fact that I’m from Kansas and he’s from Kansas, I just always found it to be such a fascinating and tragic story," Stonestreet said. "He went from this jolly person who fell down and entertained people into a sexual deviant. It’s a true story people don’t know about, with a twist."