4-Part Docuseries Written and Directed by Two-Time Emmy Award-Winner R.J. Cutler (Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry, BELUSHI, The War Room)
New York, NY – June 9, 2021 – Premium network EPIX® has announced the greenlight of Murf the Surf, a new true crime four-part docuseries from Imagine Documentaries and R.J. Cutler’s This Machine (an Industrial Media Company) that pulls back the curtain on America’s most infamous jewel thief, Jack Roland Murphy. The docuseries is directed by Emmy Award-winner R.J. Cutler and produced by Cutler and his long time producing partner Trevor Smith (Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry, BELUSHI) along with Brian Grazer (Inside Man, American Gangster), Ron Howard(Rebuilding Paradise, Apollo 13), Justin Wilkes (Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel, MARS), and Sara Bernstein (Rebuilding Paradise, Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel) for Imagine and Elise Pearlstein (American Factory, Food Inc.) for This Machine.
“Murf the Surf is a great addition to the quality docuseries lineup that EPIX viewers have come to expect,” said Michael Wright, President, EPIX. “R.J. Cutler and the talented team at Imagine are crafting an unexpected, exciting, entertaining series, bringing Murf’s truly unique story to life.”
“Murf’s entire life was a blurring of truth and fiction and the series’ form will reflect the subject matter,” said Cutler. “I am so grateful to our wonderful partners at Epix and Imagine who have embraced this vision from the beginning.”
“Imagine is thrilled to go on this roller coaster ride through the many lives of the infamous Jack Roland Murphy with our partners at EPIX and the visionary R.J. Cutler,” said Bernstein and Wilkes.
In October 2019, the NY Times published an article celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Museum of Natural History. One of the most momentous events to take place on site was an epic jewel heist, the biggest in American history, mastered by a band of suave “surfer dudes” from Miami in 1964. The key to the operation was Jack Roland Murphy, otherwise known as Murf the Surf, whose name was propelled into pop culture after the heist – creating a notoriety that would stretch far beyond the caper. What followed Murf’s meteoric rise is a spiraling tale of unspeakable crime, murder, deception and mayhem which, to this day, remains shrouded in mystery.
This four-part documentary series will explore the tumultuous life of the man behind the legendary nickname. Featuring exclusive access to Jack Roland Murphy himself prior to his death in 2020, the series will address the blurred line between fact and fiction, faith and delusion, sanity and madness – raising the timely question of who and how we believe.
Cutler is a two-time Emmy Award®-winning director and producer and is renowned for his critically and commercially successful documentary films including Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry, BELUSHI, The War Room, A Perfect Candidate, The September Issue, The World According to Dick Cheney, Thin and Listen to Me Marlon. He has also been a pioneer in the area of non-fiction television, having created such landmark programs as “Dear…,” “American High,” “Freshman Diaries,” “30 Days” and many others. Cutler’s scripted work includes conceiving and directing “Nashville,” directing the feature film If I Stay starring Chloe Grace Moretz, and creating, writing, directing and producing the award-winning podcast The Oval Office Tapes.
Cutler is currently directing and producing a feature documentary about the life and times of Martha Stewart for Netflix.
Cutler’s first film, The War Room, was nominated for an Academy Award®, and he is the recipient of two Emmys®, two Peabody Awards, a GLAAD Award, two Cinema Eye Awards, and two Television Academy Honor Awards. In 2009, the Museum of Television and Radio held a four-day retrospective of Cutler’s work.
Imagine Documentaries has a prolific slate of upcoming releases that includes Who Are You Charlie Brown?, a celebration of the life and work of on Charles Schulz (AppleTV+); the 2021 Tribeca Festival premiere of Paper & Glue, directed by legendary French artist JR; Gossip, a limited series chronicling Cindy Adams’ four-decade career at the New York Post as the “reigning queen of gossip” (Showtime); Julia, a documentary on legendary chef Julia Child, directed by Julie Cohen and Betsy West (Sony Pictures Classic); Black and Blues: The Colorful Ballad of Louis Armstrong (AppleTV); and Ron Howard’s next documentary feature film on chef Jose Andres and the World Central Kitchen organization (National Geographic Films). Recently released projects include the critically-acclaimed The Day Sports Stood Still (HBO); On Pointe (Disney+), We Are The Brooklyn Saints (Netflix); Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel (Netflix); and Supervillain: The Making of Tekashi 6ix9ine(Showtime).
Cutler is represented by Lighthouse Management + Media, CAA and Jeanne Newman at HJTH.
EPIX ®, an MGM company, is a premium television network delivering a broad line-up of quality original series and documentaries, the latest movie releases and classic film franchises – all available on TV, on-demand, online and across devices. EPIX ® has tripled the amount of original programming on the network and has become a destination for original premium content with series including Godfather of Harlem, starring and executive produced by Forest Whitaker and Pennyworth, the origin story of Batman’s butler Alfred; as well as upcoming premieres of drama Chapelwaite, based on the short story Jerusalem’s Lot by Stephen King and starring Academy Award winner Adrien Brody; western adventure series Billy the Kid; Sci-Fi horror series From produced by Midnight Radio and AGBO; season two of acclaimed spy thriller Condor, season three of epic fantasy drama series Britannia; and docuseries Fiasco, based on the podcast of the same name. Other originals include Emmy®-nominated music docuseries Laurel Canyon; docuseries Fall River, from Blumhouse Television; season two of War of the Worlds, from Howard Overman and starring Gabriel Byrne and Daisy Edgar-Jones; sweeping historical drama Domina; docuseries NFL: The Grind, from NFL Films and hosted by Rich Eisen; Belgravia, from Julian Fellowes, Gareth Neame and the creative team from Downton Abbey; dramedy Bridge and Tunnel written and directed by Ed Burns; docuseries Helter Skelter: An American Myth, executive produced and directed by Lesley Chilcott; By Whatever Means Necessary: The Times of Godfather of Harlem; and Enslaved featuring Hollywood icon and human rights activist Samuel L. Jackson. Launched in October 2009, EPIX® is available nationwide through cable, telco, satellite and emerging digital distribution platforms as well as through its EPIX NOW app, providing more movies than any other network with thousands of titles available for streaming.
For more information about EPIX, go to www.EPIX.com. Follow EPIX on Twitter @EpixHd (http://www.twitter.com/EpixHD) and on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/EPIX), YouTube (http://youtube.com/EPIX), Instagram (http://instagram.com/EPIX) and Snapchat @EPIXTV.
About Imagine Documentaries
Imagine Documentaries was formed in 2018 by Imagine Entertainment Chairmen Brian Grazer and Ron Howard with a focus on developing and producing premium feature documentaries and non-scripted television. Based out of New York, Imagine Docs is run by Academy Award-nominated and Emmy, Peabody and Producer’s Guild Award-winning producers Justin Wilkes and Sara Bernstein. The division expands on Imagine’s rich history in the documentary space which includes the hit documentary series Mars and Breakthrough (National Geographic) as well as the Ron Howard-directed films Jay- Z’s Made in America, The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years (2017 Grammy winner for Best Music Film), Pavarotti, and the Sundance 2020 documentary feature Rebuilding Paradise (National Geographic Films).
Recent releases include Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band (Magnolia Pictures), D Wade: Life Unexpected (ESPN Films), Dads (Apple+), The Day Sports Stood Still (HBO); On Pointe(Disney+), We Are The Brooklyn Saints (Netflix); Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel (Netflix); and Supervillain: The Making of Tekashi 6ix9ine (Showtime).
Upcoming projects include, Who Are You Charlie Brown?, a celebration of the life and work of Charles Schulz (AppleTV+); the 2021 Tribeca Festival premiere of Paper & Glue, directed by legendary French artist JR; Gossip, a limited series chronicling Cindy Adams’ four-decade career at the New York Post as the “reigning queen of gossip” (Showtime); Julia, the definitive documentary on Julia Child, directed by Julie Cohen and Betsy West (Sony Pictures Classic); The Supermodels, a docuseries featuring the iconic careers of Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington (AppleTV+); the Martin Scorsese-directed documentary on New York’s 1970’s music scene and the New York Dolls; Black and Blues: The Colorful Ballad of Louis Armstrong (AppleTV+); Amy Poehler’s documentary feature directing debut, Lucy & Desi, on the personal and professional partnership between Lucille Ball and husband Desi Arnaz; Ron Howard’s next documentary feature film on chef Jose Andres and the World Central Kitchen organization (National Geographic Films); and a Rory Kennedy directed feature documentary investigating Boeing’s 737-Max airplane crashes (Netflix).
About This Machine
This Machine was founded in Los Angeles and New York in 2020. Headed by Award Winning filmmaker and non-fiction pioneer R.J. Cutler, This Machine explores the times in which we live through non-fiction and scripted storytelling in all media.
This Machine’s team includes Oscar nominated, Emmy winning producer Elise Pearlstein, Cutler’s long-time producing partner Trevor Smith and 15-time Emmy-nominated Producer Jane Cha Cutler.
For Imagine Entertainment
For This Machine/R.J. Cutler: