The Night Thread of Doctor Moreau (11/22)

Welcome to the Island of Doctor Moreau. Here is where Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer try to out-chew the scenery, extras are stuck on long shoots in the middle of a remote jungle wearing animal masks, and David Thewlis and Faizura Balk are sorta lost as the leads.

The film is based on HG Wells’ novel about a mad scientist turning animals into humans. Brando may have been getting into his character’s role a bit too deeply… or he may just have been the behind the scenes pain in the neck he always was.

Word is that Marlon Brando himself was basically sabotaging the production. Hiring the world’s smallest man (Nelson de la Rosa) because it was amusing and dressing him up as a tiny version of himself. Concocting bizarre situations like slathering on white make-up. I mean… they ended up being the most memorable parts of the film so maybe he was on to something.

Today is also the birthday of original director Richard Stanley, who was fired after a few days into shooting and replaced with John Frankenheimer. According to the behind the scenes documentary Lost Souls, Stanley never left after he was fired. He camped in the woods just outside the film shoot. Some of the extras —- who were getting fed up with all the delays and were stuck in the middle of nowhere away from family while the new director was trying to figure things out and manage the raging egos around him —- found him and decided to sneak him onto the film for fun. They put him in an animal costume and had him join the other extras.

The film is not very good. It drags often. They could never figure out if they wanted to do a period piece or update it to modern times.

Still… Marlon Brando in that bizarre mumu.