Forthcoming highlights from Eric Roberts' busy year ahead


9th May 2013

I know you've all been thinking: what's Eric Roberts up to these days? Well, let me tell you: he's up to everything. He is attempting to star in every film that's currently in production. Fear him.

There was a time when Eric Roberts looked like he might be on the verge of a major comeback. He made a cameo appearance in The Dark Knight. Mickey Rourke mentioned him by name in an awards acceptance speech, pleading cryptically, "Eric deserves to be forgiven for whatever happened 15 years ago". He even got picked for a plum villain role in the first Expendables movie. Credibility and/or a starring role in a Justin Bieber music video were surely just around the corner. So what happened?

Answer: Eric Roberts went into fucking HYPERDRIVE. He's always worked solidly, as you'll see looking down his IMDb page, but when you look at his future projects, you'll damn near wear out your scroll wheel.

Including movies in pre- and post-production, Roberts has an incredible 69 movies due for release in 2013/2014. One of these, Lovelace, I have heard of. The other 68 all appear to be micro-budget thrillers, in which Roberts turns up for 10 minutes, takes his paycheque and vanishes. On screen, in character. Which is very unprofessional.

His IMDb page makes for dizzying reading, but I've sifted through his forthcoming projects to dig out some of the gems you might miss.
Santa's Boot Camp

What's it about? Christmas! Christmas movies are basically all of Eric Roberts' Christmases come at once. Because the kids of today are obnoxious shits, Santa's elves go on strike, forcing Kris Kringle to recruit six "unscrupulous youths" to save Christmas. He must be well bored of saving Christmas by now. Every bloody year.

Who does Eric Roberts play? He just plays a Mall Santa, not even the real Santa, although he still gets top billing on IMDb. I think it's better for everyone that he doesn't play the real Santa. No little kid wants this guy coming down their chimney. He'd probably be packing heat. You can also see Roberts in All American Christmas Carol, opposite Meat Loaf and Ranjit from How I Met Your Mother.

Who else is in it? Three separate girls called Madison.

Predicted scene: Roberts' Mall Santa keeps a little boy on his knee for a little too long, causing some concerned glances from his parents.
Dante's Hell Documented

What's it about? Much like the process of writing this feature, a journey through Hell. It's an examination of Dante's Inferno, which according to the official synopsis, is "presented in an unprecedented and unique way that no other documentary has done until now." That's right. It's a documentary. Set in Hell. Which is quite a coup.

Who does Eric Roberts play? He voices Dante, naturally. No voicing the Blasphemers or the Murderers for him.

Who else is in it? Franco Nero (he of Django fame) voices the introduction in his native Italian in his trademark growl, while providing the English translation is Grease star Jeff Conaway, uniquely positioned to provide valuable insight what with him being dead since 2011.

Predicted scene: The Italian animation company are forced to animate an extra few scenes to accommodate Roberts' mad freestyle ranting in the voiceover booth.
Spreading Darkness

What's it about? I have no idea, because IMDb has no synopsis or pictures. The film's official Facebook page describes it as a "non-horror", which isn't helpful at all. Googling 'Spreading Darkness' just brings up some very NSFW speciality porn sites, but then Google knows what I like.

Who does Eric Roberts play? He plays Stu Undercoffler, which really, really sounds like the kind of fake name a panicking undercover cop would provide at gunpoint.

Who else is in it? Dominique Swain (she of Lolita and being the daughter in Face/Off fame) and Robert Davi, the only Bond villain cool enough to follow me on Twitter.

Predicted scene: "I swear, I'm no rat! I'm not working undercoffler... I mean undercover!"
Kowel's Voice

What's it about? Shit. It's a holocaust movie. Herein lies the danger of the Eric Roberts movie lottery. One second you're chuckling at Roberts playing a Mall Santa, next minute he's killing Jews.

Who does Eric Roberts play? Judging by his character name, Kempf, and the natty leather gear he's sporting in the movie's poster, I'm going to stick my head out and say he's a Nazi.

Who else is in it? Oleg Taktarov, a Russian actor who has played a character named 'Oleg' five times in his career. He's also been a 'Boris' four times. He just plays 'Russian soldier' here, though.

Predicted scene: Eric Roberts' Kapo lets out an evil laugh that is tonally a little out of place.
Taco Shop

What's it about? The official synopsis is a masterpiece of economical storytelling: "A taco shop's business is jeopardized when a gourmet taco truck parks across the street." That's it. If this movie has a running time that's over 12 minutes it'll be a miracle. Or, you know, it'll be shit.

Who does Eric Roberts play? Old School Eddie. You would think with a name like that, Eddie would work in the taco shop and not the gourmet taco truck. He's just old school like that.

Who else is in it? Laura Harring, one half of the most rewound scene in Mulholland Drive. (The lesbian sex scene, not the bit with the troll in the alley, obviously).

Predicted scene: Roberts violently smashes a man's head into the counter and makes a taco out of his face. "Now THAT's old school," he says, while the shop's costumed mascot faints and knocks a tray of fries over.
Eternity: The Movie

What's it about? Ostensibly this seems to be an 80s comedy about the music industry, with two boys forming a rock/R'N'B supergroup that take the charts by storm. It also sounds a lot like a gay porn film, but that could just be because one of the boys is named 'BJ'.

Who does Eric Roberts play? Gene Weiner. LOL.

Who else is in it? Martin Kove, who played Sensei John Kreese in The Karate Kid. Fear does not exist in his dojo.

Predicted scene: Music producer Gene Weiner requests BJ has a toot on his sax if he wants to get himself a record deal, if he knows what he means, heh heh heh. (*Eric Roberts face*)
Chicks Dig Gay Guys

What's it about? It's pretty much the low-rent I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry. Judging from the face the guy on the poster is pulling, I'm guessing it won't be winning any GLAAD awards.

Who does Eric Roberts play? Mr Wagner. Let's just assume for comedy's sake that he's a red-blooded heterosexual male who's been posing as a flaming old queen to get laid. He's conveniently on hand to dish out awful, dispiriting advice to the lead shithead, Scooter.

Who else is in it? A nice lady called 'Chasty Ballasteros', which looks a bit like a misspelled stripper pseudonym.

Predicted scene: "It's not enough to look fuckable, Scooter. You have to look FABULOUS." And then there's a hateful makeover montage that will make three gender-confused teens kill themselves in shame.
Amazing Racer

What's it about? Horse racing. BORING. The relationship between a young girl and her horse. BORING. A touching story about how a disillusioned orphan girl finds purpose in her life. BORING. (*wipes away tear*)

Who does Eric Roberts play? Roberts plays "egocentric mogul" Prescott, who gets upset by all the horse racing stuff that happens. Or something. I'm going to be honest, I go a big rubbery one when it comes to horse racing movies. Eat me, Seabiscuit.

Who else is in it? Holy shit, Steve Guttenberg? Jackpot! Also Daryl Hannah and Michael Madsen, the duo that prove the patented 'Tarantino career resurrection' has a shelf life.

Predicted scene: I'm not even giving this film the courtesy of thinking up a hilarious scene. Imagine it your fucking self.
This Is Our Time

What's it about? "After graduation, five friends set out to make a difference in the world for God." Uh-oh. This sounds like a recruitment video. "Their ambitions are high, their passions are strong but will they have the courage to fulfill their calling regardless of what comes their way?" Yep, this definitely sounds like the kind of free DVD the Jehovas stick through your letterbox.

Who does Eric Roberts play? SATAN! Just kidding. He plays Ethan's Dad, Ethan being another character in the film, presumably. I don't know, I didn't check - honestly I lost track of the browser tab among the three dozen I had open.

Who else is in it? Erik Estrada from CHiPs. Three times.

Predicted scene: Roberts' caring Dad dispenses some worthy advice: "Beware, the three visions of Ponch. They will bring only misery."
Paranormal Movie

What's it about? A spoof of a popular horror movie. I honestly can't believe no one has done this before! Paranormal Movie does have a trailer, below, which actually makes me think it might be a real film that's going to come out, unlike everything else in this feature. It stars Kevin Farley aka the brother that should have died instead of Chris. Okay, that's mean. But when you steal jokes from Spaceballs, you'll get what's coming to you.

It took me a full minute to realise this wasn't the actual official trailer. You can watch it here. To be fair, this looks no better or worse than the half dozen other Paranormal Activity spoofs I stumbled on while looking for this on YouTube. Maybe Paranormal Whacktivity will be better than the original, who am I to say?

Who does Eric Roberts play? Dr Lipschitz. Roberts at least looks like he's having fun with the role. Could it be that the tough guy who's had a career playing mob bosses and violent offenders could be America's funniest comedic actor? The answer is unequivocally yes.

Who else is in it? Tom Sizemore and another, even less funny, Farley brother. Also Deep Roy, the midget from those Tim Burton movies.

Predicted scene: Dr Lipschitz steals the show with some unscripted flamboyance.
I'll be honest, guys. I only made it halfway through Eric Roberts' list of forthcoming projects. I started when the sun was out and now I have to go to work in a few hours and my son is crying because he's technically correct in thinking I spend more time with Eric Roberts than I do with him.

Who knows what potential comedy could have been mined from movies like Don't Shoot! I'm The Guitar Man, 2 Bedroom 1 Bath, Dead.tv and Relentless Justice ("This justice... it's just so... relentless!"). I guess we'll never know. Nobody will ever know. Not even Eric Roberts.

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