Apocalypse on the Set: Nine Disastrous Film Productions
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The book starts with Pulgasari--a North Korean Godzilla clone dreamed up by Kim Jong-Il and created by a kidnapped Korean director, with a budget of millions and a staff of seven hundred fed on truckloads of pheasants, wild geese, and deer.
The stories behind the other eight films, from The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and The Twilight Zone: The Movie to Apocalypse Now and The Crow, are just as astounding and gripping--this is a book film fans will devour.
These bizarre, often hilarious cinematic endeavors confirm that truth is stranger than fiction, reality more volatile than narratives, and fate more improbable than plots.
beginning and the end of the United Artists studio. In an examination of the history of United Artists, author Tino Balio summarized the decisive shift in strategy that put greater power into the hands of the talent. Balio explained, “To keep top producers and directors in tow, the majors formed semi-autonomous production units that offered the lure of creative authority in addition to a share of the profits.”15 The privilege of sharing in the profits of a picture could translate into big
Gilliam told his stories with the agility and dexterity of a marionette puppeteer. Gilliam’s feature directorial debut came with Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), codirected by Terry Jones. Just six years later, Time Bandits was released, and Gilliam enjoyed enormous success. “For a period there I was hot. I had suddenly been elevated to a hot director.”9 Though many offers were made, he had no interest in the Hollywood scripts that came to his attention. Instead he set his sights on a film
too tempting for Milius to ignore. “That was like waving a red flag in front of a young bull, you know. That was the worst thing he could say. I immediately set out to make Heart of Darkness.”10 He had read Conrad’s work many years earlier, when he was seventeen, and he insisted that he would not go back and reread it because he didn’t want to spoil his initial impressions and his subsequent memories of the story. The original title of Milius’s screenplay was The Psychedelic Soldier, which would
her. She died a few weeks later. For Herzog, the brutal cold of his long walk was likely a distant, perhaps even nostalgic, memory as he worked under the hot sun of the Amazon jungle. The water level dropped toward the end of the rainy season, causing the motor on the back of the boat to lift partially out of the water, leaving it with insufficient force to move the boat. As production shrugged forward, Herzog seemed to become increasingly distant from the organized world of production schedules
is where the lethal mistake would occur. In addition to converting real bullets into dummies, the crew members were also converting them into blanks. A blank can be a dangerous device because it includes an explosive propellant. To make a blank, the explosive in the bullet is replaced with black powder to provide an authentic-looking flash when fired. The amount of force in the blank depends on how much black powder it contains; a blank can be designated as a “quarter-load,” “half-load” or