Premium network EPIX(R) 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 notoriety that would stretch far beyond the caper. What followed Murf’s meteoric rise is a spiraling tale of an 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(R)-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(R), and he is the recipient of two Emmys(R), 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 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).