J.D. Shapiro’s treatment became the film that was voted the Worst Movie of the Decade at the recent Golden Raspberry Awards, and now the writer has spoken of his shame in an open letter in the New York Post.
The screenwriter states, “Let me start by apologizing to anyone who went to see Battlefield Earth. 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.”
Shapiro goes on to explain he met top Church of Scientologist official Karen Hollander at an event and she invited him to turn the religion’s founder L. Ron Hubbard’s books into movies. Shortly afterwards, he met with Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston – both Scientologists.
After reluctantly studying Scientology to research Hubbard’s teachings, the screenwriter agreed to “come up with a pitch to take to studios”.
Shapiro explains, “I met with Mike Marcus, the president of MGM, and pitched him my take. He loved it, and the next day negotiations went under way (sic). 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.
“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.”
He concludes, “I penned the suckiest movie ever – sorry.”