Armageddon (1998) Poster



Director Michael Bay had the actors write their list of demands on the papers that Bruce Willis read from.
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Regarding the film's premise, Ben Affleck asked director Michael Bay, "Wouldn't it be easier for NASA to train astronauts how to drill rather than training drillers to be astronauts?" Bay told Affleck to shut up.
NASA shows this film during their management training program. New managers are given the task of trying to spot as many errors as possible. At least 168 have been found.
This was the first movie in which the cast was allowed to use genuine NASA spacesuits. The cast are the only civilians to ever wear NASA spacesuits, which cost over three million dollars each.
Because of the patriotic nature of the script and the success of using Top Gun (1986) as recruitment material, the producers persuaded NASA to allow director Michael Bay and company to shoot in the normally restricted space agency. This included the neutral buoyancy lab, a 65-million-gallon, 40-foot-deep pool used to train astronauts for weightlessness and the use of two ten-million-dollar space suits. The crew was also allowed to shoot in the historic launch pad that went out of service after the Apollo 1 disaster, and parts of the movie were filmed at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
The film crew was also allowed to shoot sequences at the top of a real launch pad with an actual space shuttle docked to it. The only condition was that they not step into the shuttle itself. Ben Affleck admitted to stepping inside the orbiter for a brief moment before NASA technicians ordered him out of the spacecraft.
Rockhound's line about sitting on a million pounds of fuel in a rocket built by the lowest bidder is a variation of an actual radio transmission by Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard, just prior to lift-off.
Steve Buscemi claimed that the role of Rockhound was pitched to him as a heroic geologist, which he eagerly accepted, wanting a change from the lowlifes he had been typecast as. He noted that after he had been cast in the role, Rockhound's sleazy characteristics were written into the script.
The shuttle launches were filmed for real. Disney (Touchstone Pictures) was allowed to put cameras (about 16 of them) all over the place. The camera on the launch pad was shaken so hard (25G) that all the screws fell out of the lens and it had to be returned to Panavision in a box of pieces (which they put back together).
Bruce Willis has said that he did not care for Michael Bay's directing style and he refuses to work with him again.
Despite playing one of the principal characters, Michael Clarke Duncan's name does not appear in the opening credits.
Billy Bob Thornton has admitted to doing this film for the money and often jokes about acting in it. He has, however, called it "not THAT bad".
When asked why he did this film, Steve Buscemi replied, "I wanted a bigger house".
During the filming of this movie, the cast and crew worked around 19 billion dollars worth of equipment, including a real oil rig and real space shuttle.
Bruce Willis came to the film after he decided a comedy he was filming called "Broadway Brawler" could not be salvaged and sought a way to exit the project. Disney's then-head Joe Roth worked out a deal where Willis would star in Armageddon and two future films for the studio, and in exchange Disney would absorb the failed project's costs as an advance against his initial salary. The two films Willis later made under this deal were The Sixth Sense (1999) and Unbreakable (2000).
According to the Criterion Collection commentary, many of the errors found in the film were acknowledged by the director and known even during filming/production and were left in deliberately (such as fire in space). Michael Bay said, "It's a movie and not many people know about it", so they were kept in for entertainment value.
Michael Clarke Duncan improvised the line, "Come and get Papa Bear!". This later became one of the actor's nicknames.
Michael Bay thinks Armageddon is his worst film. "I will apologize for Armageddon, because we had to do the whole movie in 16 weeks," he told The Miami Herald in 2013. "It was a massive undertaking. That was not fair to the movie. I would redo the entire third act if I could."
Billy Bob Thornton told Michael Bay that his backstory for Truman was that he was on track to join NASA as an astronaut but suffered crippling nerve damage as a young man and was only able to serve as an administrator. Bay loved the idea and had a scene written that refers to this by showing a metal brace on Truman's leg.
By the time of its release, this was the Walt Disney Company's highest-grossing live-action film (without adjustment for inflation).
The convenient existence of a fault plane passing right through the asteroid is not unrealistic. Several asteroids are now believed to be "contact binaries", each apparently consisting of two separate lumps of rock that are just sitting on each other.
In the movie trailers the shuttles that are launching are the real space shuttles, not the ones that appear in the movie.
Liv Tyler turned down the role of Grace Stamper twice before finally accepting.
Critics jumped on the line from Truman where he told the President that the asteroid was "the size of Texas" and said it was ridiculous. However, those critics were embarrassed when fans of the film in the Washington, D.C. area pointed out that the National Air and Space Museum contained an exhibit about the history of asteroids which included a visual from one that hit the Earth millions of years ago--and was roughly the size of the modern state of Texas.
The original script did not include the romantic subplot between A.J. and Grace, and instead had more emphasis on Truman. It was added after the success of Titanic (1997) with teenage girls. Most of the romantic scenes were written by Scott Rosenberg and were filmed late in production.
Director Michael Bay said in a magazine interview that the solution in the movie for dealing with the asteroid was very clever but not realistic, but that one idea for countering the threat was in line with actual NASA research (anti-gravity systems). He also said that a problem with a film like this was that it would make Americans erroneously think that if a situation like the movie actually occurred then there was anything that could be done about it.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was considered for the role of Harry Stamper.
Scott Rosenberg, Robert Towne, and Ann Biderman all did uncredited work on the screenplay. J.J. Abrams original contribution was also going to be uncredited, but Michael Bay liked it so much that Abrams was brought back for additional dialogue work and ended up sharing a Story credit with Shane Salerno.
Stanley Anderson, who plays the U.S. President, also plays the U.S. President in the movie The Rock (1996).
There is a scene where the meteors are raining down on New York with a short cut to the World Trade Center with a fiery hole punched through the center of one tower and a chunk missing at the top of the other tower. This looks very much like the real images from the terrorist plane strike on the WTC on 9/11/01, 3 years after the film was made. Statistically speaking, this is the most likely distribution of two strikes on a pair of towers (by meteors, planes, or otherwise).
The film opened on Liv Tyler's 21st birthday.
On the Criterion Collection DVD, then Disney Chairman Michael Eisner makes a surprise appearance on the space shuttle set to jokingly tell Bruce Willis that he has been fired and replaced with Kevin Costner.
The famous rock in the logo of Touchstone Pictures (one of the production companies) has the same shape as the asteroid that hits the Earth in the first scene, causing global destruction 65 million years ago.
Bruce Willis was given a second trailer that housed a full working gym at an estimated cost of 175,000 dollars. It was reportedly never used.
Liv Tyler shot this film concurrently with Plunkett & Macleane (1999) so would frequently fly from Los Angeles to her locations in the Czech Republic for stretches at a time.
The U.S. Space Command logo shown is the same one from Independence Day (1996). William Fichtner would later be cast in its sequel Independence Day: Resurgence (2016).
The film and Deep Impact (1998) had an unfriendly back and forth as both projects were greenlit and filmed through 1997 and 1998. Michael Bay insulted Paramount's project by comparing Téa Leoni's starpower to Bruce Willis's, leading to Leoni saying that statement was "so Michael" and that it was not clear how firing guns would defeat an asteroid. When Deep Impact (1998) opened strongly at the box office in May 1998, Paramount then pointed out all the problems that their rival film was having, leading to Willis accidentally revealing that Armageddon (1998) was filming new scenes in Europe and Asia.
The astronaut training occurs at NASA's Houston facility. Several scenes indicate that the home headquarters for Harry Stamper Oil is also nearby. On the night the boys are allowed out, Rockhound visits his loan shark, Chick visits ex-wife and son and, in a deleted scene available on the extended version, Harry pays a visit to his father. Since they were only out for 1 night and couldn't travel long distances, by inference, they must be in familiar territory in the greater Houston area.
Ben Affleck has practically disowned the movie, even repeatedly making fun of it on the commentary.
The cuts last an average of about 1.5 seconds.
Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare previously starred together in Fargo (1996) and The Big Lebowski (1998), then after in 13 Moons (2002). Stormare and William Fichtner both star in Prison Break (2005).
Lawrence Tierney repeatedly turned down the part of Harry's father until he was offered a substantial pay raise.
Footage from this film (namely the destruction of the Atlantis space shuttle) was utilized in a hoax which purportedly featured actual satellite photographs of the February 1, 2003 destruction of Space Shuttle Columbia.
During the training of the mission team, an Aerosmith song ("Sweet Emotion") is playing in the background with vocals by Liv Tyler's father, Steven Tyler, who also sings the theme song "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing." The two Tylers appear in the Armageddon music video.
Denise Richards was considered for the role of Grace Stamper.
Milla Jovovich and Robin Wright turned down the role of Grace Stamper.
Michael Clarke Duncan was almost replaced by a different actor after the first days of shooting. Duncan had been very happy when he was selected to play Bear after a successful audition, but soon started to feel insecure, and his performance was suffering as a result. In a final effort, director Michael Bay and Bruce Willis took him aside and told him that they really needed to see the vibrant and enthusiastic personality that he had displayed in his audition, otherwise they would have to look for a replacement. Duncan's performance improved remarkably after that.
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In 1968 the Japanese film industry released the science fiction movie The Green Slime (1968). The basic plot for the first 30 minutes of this movie was an asteroid heading to earth. It would destroy earth, so a team of astronauts fly to the asteroid. There they mine and place a nuclear bomb inside the asteroid. It is detonated, destroys the asteroid and saves earth. By coincidence 29 years later this is the basic plot of this film.
The logo of the Swiss Army Knife manufacturer, Victorinox, is on Harry's helmet. It is also clearly visible under the windshield of the Armadillos.
Ben Affleck would later work again with Liv Tyler in Jersey Girl (2004).
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Max says to the Doctor that is about to inject him with a needle. "I'll stab you in the heart with it. Have you ever seen Pulp Fiction?". Bruce Willis and Steve Buscemi both starred in Pulp Fiction (1994). Bruce Willis played Butch Coolidge and Steve Buscemi played a waiter.
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The film is included on the film critic Roger Ebert's "Most Hated" list.
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By the time principal photography began in Kadoka, South Dakota, Michael Bay and the crew had already shot thousands of feet of film.
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Bruce Willis and Peter Stormare was also co-stars in Mercury Rising (1998).
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Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare both appeared in the film Fargo (1996). Billy Bob Thornton would later go on to star in the television series Fargo (2014)
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In the movie, a lot of the music was performed by Aerosmith, who's lead Singer is Steven Tyler who in turn happens to be the biological father of Liv Tyler the love interest of Ben Affleck.
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One of the badges on the front of A.J.'s Armadillo is the marque for a manufacturer of Swiss Army knives. It can be seen as they bring his Armadillo into position after the first was destroyed.
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Peter Stormare and William Fitchner would later go on to star in Prison Break (2005) together.
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When Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis) goes to recruit A.J. (Ben Affleck) at his rig, a 1966 Shelby GT350 can be clearly seen.
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Some of the Space vehicles and props used in the movie are on public show at Disney Studios at Disneyland Paris, along with an Armageddon Special Effects Ride.
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The film has several The Right Stuff (1984) reference, such as the mean nurse looking through a window, and the astronauts walking with a colonoscopy bag during the med exams.
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Director Michael Bay says on the commentary that is was one of perhaps two or so films a year that shot over a million feet of Kodak film. He says that in these cases, the production company is sent a gift of six bottles of Korbel (Champagne) at around ten dollars per bottle. This may be down to limits on the value of 'business gifts' that can be freely given.
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Michael Clarke Duncan and Ben Affleck appeared opposite each other in Daredevil (2003). Affleck played blind lawyer Matt Murdock aka Daredevil & Duncan played Kingpin (the villain).
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Steve Buscemi, Michael Clarke Duncan, Chris Ellis, and Shawnee Smith all appeared together in The Island (2005) years later, also directed by Michael Bay.
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Actor Matt Malloy plays a NASA Tech named 'Malloy'.
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The film features a scene in which the crew are evaluated for their medical fitness for the journey to space. The scene features the song "Pusherman" by Curtis Mayfield. Two years prior one of the film's stars Owen Wilson also played a supporting role in "The Cable Guy" and was assaulted in a scene set to the same track.
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Shannon Lucid: the astronaut who made headlines for setting endurance records for living in space aboard the Mir Space Station is in the background of the "underwater simulation" scenes.

Director Cameo 

Michael Bay: as a NASA scientist. Shown after Carl asks to name the asteroid Dottie.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

After Rockhound gets space dementia, the shuttle crew wraps him in duct tape, which is, in fact, NASA protocol for immobilizing a crazed crew member.
Bruce Willis had a picture of his daughters in front of him to help him cry during his goodbye to Grace.
Ben Affleck came up with the idea for scenes of A.J. and Grace's wedding to be filmed on Super 8. His personal Super 8 camera was used for the shoot, and he held and operated it for all the shots he wasn't acting in. The cake fight was improvised, and the cast threw most of it at Michael Bay.
When the Thunderbirds fly over in the final scenes, the formation they are supposed to be flying in is known as the "Missing Man" formation. However, the missing man formation is flown with only four jets, and the #3 jet pulls straight up without using afterburner while the rest of the formation flies in their original positions. This was obviously done for Stamper. It is an extraordinary honor to have this formation flown during a funeral or, in this case, after a mission, equivalent to the riderless horse. The Thunderbirds later flew this maneuver in air shows out of respect for U.S. military personnel lost in the "War on Terror".
In the scene after A.J. jumps the Armadillo over the canyon, and lands safely, you can see grass under the front wheels as Lev walks back to the vehicle.
At one point of the movie, Harry Stamper and the rest of the crew visit the Mir, inadvertently causing a failure in its system and its subsequent destruction. Mir was a space station launched in February 19, 1986 from Baikonur's Cosmodrome (former U.S.S.R., actual Kazakhstan), being the top of the soviet space program as the first place out from planet earth permanently inhabited. It was used as experimental and investigation laboratory. It was marked as a five year program but was extended to thirteen years, remaining in outer space until its final destruction when it crashed into the Pacific Ocean on March 23, 2001. In that time Mir traveled more than 3,600 million kilometers (2,250 million miles) orbiting the planet. "Mir" is a Russian word that means "peace" or "world".
The church at the end of the movie is St. Brendan Church.
Liv Tyler was Will Pattons daughter in Inventing the Abbotts and Bruce Willis's daughter in this movie.
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