Heyooooo! It’s time for episode 79 of the podcast! And this one is all about the documentary Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau.
For me, it all started with this tweet:
Truth be told I didn’t read the NY Times article at all. I’m not a huge Val Kilmer fan so I wasn’t going to click anyway. But! The tweet accompanied by this article sent me down a bit of a rabbit hole.
In 1994 Richard Stanley had a few indie horror films under his belt and was beginning to garner a bit of attention for himself. He pitched a script— his adaptation of HG Wells’ The Island of Dr Moreau — to New Line Cinema and it was greenlit.
Sounds like a young director’s dream, right?
When I say everything goes down hill from there, it’s pretty much the understatement of all understatements.
New Line liked the script, the vision, the story boards so much that they decided Marlon Brando would star as Dr. Moreau. Umm. Right out of the gate that one hire is going to turn your indie film vision into something else entirely. New Line realized this and then tried to cut Stanley out of his own project.
And this is just the beginning of this ridiculous story.
Twenty years after it all began a behind-the-scenes documentary about the “making of” The Island of Dr. Moreau was put together. I’m embarrassed to say I had not been aware of any of it until the aforementioned tweet appeared on my timeline.
In this podcast we talk about the documentary, play some clips and offer our take on some of the crazy shit that happened before and during the shoot. Dave becomes obsessed with Fairuza Balk and thinks he knows which celebrity she was destined to be coupled with. You’ll have to listen to find out who that is. Good luck to both of them, I hope once they find each other they will live happily ever after.
As I mentioned earlier, I went down a bit of a rabbit hole with this one. After watching the documentary (we rented it on Youtube for 3.99) I watched Frankenheimer’s version of The Island of Dr. Moreau, I read Stanley’s original(ish) script for his vision of the movie and I purchased the kindle edition of HG Wells’ novel.
The Frankenheimer version cuts quite a bit out of the original script and! changes some key things as well. In addition to that they tame a bit of it down, probably to get the movie to a PG rating, hoping to appeal to a wider audience. The Frankenheimer movie is ok. And in all honesty, he was thrown into a bit of a shit sandwich of a situation which wasn’t his fault, forced to work with at least two egomaniacs in a jungle far from home. All this being said, he did it. He finished the movie. So good for him. For that I give it a 7.
Richard Stanley’s original script, however, is quite something. It’s very good. Darker, dirtier, gorier. Definitely R, maybe even NC17. Definitely worth a read.
I’m sorry that Val Kilmer decided to flex his super star muscles. He single-handedly halted Stanley’s career, over dinner. Dick move. Karma’s a bitch. Reap what you sow. Yada yada yada. I’m rooting for Stanley. He’s a character and deserves a second, third, whatever chance. In February he announced in a Yahoo News article that he is trying to put together an Island of Dr Moreau series. Good for him. I hope it happens. #TeamStanley
In the mean time, there’s Lost Soul. Definitely worth the watch and the rental fee from Youtube.
Also! Richard Stanley’s latest movie Color Out of Space stars Nicolas Cage. Here’s the trailer:
I’m so not a horror person. I lack the gene of “being scared is fun af.” I wish I didn’t. But since I am now firmly on Team Stanley and have forever been on Team Cage, how could I not watch it? Dave really wants to watch it too. So perhaps there will be a Color Out of Space review from us coming your way sooner than later.