“Peter Sellers was the epitome of the man who is much more comfortable inhabiting alternative personalities than sticking with his own.”
A young, award-winning Director desperately trying to complete a movie on the open sea, whilst battling a comedy genius who is trying to sabotage his own film.
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). Sellers lost confidence with the film as soon as it began and desperately tried to sabotage it, firing the Producers in the first week and then setting his sights on his friend the Director, Peter Medak. 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 (nominated for the Palm D’Or). This film changed his career forever. After 43 years the wounds have barely healed for Medak and this is his opportunity to tell the story and finally release the weight associated with its failure. 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.
Peter Medak is an award-winning international Film Director. Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1937, Peter fled to England age 18 during the uprising against the communist regime and immediately began his film career with Associated British Picture Corporation working on some of the most remarkable British films of that period. In a career spanning 50 years, Peter has made 27 features and 59 TV episodes. He continues to live and breathe film every waking moment.
Making this documentary film was probably the craziest exercise I have ever done. It meant reaching deep inside and travelling alone through the memories of the worst directing experience of my entire life, reliving every moment again and walking in my own shadow of what happened on my movie 46 years ago. Both Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan were the two greatest comic geniuses at that time and I should have been able to make one of the best comedies of all time. Instead it was a miserable failure, which haunted me for the rest of my life. The Ghost of Peter Sellers is all about an unravelling production and what happened behind the scenes all those years ago and reliving my past in London, Cyprus and the Mediterranean like a Ghost flying back into my own life. A very emotional journey which I never ever wanted to embark on…but I’m so glad that I did.
“A remarkable film” – Leonard Maltin
“Jaw-Dropping” – Hollywood Reporter
“One of the best docs of the year” – CBS
Peter Medak | Documentary | 93 mins | 2018 | USA | $10
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