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Supernova (2000) Poster

(I) (2000)

Trivia

Geoffrey Wright, who was originally hired as director, walked away from the project two months before principle photography due to the "creative differences." Apparently, he had a idea about shooting the entire movie in zero gravity, but MGM disagreed. Vincent D'Onofrio was originally cast as computer tech but when Wright was fired, D'Onofrio also walked out.
Filming started in April 1998. After principle photography was finished in July, Walter Hill spend total of 24 weeks editing his director's cut of the movie which still didn't have all the special effects scenes added into it. MGM refused the number of effects shots requested by Hill, and cut out half of them, including a complex sequence in which Nick Vanzant performs a nail-biting zero-gravity rescue inside a giant bubble of water, and a remotely operated medical robot was replaced by a humanoid android. MGM decided to screen the movie to test audience. Hill told them that the screening would be complete disaster because movie was still not finished and because he wanted to shoot some more footage. MGM still screened the movie and just like Hill said, test screening audience hated the movie. Years later Hill said in interview: "We limped in, in post we had a tremendous amount of effect stuff to do. They decided they wanted to preview the movie without the effects. I said this was insane, it's a science fiction movie. The effects had to be added. They wanted to see how it played. I told them it would be like shit, terrible, very bad preview, you will give up on the movie. These previews under these conditions are political. "Are you saying you won't preview the movie?" I said "You own the God damn thing. If you want to preview it, I can't prevent you, but I won't go." They saw this as defiance." Hill then got into more arguments with MGM and quit the project.

MGM then called in another director Jack Sholder to try and save the movie with re-editing and re-shoots. Sholder deleted lot of the scenes from Hill's version including many scenes of character development, added the scene where Nick is piloting the ship to safety after they jump into the Supernova high gravity field (Originally auto-pilot saved the ship from crash but Sholder wanted to give James Spader something more to do), added some scenes with more focus on humour, changed the original voice of ship's computer Sweetie and add a new one which had "more emotion", removed entire dialogue from another computer called George who was on Titan moon and who gave Nick some informations about the mining colony and such, removed the original rock/electronic-like score by Burkhard von Dallwitz and added new one by David C. Williams. After Sholder's cut was test screened and got little better reaction from test audience, new people got involved in United Artists studio (who with MGM was producing the movie) and they weren't happy with the reaction that Supernova (2000) got from the test screening of Sholder's cut.

The studio went back to Hill who asked for $5 million dollars and time to do the re-shoots to fix the movie but when MGM refused, Hill quit the project for good and MGM then shelved the movie.

In August of 1999 MGM board member Francis Ford Coppola was brought in by MGM to supervise another re-editing of the movie costing $1 million at his American Zoetrope facility in Northern California. But even the Coppola's re-edited version had negative test screening and didn't got PG-13 rating by MPAA that studio wanted. Creature designer Patrick Tatopoulos, whose special effects were mostly cut out from the movie, said that Hill wanted for movie to be much more grotesque, strange and disturbing while MGM wanted to make it to be more of a hip, sexy movie in space and they didn't wanted a full-blown makeup effects film. By the October of 1999, MGM decided to sell the movie. The movie was eventually released on January 17, 2000, almost two years later than planned.
When he took over the editing of the movie, Francis Ford Coppola put together the zero gravity sex scene between Angela Bassett and James Spader using out-takes of zero gravity sex scene between Robin Tunney and Peter Facinelli, that happens later in the movie, and with Tunney's skin color being digitally darkened. He did this to add more to the relationship between Bassett's and Spader's characters.
Walter Hill said in interview some years after the movie was released that his version was much darker, had a very different setup and that ending was much different. He also expressed strong dislike for the way studio ruined the movie but he said that James Spader did a great job with his role.
This was the first post-Alan Smithee film. For many years, a director who for whatever reason wished not to be credited for a movie would have his name replaced with the name "Alan Smithee". After the film An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (1997), the name was too well known, and so the Director's Guild of America decided to replace the name "Alan Smithee" with the name "Thomas Lee".
Originally, main villain Karl transformed into a demon-like monster during the final part of the movie. Although much time and effort was spend on special make up effects for these scenes, MGM decided that they didn't like that because they "couldn't see the actor", so all the creature footage was cut and re-shot with Karl being only partially transformed in the final cut.
Four different endings were filmed.
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Dialogue by ship's computer Sweetie in theatrical ending where it tells Nick and Kaela that Supernova will either destroy Earth or make it and humankind better and that Kaela is pregnant was added later in post production during one of the re-editings of the movie, most probably during the one supervised by Francis Ford Coppola. Original dialogue only said that Supernova will destroy Earth in 257 years and that it's unstoppable.
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According to Walter Hill, problems began when he did a rewrite of the script, not knowing that the president of United Artists (Lindsay Doran) was very attached to the script. He also said that the budget of the film was cut halfway through production.
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Tommy Malone originally pitched the film in 1990. He envisioned it as a modestly budgeted film which would cost around $5-6 million and be like "Dead Calm (1989) in space".
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Originally developed in 1988 by director William Malone (House on Haunted Hill (1999)) as "Dead Star" with paintings by H.R. Giger and a plot that had been called "Hellraiser (1987) in outer space".
Lou Diamond Phillips who plays Yerzy turned down the role first few times when it was offered to him but once Walter Hill was hired as director he called Phillips and send him 40 pages of his re-written script which Phillips liked and accepted the role. Problem was when he did a rewrite of the script, not knowing that the president of United Artists was very attached to the script. Hill said the budget of the film was cut halfway through production. When filming started Hill was forced to keep re-writing the script while studio executives were on set watching over him. Hill also heavily re-wrote original script because he wanted to distance the film from Alien (1979), movie which he produced. Phillips also said that once Francis Ford Coppola was called in to re-edit the movie he sent everyone from the cast a letter saying; "All of your work in this film is quite good. It has its problems. I'm going to recut it, hopefully in the spirit of what Walter Hill wanted." But Hill ultimately took his name from the movie.
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The infamous theatrical trailer, featuring songs "Fly" by Sugar Ray and "Momma Told Me Not To Come" by Three Dog Night, shows many alternate takes of some scenes, extended versions of some others, parts of few deleted scenes including the one where Nick finds real Troy on the Titan moon turned into fetus and Troy begging Nick to help him, and couple shots of original ending where Karl is killed by dimensional jump.
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Many promotional stills show lot of deleted scenes which were not included in deleted scenes on DVD/Blu-Ray versions of the movie. These include; Kaela and Danika dressing up the Flyboy robot, Nick investigating the Titan mining colony and more areas of it, Nick finding more cocooned dead bodies of miners and examining them, Karl's original monster-like look...
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The original script was about a space expedition that discovers artefacts from an alien civilisation and brings them back to Earth; one of the artefacts unleashes an evil force. Tommy Malone and producer Ash R. Shah asked H.R. Giger to produce some conceptual sketches to help promote the script.
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The film takes place in 2101.
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