Gerardmer Film Festival Award-winning Alien Apocalypse on Syfy Tues. 12/20 @ 11 PM
#1


"Humans in Chains" was a script Josh Becker wrote about 15 years ago,
from a story that he and Rob Tapert authored. Now retitled "Alien
Apocalypse," it's just about ready to become a made-for-Sci-Fi
Channel movie, starring...Bruce Campbell!

The original script has been online for several years, and I think
it's really quite good - it's at:
http://www.beckerfilms.com/HumansInChains-p1.htm

At his site, Josh said: "Bruce will star in 'Alien Apocalypse' and
co-produce. Then he'll turn right around and make 'The Man With the
Screaming Brain,' which he wrote, he'll star in, produce, and direct,
with the same crew. This is all supposed to occur in April. Knock on
wood, it all seems to be happening, too."


And..... this is from "Screaming Stoner Video," apparently a
cult/indie film
website, at http://www.baal-peor.gq.nu/fuq/ssv/ss_interv008.html


January 15, 2004

Interview with writer/director Josh Becker of Becker Films (2004)


SSV: Tell us about any current projects, what are you up to these
days?

JB: I'm just closing the deal on a TV movie for the Sci-Fi Channel,
which I wrote and will direct, called "Alien Apocalypse"
(formerly "Humans in Chains") that will be shot in April-May in
either Sofia, Bulgaria or Bucharest, Romania, since it takes place in
Oregon, USA. The reason it will be shot in eastern Europe is a
direct effect of free trade and global economics.

SSV: Being the mind behind such greats as Lunatics: A Love Story and
Thou Shalt Not Kill . . . Except, can you give us some insight into
your influences?

JB: I am a severe movie geek, I've nearly seen 4,000 films (I keep a
list), and I've wanted to be involved with the movies since I was
about nine-years-old. First I wanted to be an actor, but by the time
I was twelve I decided that I wanted to be a director and a writer.
Films that were major influences on me as kid, that I saw in the
theater, were: "The Sound of Music," "Oliver!" "Patton," "Five Easy
Pieces," "The Last Picture Show," "The Godfather," "The Godfather
Part II," "Cabaret" and "Play it Again, Sam." On TV the films that
influenced me were: "Marty," "Dead End," "The Bridge on the River
Kwai," "Becket," "Casablanca," "Mrs. Miniver," "The Big
Country," "White Heat," "How Green Was My Valley," among many others.

SSV: What are your favorite films or directors?

JB: I sort of just answered that. My favorite director is William
Wyler (for more details read the essay on my website, "An Ode William
Wyler"). I'm also very fond of: David Lean, Alfred Hitchcock, Billy
Wilder, John Ford, Fred Zinneman, Stanley Kramer, Stanley Kubrick,
early Coppola, early Scorsese, Hal Ashby, Joseph Lewis, Edgar G.
Ulmer, Sam Fuller.

SSV: I've read that you're best friends with Bruce Campbell and Sam
Raimi. Any inside scoops on a future Evil Dead film?

JB: I hope there won't be anymore. I don't think any of those guys,
particularly Sam, will bother with anymore ED movies unless his
career completely crashes, which it certainly doesn't look like it
will. But I personally felt that two was enough, and three was too
many.

SSV: Being Director of Xena: Warrior Princess in addition to several
top-notch productions. Do you have a preference towards television or
motion pictures? What are the biggest differences?

JB: I absolutely prefer movies. The big difference is, when you're
shooting something for TV you've already won, since they financed it
and will obviously now show it. Whether people watch it or not is
not my concern. If I make a movie, then people seeing it is a big
concern, and distribution is very difficult to deal with. Also, when
I make an independent movie, it's my baby, I answer to no one. In TV
I answer to many, many people.

SSV: What rewards do you find in making films?

JB: I've made good money working in TV, and I've blown it all, plus
more, making independent feature films. Making movies has only cost
me money, however the real reward is to creep into the social
consciousness; to be able to look in movie reference books and see me
and my films listed; and to potentially have an influence on other
filmmakers.

SSV: What are the biggest obstacles you encounter in directing films?

JB: Financing. If I had access to as much money as I needed, I
would have made at least 20 feature films by now.

SSV: What is your favorite filmmaking memory to date?

JB: Sorry, I don't have one. I've been shooting movies and TV shows
regularly now for over 20 years, and many, many things have occurred
during those years. The worst shoots I was ever on were the
first "Evil Dead," and the pilot TV movie "Hercules in the Maze of
the Minotaur." The best were any my films "Running Time" and "If I
Had a Hammer," as well as all of the Xena episodes I directed, which
were all terrific.

SSV: What advice do you have for other filmmakers?

JB: Learn how to write. Read a lot (book, not comic books). Study
great movies and see why the scripts are so good, and try to
understand what makes a good story. Just running around shooting
with a camera means nothing. If you haven't got a good story to
tell, you have no reason to make a movie.

==============





August  - Jack's Pack Fan # 1, Keeper of the List, 3-Time Speaker of the JoAT Fan Quote of the Week, and the only person ever to have Back 2 Back Jack and Cleo fan quotes !
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#2


"Humans in Chains" was a script Josh Becker wrote about 15 years ago,
from a story that he and Rob Tapert authored. Now retitled "Alien
Apocalypse," it's just about ready to become a made-for-Sci-Fi
Channel movie, starring...Bruce Campbell!

The original script has been online for several years, and I think
it's really quite good - it's at:
http://www.beckerfilms.com/HumansInChains-p1.htm

At his site, Josh said: "Bruce will star in 'Alien Apocalypse' and
co-produce. Then he'll turn right around and make 'The Man With the
Screaming Brain,' which he wrote, he'll star in, produce, and direct,
with the same crew. This is all supposed to occur in April. Knock on
wood, it all seems to be happening, too."


And..... this is from "Screaming Stoner Video," apparently a
cult/indie film
website, at http://www.baal-peor.gq.nu/fuq/ssv/ss_interv008.html


January 15, 2004

Interview with writer/director Josh Becker of Becker Films (2004)


SSV: Tell us about any current projects, what are you up to these
days?

JB: I'm just closing the deal on a TV movie for the Sci-Fi Channel,
which I wrote and will direct, called "Alien Apocalypse"
(formerly "Humans in Chains") that will be shot in April-May in
either Sofia, Bulgaria or Bucharest, Romania, since it takes place in
Oregon, USA. The reason it will be shot in eastern Europe is a
direct effect of free trade and global economics......


==============





August  - Jack's Pack Fan # 1, Keeper of the List, 3-Time Speaker of the JoAT Fan Quote of the Week, and the only person ever to have Back 2 Back Jack and Cleo fan quotes !
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#3
Ooooh When's it airing, August? Any clue yet? I need to know when to claim the TV. Smile
Reply
#4
:laugh: One step at a time! They haven't even signed the contracts yet! Then there's casting... location scouting... rewrites... then actual shooting, which Josh says above may be as soon as April... then post production...editing.... etc. etc.

In theory, it could be as soon as next fall....

Here's some more scoop from his site:

had to adapt the script to get it to come out to eight acts, but that wasn't very difficult..... Bruce and I have these sales agents named Creative Light that handle overseas sales, and they had already done a project with Sci-Fi Channel, and wanted to go back to them, so Bruce offered up "The Man With the Screaming Brain" and I offered up "Humans in Chains." That was two years ago. After fermenting sufficiently, like a fine wine, the deal appears to have gone. I'll get my director's cut, as usual, but they can do whatever they want to it after that. The budget is $1.5 million, and I don't know how far I can go, not that the script really goes very far, because Sci-Fi is a commercial channel. There's no discussion of a theatrical version, nor of an R-rating, although I do hope to shoot wide-screen, 2.35:1.
August  - Jack's Pack Fan # 1, Keeper of the List, 3-Time Speaker of the JoAT Fan Quote of the Week, and the only person ever to have Back 2 Back Jack and Cleo fan quotes !
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#5
More tiny little bits of info...

From Josh's site:


Sci-Fi just wanted some more aliens and more FX, which does make sense because there's a 30-page stretch without them, and on a basic, narrative level, you can't lose the other side of your drama for for a half hour.

Bruce wants a few changes on a character set-up level, which I completely agree with, too. I'll end up cutting a few scenes due to time and budget restrictions, but really, I'm not fighting the monsterization battle this time. And you can't blame Sci-Fi for the title change, even if it's a title they like, because it was my sales agent that changed it, and quite frankly, I think it helped the deal. It's now called "Alien Apocalypse," since Sci-Fi loves having the word alien in their titles (last week two of their original films were: "Alien Fury" and "Alien Lockout.")

Bruce will be playing the lead, the astronaut doctor who leads the slaves to freedom. I've offered the second-lead astronaut to Lucy Lawless, but she hasn't said yes or no yet. I've suggested a number of older actors for the president, like William Shatner or Tony Curtis, but there's no word on that yet. Sci-Fi hasn't made any casting suggestions.


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#6
More little bits and pieces, all from Josh's site:

"...I had to adapt the script to get it to come out to eight acts, but that wasn't very difficult..... Bruce and I have these sales agents named Creative Light that handle overseas sales, and they had already done a project with Sci-Fi Channel, and wanted to go back to them, so Bruce offered up "The Man With the Screaming Brain" and I offered up "Humans in Chains." That was two years ago. After fermenting sufficiently, like a fine wine, the deal appears to have gone. I'll get my director's cut, as usual, but they can do whatever they want to it after that. The budget is $1.5 million, and I don't know how far I can go, not that the script really goes very far, because Sci-Fi is a commercial channel. There's no discussion of a theatrical version, nor of an R-rating, although I do hope to shoot wide-screen, 2.35:1."

......

"Sci-Fi just wanted some more aliens and more FX, which does make sense because there's a 30-page stretch without them, and on a basic, narrative level, you can't lose the other side of your drama for for a half hour.

Bruce wants a few changes on a character set-up level, which I completely agree with, too. I'll end up cutting a few scenes due to time and budget restrictions, but really, I'm not fighting the monsterization battle this time. And you can't blame Sci-Fi for the title change, even if it's a title they like, because it was my sales agent that changed it, and quite frankly, I think it helped the deal. It's now called "Alien Apocalypse," since Sci-Fi loves having the word alien in their titles (last week two of their original films were: "Alien Fury" and "Alien Lockout.")

Bruce will be playing the lead, the astronaut doctor who leads the slaves to freedom. I've offered the second-lead astronaut to Lucy Lawless, but she hasn't said yes or no yet. I've suggested a number of older actors for the president, like William Shatner or Tony Curtis, but there's no word on that yet. Sci-Fi hasn't made any casting suggestions."




August  - Jack's Pack Fan # 1, Keeper of the List, 3-Time Speaker of the JoAT Fan Quote of the Week, and the only person ever to have Back 2 Back Jack and Cleo fan quotes !
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#7
Again, from Josh's site:

Quote:I'm very busily storyboarding the entire film right now. I've already boarded all of the FX scenes. So far I've drawn over 350 drawings, and I've probably got another 300 to go. ....I read the scene several times, then think, "What would be the easiest way to shoot this?" Meaning, can this scene be covered in one shot? If not, then what other shots do I need to convey the sense of the scene?

With most higher-budget feature films, where you have between 45-100 days of shooting, you can literally cover the **** out of a scene, shooting it from a hundred different angles (like Spielberg does now), but I think that's far from the best way to shoot a scene. In TV, where a big part of the director's job is to be the expediter, it's very important to have figured out the simplest way to shoot the scene, which frequently gives the actors the most freedom, and gives you the most freshness and spontaneity. If you keep shooting a scene over and over from different angles, you will assuredly kill the energy of the scene. So, shooting simply is actually a very good thing, I think.
August  - Jack's Pack Fan # 1, Keeper of the List, 3-Time Speaker of the JoAT Fan Quote of the Week, and the only person ever to have Back 2 Back Jack and Cleo fan quotes !
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#8
Again, from Josh's site:

It will be a mixture of CGI and practical FX, but mainly CGI. There really isn't any other decent way to go. Guys in suits always look like crap, and CGI will actually work better for this than stop-motion would have. The design for the aliens is going quite well, and I think they should be cool.

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#9
You heard it here first. Well, OK, second, 'cause Josh posted it on his site, in response to a question that I asked.

So, unless things change, which they easily could, my main cast will be: Bruce Campbell, Renee O'Conner, and Lee Majors as the former president. Sounds like a good cast to me.

Bruce and Renee - together at last!


:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:
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#10


Assorted comments from Josh at his site, in response to various questions about "Alien Apocalypse" -

On Lighting:

- I've got a very experienced DP, David Worth, who shot two films for Clint Eastwood ("Every Which Way But Loose" and "Bronco Billy") among many other films and sounds like he really knows what he's doing, so I'll leave the lighting to him. There will certainly be a few scenes where less will not be more, more will be more.


On Rehearsing:

- I like rehearsal, but I won't get any on this. Generally there is no rehearsal in TV, the schedule is too fast and the actors don't arrive until it's time to shoot.


On Pre-Production for the Sci-Fi Channel (and no Lee Majors Confusedad: ) :

- SciFi doesn't actually produce many of their films, they sub-contract them out, as they've done in this case. There are no rules for prep, and I don't think any of these people have ever seen a director storyboard a film before. The last director they worked with, who apparently didn't do a very good job, didn't even make a shot list, which wouldn't have been tolerated on Herc or Xena. Most directors do a shot list, they don't bother to storyboard. The contract makes absolutely no reference to how I will direct the film, it's just the deal I've made. I don't even know who I'll be getting to play all of the secondary roles, let alone the creatures, and the practical effects guys are too busy building the full-size alien to make me little ones. Oh, and Lee Majors can't do it.

On Preparing For An Overseas Shoot:

I do all the prep work that is humanly possible for me to do, like in this case I storyboarded the entire film -- every single shot. Now I have a solid plan for every scene, I know which effects are CGI and which are practical, and which are both, and I have a very specific, strong sense of what's needed in every scene. I then got my storyboards to everybody in the crew (that's been hired) about a month ago, so nobody can pretend they don't know what I want. If I know for a fact that I am more prepared than anyone else, and I have a visual schematic that can be understood in any language, I'm ready. And if I'm ready, then I can't get too frazzled. Besides, most of the department heads are American.

The camera equipment comes in from Rome. Most of the department heads are American, like the Executive producer, the writer/director, the line producer, the production designer, the 2nd unit director, the 1st AD, and everyone else will be hired there.

We are supposed to begin pre-production in Bulgaria in two weeks, then start shooting three weeks later, like May 9.....Creative Light, who are my sales agents, set up the deal, but are not actively producing.
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#11
Some more bits.....

Quote:
I've offered up many names to potentially play the former president, such as Tony Curtis, William Shatner, Hal Holbrook, and James Whitmore, among others, but it's entirely up to the executive producer. The DP is part of the executive producer's regular crew -- as is the line producer, the production designer, and the editor -- and he's already shot four films in Bulgaria, so he clearly knows the ropes there.

....

They've budgeted eighteen days to shoot the film. If I bring it in in eighteen days, without going into overtime very much, it will be on budget. The line producer and a the 1st assistant director's main jobs are to make sure we stay on time and on budget.
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#12
I've started a very bare-bones page for info about the film, almost all of which is just the stuff I've quoted from Josh above. It's at http://www.geocities.com/xhlist/alien.apocalypse.html
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#13
If his original plans remained the same, director Becker is heading to Bulgaria even as we speak, and shooting starts May 19th. With an 18-day shooting schedule, that means it will finish on or around June 6th. Sounds awfully tight, but if Xena shot an hour-long episode (less commercials) in 7-8 days, then a 2 hour movie (less Sci-Fi Channel commercials, meaning it's about 25 minutes :tongue: :laugh: ok, ok - an hour and a half) in 18 days should be do-able. Just barely. Smile

Some names he's suggested to the producers to replace Majors: Tony Curtis, William Shatner, Hal Holbrook, and James Whitmore.
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#14
Well, according to his site, Josh is indeed in Bulgaria, scouting locations, and wouldn't you know it? Guess what's the common fast food you get on the highway there? Yep, McDonald's! They're *every*where! Bruce joins him in a few days, and they start shooting in about 3 weeks. No word on who will play the ex-President yet. Everyone else (and that's about 10 speaking characters) will be cast locally; Josh is anticipating a lot of post-production dubbing, unless he lucks into a bunch of bi-lingual Bulgarian actors, or Americans-in-exile.
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#15
In the meantime, shooting is officially under way in Bulgaria for "Alien Apocalypse," and it's like a mini-Ren Pics reunion: Josh Becker directing, Gary Jones doing 2nd unit and "practical" special effects (i.e. non-cgi-monsters - he was 2nd unit director on Xena's first season, and directed several XWP and HTLJ episodes too) Joseph LoDuca doing music, and Renee O'Connor as the female lead. See http://www.geocities.com/xhlist/alien.apocalypse.html for updates. :bg:
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#16
Turns out they're going for a veteran character actor for the ex-president, not a big "name." Which I think is fine, since it's not a big role at all, and this way, the focus stays on Bruce and Renee. Demsky will be played by a guy named Peter Jason who has been in over 140 films and tv series in the last 35 years. I've seen at least 17 of the movies he's been in, but he's always played supporting roles, so I don't recall him at all. He's been in everything from Gunsmoke and Land of the Giants to Nash Bridges and Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
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#17
A cool comment from Josh:

Quote:Bruce and Renee are making this film a helluva lot easier for me, let me tell you. Bruce gets in there and knocks off 8 pages of speeches like they're nothing. He gets better and better as he gets older, like William Holden.....

Let me tell you, Renee looks great in her NASA space suit, and she's just as sweet and wonderful as ever. I shot with her for the first time yesterday and we had a terrific time. I know she had a baby, but you certainly wouldn't be able to tell for her figure. It's very amusing hearing her do a Texas twang, which I asked for for the part.
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#18
A cool comment from Josh:



Quote:Bruce and Renee are making this film a helluva lot easier for me, let me tell you. Bruce gets in there and knocks off 8 pages of speeches like they're nothing. He gets better and better as he gets older, like William Holden.....

Let me tell you, Renee looks great in her NASA space suit, and she's just as sweet and wonderful as ever. I shot with her for the first time yesterday and we had a terrific time. I know she had a baby, but you certainly wouldn't be able to tell for her figure. It's very amusing hearing her do a Texas twang, which I asked for for the part.
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#19
Check out some pics of Bruce, Josh, and the aliens on the set at Josh's site.
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#20
Quote:Originally posted by ladyDonna
I'm just glad this movie isn't featuring any cranium-devouring bugs, that's all.


:bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

Actually, it does!!!!!!!!!! They just devour from the outside, not the inside! :tongue:

Check out some pics of Bruce, Josh, and the aliens on the set at Josh's site.
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