Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau
Monday, November 3, 2014
If Apocalypse Now hadn’t already established that going into the jungle with Marlon Brando to make a movie is a bad idea, this off-the-charts outrageous story of the dysfunctional production of the 1996 horror-movie remake of The Island of Dr. Moreau settles things. Here’s the recipe for how not to make a movie about a tropical island where a mad scientist creates half-human half animal mutants: take one visionary, decidedly weird, and in-over-his-head South African filmmaker (Richard Stanley), one tyrannical Hollywood burn-out replacement director (John Frankenheimer), one egomaniacal star (Val Kilmer), one 300-pound certified acting genius (Brando), then toss in a crew losing their minds, stir slowly, and voilà: an epic cinematic travesty for the ages. There’s hilarious first-hand testimony from cast members Fairuza Balk, Marco Hofschneider, and Rob Morrow plus assorted salty Australian production personnel, but with Frankenheimer and Brando dead and Kilmer not returning phone calls, the true star of the film is Richard Stanley himself, who tells all with admirable composure. Folks, you can’t make this stuff up.