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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

finally! someone apologizes for ‘Battlefield Earth’!

J.D. Shapiro, one of the screenwriters of Battlefield Earth, has apologized for his crime: he was only looking to get laid.

It wasn’t as I intended — promise. No one sets out to make a train wreck. Actually, comparing it to a train wreck isn’t really fair to train wrecks, because people actually want to watch those.

It started, as so many of my choices do, with my Willy Wonker.

It was 1994, and I had read an article in Premiere magazine saying that the Celebrity Center, the Scientology epicenter in Los Angeles, was a great place to meet women.

I’m not sure what this says about Shapiro — does he seriously think so little of himself that he imagines that the only women who will sleep with him are the ones who honestly believe that 10-billion-year-old aliens living inside them are what’s keeping them from fame and fortune and happiness?

The behind-the-scenes tidbits Shapiro offers are priceless:

A few days after I finished the script, a very excited Travolta called, told me he “loved it,” and wanted to have dinner. At dinner, John said again how much he loved the script and called it “The ‘Schindler’s List’ of sci-fi.”

Read that again: The Schindler’s List of sci fi.

But maybe it was:

My script was very, VERY different than what ended up on the screen. My screenplay was darker, grittier and had a very compelling story with rich characters. What my screenplay didn’t have was slow motion at every turn, Dutch tilts, campy dialogue, aliens in KISS boots, and everyone wearing Bob Marley wigs.

Shapiro goes on to explain that he refused to incorporate all the changes Travolta’s people wanted, and was ultimately fired from the project.

So it seems as if we actually haven’t gotten an apology from those truly responsible for this debacle.

Still, Shapiro knows how to own a disaster:

Now, looking back at the movie with fresh eyes, I can’t help but be strangely proud of it. Because out of all the sucky movies, mine is the suckiest.

This has been your OMG Thought for the Day.



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