Nottage was a PR pioneer in the silent film era, helping to create the all-consuming celebrity culture we live in today. The next time you pick up a People Magazine, say a little prayer of thanks to Nottage -- or curse him, depending on how you feel about Brangelina. He lived a pretty wild life himself, touring with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, and enjoying the booze and the babes he encountered along the way. His partying ways caused him to fall out of favor in the moralistic Prohibition era, and he died, a Hollywood outcast, in 1965.
But as if that's not movie-worthy enough, there's more! Nottage's life was largely forgotten until he became the focus of Mark Borkowski's biography, The Fame Formula. Borkowski was given access to Nottage's private papers by his surviving heirs. But the London Times did a little digging, and claims Nottage may not have even existed. They cited the U.S. Census of 1920, and the archives of the L.A. Times as having no record of his existence. Borkowski and Nottage's decendants have angrily denied the allegations, offering proof from his personal papers. (The fact that you have descendants means nothing, apparently.) If a movie gets made, expect this part of the plot to thicken.
And to add to the baggage of this biopic, controversial director Tony Kaye is said to be interested in adapting the book. If this gets lined up, maybe we'll finally see Black Water Transit? Or should we hope he passes and a faster-working director gets it made?
It's certainly a juicy drama, packed with enough controversy that publicity would be a snap. (Nottage would be so proud, assuming he existed!) And who wouldn't love to see Hoffman tackle an unpleasant character? Remember what a fine drunk he was in Sleepers? Let's hope it all comes together, and makes it onscreen.