on set tourmoil
I've recieved another eMail from the "Battle
Scarred Crew Member". This time he/she details
just what went on under the hot Jordanian Sun between
Kilmer and Sizemore.
this, though, this could all be fake. Use your own
judegement adn be sure not to jump to conclusions.
If this series of eMails are true, then it's got
to be one of the funniest things that I've ever
shot two week's worth of principal photography in
Jordan, out in the desert. That was where the feud
between Sizemore and Kilmer started. Tom's contract
called for this crazy four-in-one excercise machine
to be in his hotel room, but when we arrived in
Jordan there weren't any of those machines in the
country, so they had one shipped in from England.
When it arrived in a HUGE crate, they realized that
they couldn't get it into his hotel room. So they
rented a crane to lift the machine through a window
into his room. Now most of us who have worked in
the business for a while are no strangers to ridiculous
demands from actors so Sizemore's wishes didn't
faze us, but when word got to Kilmer, who is quite
well known as a prima donna, he was really pissed.
His words were something like "I can't believe
what that fat son of a bitch is putting this production
Personally, I think he was just
angry that he could be outdone. On set the two were
amicable enough with each other, mostly commiserating
about how horrible an experience it was to be wearing
the spacesuits in the hot Jordanian sun. It was
extremely hot- I think it got up to 120 degrees
fahrenheit a few days. Kilmer had his own video
crew on set taping the goings-on every day, and
the crew captured some choice stuff. Whether it
ends up on the cutting room floor or actually is
included in this behind-the-scenes, remains to be
For example... Sizemore, the portliest
of the actors in spacesuits-passed out from heat
exhaustion or fatigue several times. (The veracity
of these incidents was in question from nearly everyone
on set. Many felt that he was just lazy and wanted
an early exit from his work day.) Kilmer made sure
that his video crew was there to film one of these
episodes, going so far as to push the doctors treating
Sizemore out of the way to get their shot.
Kilmer had no love loss with the
director, a young Aussie named Anthony Hoffman,
for whom 'Red Planet' was a directorial debut. One
day while reclining in the tent that was built specifically
for the actors to rest in while not shooting, all
the actors were half-heartedly laughing at what
a ridiculous situation they were in-half-way around
the world in spacesuits that were uncomfortable
and excrutiatingly hot, surrounded by a primarily
Australian crew that was constantly bickering with
the local Bedouins who would constantly claim ownership
of the land on which we were shooting- Kilmer launched
into a joke about Anthony, finishing by saying,
"This is the last time I work with amateurs.
What a joke."
The rift between them grew as
the production continued. Kilmer and Sizemore in
particular would arrive to set late, the Jordanian
crew members sent to bring them to set were often
chastised for being so late, but it was really the
actors who would drag their feet as long as possible
before leaving the hotel. Anthony was really powerless
to do anything about it, at risk of having Kilmer
have him fired as he did with original 'Island of
Dr. Moreau' director Richard Stanley.
After the crew moved to Australia,
things worsened. Kilmer and Sizemore who had been
at least cordial on set in Jordan now refused to
appear on camera together. I don't know the specifics
of why, but one of the producers said, "get
a double ready for Tom, Val won't come out of his
trailer if Tom is on the set."
Val began throwing more and more
frequent tantrums, which I think egged Tom on. Tom
decided that his character, who is killed by a sea
of worm like creatures called 'nematodes', should
not die as the script suggests, but should survive
with Kilmer's character. So he refused to film his
death scene. I believe the producers planned to
have his death be entirely CG, with a double filmed
for reference. Script pages began getting tossed
at this point.
Kilmer began making more and more
infrequent appearances on set, several times refusing
to come to set at all. Day to day all that Anthony
could do was look at the remaining shot list and
see what was possible to shoot, and proceed from
There was increasing hostility
and tension on the set, nerves were definitely frazzled
and it translated from cast to crew. The prop master
got into it with a producer, and producer ended
up trying to strangle- actually physically strangle
the guy. Several PA's had to pull him off and seperate
the two men.
One day Anthony was nowhere to
be found as they were nearly ready to shoot, and
the PA that found him in his trailer told me that
when he entered the trailer Anthony was lying naked
on the floor in the fetal position.
By this point the news of Sizemore
and Kilmer's mutual dislike had made the Australian
tabloids, and the rumor about the restraining order-
which was untrue began to circulate. The two were
now completely seperated, one would only be called
to set if the other was known not to be there. A
great deal of their scenes together were filmed
looking over the shoulders of a photo double. And
Kilmer refused to say any of the other characters'
names for some reason- I can't figure that one out,
but he would only say things like- "Hey you,"
or "Get him for me" when addressing someone
else on camera.
So the recent news of the release
date being pushed back is no surprise to me, when
I returned home and saw how far behind the production
was I knew they'd never make their release date.
I knew what shape the production was in when the
local Jordanians who had helped on both this movie
and 'Mission to Mars'
(which also filmed in Jordan,) told us how much
more organized that production had been. If the
bedouins who live in the desert and survive off
their livestock could see the difference, then I
knew 'Red Planet' was in trouble.
The wrap party for 'Red Planet'
was really depressing- most everyone was so exhausted
they didn't want to be there, and nearly everyone
got blazing drunk. I'm leaving out many details-
I could go on but I've given you some of the highlights.
(Lowlights?) In any case- Red Planet is destined
to be sheer cinematic crap, despite what I'm sure
will be remarkable visual effects. And one thing
I heard that put a big smile on my face came from
a Marlon Brando, who while working on 'Island of
Dr. Moreau' told Kilmer, "You are confusing
your talent with the size of your paycheck."
So there you go. Enjoy.
battle scarred crew member "
about these eMails