Sunday, March 11, 2pm – Non-Fiction
Ben Taylor author of Apocalypse on the Set: Nine Disastrous Film Productions ($27.95 Overlook Press)
Describes the stories behind eight of the most calamitous movie productions in history, including The Adventures of Baron Munchauseen, The Twilight Zone: The Movie:, Apocalypse Now and Pulgasari, a North Korean monster movie conjured up by Kim Jong-Il and a kidnapped director.
With sky-high budgets and oversize egos, almost any film production has the potential for disaster. But some turn into full-fledged nightmares.
Take Pulgasari, a North Korean Godzilla clone dreamed up by Kim Jong II and created by a kidnapped South Korean director, with a budget of millions and a staff of seven hundred fed on truckloads of pheasants, wild geese, and deer. Or consider the interminable jungle shoot of Apocalypse Now, during which the cast and crew were slowly driven as mad as Colonel Kurtz. Some films even become an albatross their directors can never shake off, as with Michael Cimino and Heaven’s Gate. Still others turn into terrible tragedies like those that befell Twilight Zone: The Movie and The Crow, each losing a leading actor to a freak, yet preventable, accident.
Such bizarre production mishaps often prove more interesting than the films that came out of them. In Apocalypse on the Set, Ben Taylor uses these stories and more to offer a rare glimpse behind the curtain of Hollywood filmmaking.
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.
BEN TAYLOR is a contributing writer for DamnInteresting.com, a weekly online publication with 400,000 visitors a month, and contributed to their volume, Alien Hand Syndrome. He lives outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.