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What ties Idaho to a new Netflix movie? The director and the star’s wacky brother

Director Michael Hoffman on the set of his last film “The Best of Me” with its stars James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan in 2014.
Director Michael Hoffman on the set of his last film “The Best of Me” with its stars James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan in 2014.

An upcoming Netflix bio-pic about screenwriter, novelist and pop culture icon Gore Vidal has two Idaho connections.

The first is pretty straightforward:

Idaho filmmaker Michael Hoffman will direct two-time Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey in a bio-flick about Vidal, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Hoffman (“One Fine Day,” “Restoration”) has been living in London for the past couple of years, but keeps a house and strong connections in Boise.

He is easily Idaho’s most prolific and well-known film artist. A Rhodes Scholar, he is a critically respected director who has a penchant for literary characters. Fueled by Hoffman’s screenplay, his “The Last Station” received Oscar nominations for its co-stars Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer as Sofya and Leo Tolstoy.

In the past, Hoffman has brought his films’ stars — such as Sally Fields and Kevin Kline — to Boise to benefit causes from the Idaho Shakespeare Festival to Agency for New Americans.

The second connection is more obscure.

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Kevin Spacey’s older brother Randy B. Fowler (pictured here in the Capitol Garage) owns Rod’s Limos in Boise. Kyle Green Idaho Statesman file photo

Spacey’s estranged brother Randy B. Fowler lives in Boise and is somewhat of a celebrity in his own right. He dresses — and looks — like Rod Stewart and operates a limo service called Rod’s Limos. He’s also shopping around a not-so-flattering book about his brother.

The Netflix project will begin shooting at the end of August in Rome and on the Amalfi Coast, where Vidal lived in his infamous cliff-side mansion where he entertained celebrities such as Paul Newman and Mick Jagger.

Vidal made it big in Hollywood as a scriptwriter of films such as “Ben-Hur” (1959). He then moved to Rome to redefine his career as a novelist and then settled on the coast in 1972.

Spacey is finishing up filming on “All the Money in the World,” in which he plays J. Paul Getty Sr., about the infamous kidnapping of J. Paul Getty III in the 1970s.

Vidal famously feuded with two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, playwright and journalist Norman Mailer.

Mailer is best known for his novels “The Naked and the Dead” (1948) and “The Executioner’s Song” (1979), and for which he won one of his two Pulitzer Prizes. He was the “most transparently ambitious writer of his era,” accordingly to the New York Times.

Check out this clip from Dick Cavet’s talk show on which Vidal and Mailer clashed.

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