MGM+ Announces Premiere Date for Murf the Surf, the True-Crime Docuseries From Imagine Documentaries and R.J. Cutler’s This Machine
Four-part docuseries, based on the infamous jewel thief Jack Roland Murphy, is written and directed by two-time Emmy winner R.J. Cutler (Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry, BELUSHI, The War Room) and executive produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard and will premiere on January 15, 2023
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NEW YORK, NY–Wednesday, December 7–Premium linear channel and streaming service MGM+ today announced that Murf the Surf: Jewels, Jesus, and Mayhem in the USA will premiere on January 15, 2023, to coincide with the official launch of MGM+. A new true-crime four-part docuseries from Imagine Documentaries and R.J. Cutler’s This Machine (a part of Sony Pictures Television), the series pulls back the curtain on America’s most infamous jewel thief, Jack Roland Murphy.
The docuseries is directed by Emmy winner R.J. Cutler and executive produced by Cutler and his long time producing partner Trevor Smith (Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry, BELUSHI) along with Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind, American Gangster), Ron Howard (Thirteen Lives, Apollo 13), Justin Wilkes (Louis Armstrong’s Black and Blues, Light & Magic, MARS), and Sara Bernstein (We Feed People, Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel) for Imagine and Elise Pearlstein (American Factory, Food, Inc.) for This Machine.
In October 2019, the New York 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. Murf the Surf will be internationally distributed by MGM.
About R.J. Cutler
R.J. Cutler is an award-winning director and producer who has made some of the most significant documentary films and television series of the past quarter century including the Oscar-nominated The War Room, Emmy- nominated A Perfect Candidate, Sundance Award-winning The September Issue, Peabody Award-winning Listen to Me Marlon, and The World According to Dick Cheney. His most recent work includes the critically acclaimed projects Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry, a cinema verité coming of age story of the singer-songwriter; BELUSHI, about the too-short life of once in a generation talent John Belushi told through previously unheard audiotapes; and the docuseries “Dear…” which profiled icons such as Spike Lee, Gloria Steinem, and Misty Copeland, telling their stories through the eyes of those who have been most affected by their work.
Cutler is also the founder of This Machine, a production company focused on developing non-scripted projects for film and television.
Upcoming feature projects for Cutler include documentaries Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: The Final Elton John Performances and the Years That Made His Legend (Disney+) and an Untitled Martha Stewart Documentary (Netflix), both of which Cutler is directing and producing. He is also producing The Devil You Know (HBO) inspired by New York Times columnist Charles Blow’s book.
On the television side, Cutler is directing and producing “Big Vape” (Netflix), a series that will chronicle the rise of E-cigarette company Juul, that This Machine is partnering with Amblin to produce. In addition, the company has other yet to be announced projects for Amazon, Showtime, and CNN.
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. Imagine Documentaries has been recognized as a prolific and premiere documentary storyteller, working with the most visionary filmmakers in the industry and garnering multiple Emmy award nominations and wins for its’ vast production slate. Recent releases include Sacha Jenkin’s Louis “Armstrong’s Black & Blues” (AppleTV+); Amy Poehler’s documentary feature directing debut and Emmy-winning “Lucy and Desi”; Ron Howard’s Emmy-nominated documentary feature film “We Feed People” (National Geographic Films); “Light & Magic” from Lawrence Kasdan (Disney+); the Rory Kennedy’s “Downfall: The Case Against Boeing”, (Netflix); “Julia”, directed by Julie Cohen and Betsy West (Sony Pictures Classic); and Joe Berlinger’s “Crime Scene” anthology series – The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel, The Times Square Killer, and The Texas Killing Fields, all of which reached the top #5 globally on Netflix.
Upcoming productions include the Martin Scorsese directed feature “Personality Crisis: One Night Only” (Showtime); “The Volcano: Rescue from Whakaari” (Netflix) from Rory Kennedy; “The Supermodels”, a docuseries featuring the iconic careers of Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington (AppleTV+); “The Dynasty”, a new documentary event series about the New England Patriots; a Ron Howard directed feature about Jim Henson (Disney+); a documentary feature about pioneering author Judy Blume from Davina Pardo and Leah Wolchock (Amazon); and “David Blaine’s Beyond Belief” (NatGeo/Disney+).
About This Machine
This Machine was founded in Los Angeles and New York City 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 storytelling in all media. This Machine’s team includes Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning producer and executive Elise Pearlstein, Cutler’s long-time producing partner Trevor Smith and our development team of Margaret Yen and Sally Rosen Phillips.
The company is behind the Academy Award shortlisted Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry, the multi-award winning BELUSHI, and the critically acclaimed docuseries “Dear…” which recently aired its second season on Apple TV+. They are also behind the recently released “Supreme Models” (Black Voices Fund/Youtube Originals) a series that pays tribute to the Black women who broke down barriers and transformed the fashion and beauty industries. Upcoming projects for This Machine include feature documentaries Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: The Final Elton John Performances And the Years That Made His Legend (Disney+), the Untitled Martha Stewart Documentary (Netflix), The Devil You Know (HBO), which is inspired by New York Times columnist Charles Blow’s bestselling book and upcoming multi-part documentary series include “Big Vape” (Netflix), which chronicles the rise and fall the of E-cigarette company Juul. In addition, the company has other yet to be announced projects for Amazon, Showtime, and CNN. This Machine’s team has decades of experience creating the highest quality and most popular non-fiction films and series as well as scripted series, feature films, and podcasts.
MGM+ is a premium linear channel and streaming service delivering a broad lineup of quality original series and docuseries, the latest movie releases, and classic film franchises—all available in the U.S. on TV, on-demand, online, and across devices. MGM+ is a destination for original premium content, with Original series including sci-fi horror series FROM; Emmy-winning series Godfather of Harlem; the Western adventure Billy the Kid; and cinematic dramatic series War of the Worlds, Rogue Heroes, and Belgravia. The network is also the home of acclaimed docuseries, including Emmy-nominated Laurel Canyon, Helter Skelter, Slow Burn, My Life as a Rolling Stone, NFL Icons, and Blumhouse’s Compendium of Horror. Premium movies are also available, including No Time to Die, House of Gucci, Cyrano, and Licorice Pizza.
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