Biopic of Elvis’ pet chimp in works from Bobcat Goldthwait

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Filmmaker Bobcat Goldthwait has been chatting about a brand new movie project: the story of Scatter, Elvis Presley’s chimp.

It feels like far too long since Bobcat Goldthwait has released a feature film. His last fiction movie was 2013’s Willow Creek, a sly, multi-layered found footage Bigfoot movie about a crumbling romantic relationship, followed in 2015 by the immensely powerful Barry Crimmins bio-documentary Call Me Lucky.

In the meantime, Goldthwait has kept busy with his TV series Misfits And Monsters, directing stand-up specials and similar event films, and screenwriting. For a long while he was developing a fiction film about Barry Crimmins with Judd Apatow, though it’s not clear what happened there and if we’ll ever get to see it.

But there’s more bubbling away too. According to Goldthwait himself, on the borderline unbelievable Hanging with Doctor Z chat show, he’s working on a movie about Scatter, Elvis’ chimp.

The episode is below, so you can see the astonishing context for yourself. It may be helpful to know that Doctor Z here is Dana Gould, in a Planet Of The Apes mask and something like the Doctor Zaius persona. A lot of the chat is pure retro-tinged pop-delusional fantasy but something seems to happen around the 6 minute, 29 second mark where Goldthwait gives a sincere answer about the project.

“I’m doing a movie about Scatter… you know, Elvis’ chimp… Scatter had his own career before Elvis… he had his own television show in Memphis called Scatter’s world… I wanted to do a biopic and I’m working on it, the film of Scatter. Scatter was so close to the king and I thought this would be a new way to explore Elvis’ world… some folks say he died of old age but it’s believed that Elvis’ maid may have poisoned him. He’s also buried in the backyard at Graceland.”

Whether Goldthwait intends to recruit a Chimp to play Scatter, or if there’s going to be some kind of trickery in play, remains to be seen. Hopefully he’ll see the film through, however. Goldthwait’s films are always interesting, never anything less than idiosyncratic and intelligent, and on their own terms, quite brilliant.

The same can be said, I think, of Gould’s Doctor Z show. Here’s the Bobcat episode now, with plenty more on the channel.


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