Today, in Hollywood: Die Hard 5 has a director but no catchy subtitle, NASA preemptively distances itself from the goofiness of Apollo 18, and George Lucas didn't like people tweaking films for no reason back in 1988.
- Die Hard 5 will be directed by John Moore, who did the remakes of The Omen and Flight of the Phoenix. Bruce Willis will be back, but we cannot begin to formulate an opinion on the project until we know the project's subtitle. Die Harder, Die Hard With A Vengeance and Live Free or Die Hard are all out, and Die Hard 5: Die Hardest would just be cheating. For what it's worth, we think Die Hard 5: A Die Hard History of the United States has a nice sound to it. Also: Die Hard 5: Die Hard Times. Bruce Willis could be trapped in the offices of a struggling metropolitan newspaper. He could makes jokes about Twitter and people's ringtones. Topical, and it's practically writing itself. [The Hollywood Reporter]
- First the bad news: the unnecessary remake of the 1984 Robert Zemeckis's swashbuckler/buddy picture/gooey love story Romancing the Stone is happening, as a pilot for a potential series at NBC. Now the good: nowhere in the early stories about the project is Katherine Heigl mentioned as a candidate to play the reluctant romance novelist Kathleen Turner portrayed in the original, as was rumored last week. That's reason for optimism, or at least less wariness. [The Hollywood Reporter]
- NASA is having second thoughts about its initial support for Apollo 18, a late-summer, low-budget action movie about a fictional moon mission that goes to hell, either because of a monster or the astronauts cracking up (the trailer is unclear). "Apollo 18 is not a documentary," Bert Ulrich, NASA's liaison for multimedia, film and television collaborations, told the Los Angeles Times. "The film is a work of fiction, and we always knew that. We were minimally involved with this picture. We never even saw a rough cut. The idea of portraying the Apollo 18 mission as authentic is simply a marketing ploy. Perhaps a bit of a Blair Witch Project strategy to generate hype." Back in 2000, NASA refused to provide assistance for the flop Red Planet. Ulrich explained the Red Planet decision to the paper:.
"The science was just so off the wall that eventually we felt, 'You guys go ahead and make your movie.' If there's something that's going to be so misleading to the public that we don't want to participate, then we'll say no. The big thing is, we want to make sure we're not misleading the public completely. So if all of a sudden there's a change in what was shot or a change in the storyboard, they're supposed to inform us."
- Bizarrely, apparently Michael Bay's Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon had NASA's blessing and got to film inside the Kennedy Space Center, even though the movie is built on the premise that the entire space race was a ruse to capture an alien spacecraft that was beached on the moon. Apollo 18 opens Friday. [Los Angeles Times]
- If George Lucas were the protagonist of a Twilight Zone episode about a man reconnecting with his lost sense of childlike wonder, the drubbing he endured yesterday for adding audio of Darth Vader screaming "NOOOO" as he tosses Emperor Palpatine into the abyss of the Death Star to the Blu-Ray edition of Return of the Jedi would be the prologue. Then Rod Serling would say his piece and Lucas would be greeted by the 18-year-old version of himself, who would teach the filmmaker a valuable lesson about leaving well enough alone and not falling in love with technology at the expense of character, heart, and a semi-cohesive plot. Since this isn't a Twilight Zone, we'll have to settle for the filmmaker's testimony before Congress in 1988, in which he said, "People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians, and if the laws of the United States continue to condone this behavior, history will surely classify us as a barbaric society." He was referring to the colorization of old movies, but having Darth Vader yell "NOOOO" for no reason would seem to qualify as "an exercise of power." Still, we don't agree with '88 Lucas when he says people who tinker with an artist's work are "egotistical gangsters." It's just that 2011 Lucas doesn't have much else to do. [Saving Star Wars via Movieline]