‘Battlestar Galactica’ movie writer: ‘I’m not gonna frak it up’

Oct. 20, 2011 | 1:20 p.m.

From left, Michael Hogan (Col. Saul Tigh), Edward James Olmos (Adm. William Adama), Mary McDonnell (Laura Roslin) and Jamie Bamber (Lee "Apollo" Adama) in "Battlestar Galactica" (SyFy)

Bryan Singer’s “Battlestar Galactica” movie has its screenwriter — John Orloff, who also wrote the Roland Emmerich Shakespeare thriller opening next week, “Anonymous.”

“Don’t worry, I’m not gonna frak it up,” said Orloff in an interview, of his take on the storied sci-fi franchise, which “X-Men” director Singer is set to direct for Universal Pictures.

“I have a pretty radical take,” Orloff said, declining to offer more details about his treatment of the long-gestating, secrecy-shrouded project. “Battlestar Galactica,” about a human civilization warring with a cybernetic race on a group of distant planets known as the 12 Colonies, began as a short-lived 1970s TV show and has evolved to include comic books, novels, video games and the cult hit Ronald D. Moore series that ran on Syfy from 2004 to 2009.

Richard Hatch, Lorne Greene and Dirk Benedict from the original "Battlestar Galactica"

A long time “Battlestar” fan, Orloff has an eclectic background as a writer — he first wrote “Anonymous” over a decade ago. Though it didn’t get made at the time (another little Bard movie called “Shakespeare in Love” beat it to theaters), Orloff’s script earned him a gig on Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks’ World War II HBO series “Band of Brothers.” He went on to write “A Mighty Heart,” the Angelina Jolie movie about journalist Daniel Pearl, and Zack Snyder’s “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.”

Orloff declined to elaborate on the project and would not specify whether the new film would update the original TV series or take off from Moore’s universe. Previous reports suggested that Singer’s movie would “reimagine” the former, which was produced by Glen Larson and starred Dirk Benedict and Richard Hatch as hotshot pilots Starbuck and Apollo and Lorne Greene as Cmdr. Adama.

–Rebecca Keegan

twitter.com/@thatrebecca

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Comments


37 Responses to ‘Battlestar Galactica’ movie writer: ‘I’m not gonna frak it up’

  1. PBMom says:

    No thanks. I don't care who is writing it or directing it. It's TOO SOON for a "reimagine" or "remake" on this. Most remakes wait a significant amount of time before taking on such a task, especially as fantastic as Ronald Moore made his world. Let him wait another 10-15 years, and maybe I would be open about it.

    • Mr. Gone says:

      Why don't we let him make it now and you wait 15 years to watch it?

    • jrlaudio says:

      Well then how about the story of the Pegasus, or maybe one of the other Battlestars that may have gotten away, on their own and desperate. Maybe, the story of the Cylons on the 13th colony "Earth" (the one that got "blowed up"). Maybe, maybe, maybe.

      The real issue is does Moore or Scfy or whoever owns the rights willing, to make money. If it's SyFy I doubt it, they went with Peter Pan and got burned, big time. A quarter billion dollars if you include advertising (more than they spent on BSG in its entirety) and got lower ratings then the last few episodes of Caprica. Dumb network. And if they have any control over this they will wilt and cower in fear, as they always do. I do think they now realize that "SciFi" fans also enjoy fantasy films and shows. However now since the network pissed all those fans off, their "broader market" they were striving and hungering for is missing a significant part of its demographic who will never trust SyFy ever again. Now they will never get good ratings, no matter what they do. They pissed off their primary supporters by trying to compete with the broadcasters and TruTV, Instead of staying unique and different, they wanted to be something else. Didn't work, so now BSG is dead.

      But Maybe ….

  2. Wes Holland says:

    Is it too soon to take on BSG? Will the fan base stand the whiplash if the new film moves or re-imagines the story from the Larson perspective? Can the campy highly romanticized human condition of Larson’s beloved original story stand up after the edgy allegorically timely and more honest perspective of the Moore version?

    As a fan of the original and convert to the new (Moore) version of the story, I would hope the naturalistic/humanistic convention of the Moore version be preserved as a foundation.
    As long as the team of Singer and Orloff avoid building some “space chase” meets the “real housewives of BSG” hybrid and avoids a straight spaced based VFX vehicle with nothing more than a recognizable battlestar in frame – the fan base will probably make this a profitable property.

    The big question is how this movie will affect the floundering SyFy “Blood and Chrome” backdoor pilot currently in post and highly anticipated by the Moore (now David Eick’s alone) fans of the new
    BSG/Caprica?

    Cheers,

    WJH

  3. Lily says:

    I'm a passionate, diehard fan of BS. I bought the series on DVD and have to pace myself because it's hard not to watch 2 or 3 episodes in a row as the cliff-hanges keep me on the edge of my seat. It's one of my favorite television series ever. Not sure I could see an Adama that isn't the great Edward James Omos, or a President that isn't the great Mary McDonnell…….. actually, ALL of them are indelibly emblazoned in my mind. Darn tootin' you'd better not frak it up!!! (BTW, wish there had been more with The Pegasus and the amazing Michelle Forbes. She bit the bullet too soon, imo)

  4. True BSG fan says:

    D'ya know why this movie is unnecessary? The 2004 reboot. Remember that? Remember how cinematic that was? Rebooting the premise again at this point would be a thousands times more ridiculous than, say, rebooting the Spiderman series, or-

    Uhh…

    Oh.
    Oh, I see.

    Let's hope this movie isn't made for fifteen years or so.
    SO SAY WE ALL

  5. voiceof reason says:

    you can't improve on the syfy tv show. just leave it alone and back away.

    • Kat says:

      Agree. The TV series is perfection!! Absolute perfection.

      • steve says:

        The new BSG was the worst. Worse than Star Trek the next generation at least that had the courtesy to change the venue. If you want to redo the show then you have to wait until the fans are gone.

      • Devon says:

        Agree, Kat. That's the phrase for the TV series – absolute perfection!

    • Bib says:

      I can improve upon it. I have a time machine. I fully intend to go back in time and STOP THAT AWARD CHASING MORON MOORE from fouling on a good show with 9/11 B.S. (And that doesn't stand for Battle Star). Truthfully, I deeply feel for those directly affected by the events of 9/11 – BUT THAT IS NOT THE WHOLE GO**ARN WORLD.

      …IT IS A MINISCULE, PALTRY, TINY BUNCH OF PEOPLE IN A WORLD OF ALMOST 7 BILLION HUMANS.

      PEOPLE NEED TO DROP THE 9/11 THIS 9/11 THAT!

      THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME – WW1 IN GENERAL…NOW *THAT* WAS A CATASTROPHIC DISASTER For crying out loud :(((

  6. Babo says:

    GO SYNGER!!!!!

  7. jim yager says:

    I think that Moore fraked it all up. I don't mind the stories or characters, ut, the world that the lived in was NOT that of an advanced civilization. They drove around in Hummers, with registration stickers and plates, the doctor smoked morley cigs, I saw green banker lights on tables and IV tubes in medical. I even saw a medical person pull out a bic pen and write in a mead notebook! If you going to create a sci-fi show you can't cheap out on the sets. To many time you could watch a scene from BG and you would not know if it was a sci-fi picture or CSI. Guns with bullets? Spaceship that fire bullets and use nukes? I really wanted to enjoy the new series, but they killed it. Moore should have known better after his work on Star Trek, but, he fraked it all up. SO SAY WE ALL.

    • Brad says:

      No, basing it more on reality made it even better in my opinion. Why would things that work now not work in the future? I still use a pencil from time to time, not a lot has changed in pencil designs in the last 50 years. What is wrong with bullets? Why do some "sci-fi" people expect lasers and ray guns? I truly believe that the re-imaged BSG was one of, if not the, best and most believable of any sci-fi of all time.

      As to this movie though, no, too soon.

      • Marie says:

        I thought the show was set in the past…..150,000 years if I remember correctly.

      • Roger says:

        Pen: Yes. Bic: No
        4×4: Yes. Hummer: No
        And the list goes on, in some cases black tape was used to mask the brand o_O

        Still the show was OK for SyFy standards. Though more of a space drama, firing bullets instead of cheesy lasers. Meanwhile on present day Earth there's an MTHEL strapped underneath an Apache. Figures.

        At least I'm willing to see a new take on this, bit more realistic SciFi please :)

    • Mr. Gone says:

      I didn't mind the ships firing cannon rounds and the nukes. I thought it was believable. Except of course the Vipers in the new show being quite a bit smaller than even the ones in the original show. Seriously? How can that tiny Viper carry all that ammo and fuel? :) I agree with ya on the Bic pens and Hummers. Don't forget the really cool Blade Runner like pistols they carried being replaced by common hand guns. I hated that.

    • Doug says:

      You are absolutely right and I completely agree with you. The people who have thumbed down your comment are probably all about 12-14 lol. Nuff said ;D

  8. almighty bob says:

    Anybody involved with this project has already fraked it up. The original show has already been reimagined into a work of creative genius by Ron Moore et al. The project described here has absolutely no creative legitimacy. Bryan Singer has made some very good movies. Why is he wasting his time with THIS?

  9. FL Pastor says:

    Unless you are going to involve the same cast as the 2004 – 2009 series and go back and fill in some more gaps (or maybe do a sequel where the surviving Cylons came back to Earth), this is a baaaad idea.

    • CYN says:

      YESSS!!! MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY,LEAVE THE CAST FROM 04-09 INTACT&PLEASE FILL IN THE GAPS!! PICK UP THE STORY LINE SOMEWHERE AFTER THE !SERIES FINALLY&LEAVE THE REST AS IT WAS! WE NEED KATEE&E.J.OLMOS BACK NO QUESTION!!!!!!!:-)

    • kevin says:

      I would love to see the cast together again – and like the idea of filling in the gaps. They ended it too soon.

  10. Mike Wells says:

    You could do a Caprica-type prequel thing, but there is NO WAY the fans would stand for a frakking reboot. Caprica would have worked if it had been more engaging. IN BSG, you had easily 10-15 main characters, in Caprica, you had about 3. People got bored watching the same 3 characters, after they got used to times when some of the main characters wouldn't make it into a single episode, THAT was part of why the show was so good, it didn't stale on the same 3 or 4 people time after time…

    That, and the fact that the 'previously on…' stuff was sometimes 2 seasons back. YOu had to learn to actually pay attention, everything god go to **** at the drop of a hat.

  11. Mr. Gone says:

    Is it amusing to any one else here that the fans of the new show are having the same reaction to the idea of a non Ron Moore reboot as the fans of the original did to the RM version before it came out? Look. It's just as possible for the Larson based show to be good if they don't feel the pressure to make it "cute" or campy. If it's gritty, character driven, and takes genocide seriously, it will be fine. Plus sorry to say it but the RM version jumped the shark at the onset of the final five plot.

  12. captdamage says:

    OLD BG FAN
    The british BG gave the show new life to. But was cheesey and seem like i was watching an aircraft carrier an space with cheesey actors Top Gun in Space The only good thing was Edward James Olmos acting which kept the thing afloat

  13. Q-Eely Sun says:

    hopefully the new movie will, clean up the terrible ending of both the 1970's no ending-and the 2000's anti-technology message ending….both sucked.

  14. BS Triton says:

    Let's get Christopher Nolan to do a BSG remake movie in 5 years, then get Ridley Scott to do one 5 years after that, then get Steven Spielberg to one 5 years after that! The whole idea of that is ridiculous, but shows that it is unnecessary to make a reboot/remake when the recent previous version was good enough. They should spend time finding movies with good story arcs that haven't been remade before.

    By the way, wasn't it Bryan Singer who made that awful Superman Returns movie?

  15. Guest says:

    If it's based (tonally) on Battlestar Galactica, I'm curious and interested! :o)

    If it's based on the abysmally written for as much money as possible while masquerading under the guise of covering "serious subjects" sellout trash (that'd be REIMAGINED BATTLESTAR then- AND HENCEFORTH SHALL IT *ONLY* BE CALLED THIS, I DECREE)….They can go spit. NOT INTERESTED :o(

  16. J T Kirk says:

    I agree with Guest. It's an insult that they gave the reimagined show the same name as the original show. I also agree with his other point. I can't believe how many dim witted people there are today, who can't see through the lies of million dollar corporations. They obviously want viewers and money, and as much of it as they can get. Sex and violence are easy ways to stir up discussions, and therefore get free advertising. Word of mouth is still the best sales technique. And selling people on a show with "grit" and "realism" these days is an all too common tactic.

    "Grit" and "realism" as tv/movie producers refer to it, are meant to give the general public the impression that the studio/network is treating a show seriously, and mean to put in "hard work" to make a good show. However, what they actually mean when they use these terms, is that they intend to use filming styles which will accumulatively create an experience where the sex/violence in question will be sensationalised as much as possible. Hand held camera work is one tell-tale sign that this is what's going on.

    For a number of years now movie trailers have used extremely loud, stabbing sound effects to make the visuals appear more "dramatic" (the producers) would say…But the true psychological impact of this style is that the material comes across as being more violent; even if what we're being shown isn't actually a scene of violence! The connection? Well, violence is exciting isn't it?…This is what we're trained and taught from pre-knee-high age.

    So we have violent sound effects. Violent camera work. Violent scenes. And a violent score! When this is combined together (as it so often is today) this is one HELL of an assault on the senses, when you stop to think about it.

    It is also an easy way to spread excitement for the material at hand. And it's a far cry from Battlestar Galactica, and what it's about. The original version never DWELT on the violence, like the reimagined show quite clearly does. And this is why the REMAKE is sensationalist crap; designed to appeal to those who either can't see what is going on within the "entertainment industry" in the 21st century, or simply don't have the moral good standing enough to care about the implications and resultant mess we're headed toward.

    In my youth, I too thought the idea of gratuitous violence in media; which left little to the imagination was ridiculous. I am now older, and wiser. And can now state without any loss of pride that I WAS WRONG about that. Ultimately, it's HOW it's done. And using all the sensationalist elements (as described above) all at once, all the time, isn't the way to go. It's time for Hollywood, and many of the indy filmmakers, and many of the producers of today's tv shows to grow up! And entice us with a little thing called "compelling storytelling"… Not try to horrify us to our seats. Where is the joy? Where is the love? Where is THE FUN?! If we're to be sold (and drawn in by) TRULY compelling tv/movies, then the entertainment should not come from dwelling on "grit". This is how we know a show is really deserving of awards for well written drama. Or for good acting, directing, and production.

    Which leads me to Battlestar Galactica on the big screen. I really hope it's much more like the original show. I don't want grit as "them" would mean it ;)

  17. Planner Dude says:

    @JT Kirk:

    I don't know what show you were watching but the Re-Imagined version was all about compelling storytelling, characters, fun, and serious issues. Aside fro a few sex scenes, it wasn't gratuitous in any way. Most of the show was dialogue and the internal struggle every character had in a time of trauma….the preservation of a democratic society in a time where a democratic society could get annihilate your species.

    The 2000s series was great. I am just sad it ended. It left be wanting more, like a good story does.
    It is probably one of the most influential series I have ever watched.

  18. Boopsiebaby says:

    I am a fan of the original and will always be partial to that show. It was unfortunate that Singer didn't get the continuation made that was planned in the beginning. It would have been awesome. For fans in their mid 40's', to see the original actors reprise their roles would be answers to many prayers. Thanks to Richard Hatch for his tireless efforts to bring back the show, there would never had been a Ronald Moore re-imagining of the show. I hope Mr. Singer will keep the original themes intact for this new movie and keep the fan base happy.

  19. Dabney Coleman says:

    As a huge fan of the original I couldn't even stomach the 2004 show. I watched the first 2 episodes, and called it a night. So I welcome this, as long as it represents the actual BSG world. We don't need another "different take" on it, as that's what ruined the 2004 version.

  20. DarkAngel says:

    Just reading a few posts on here, and I know everyone is entitled to their opinion, but if you didnt' dig 2004 series, I'm at a loss. I grew up watching the original and loved it. But 2004 series was on another level. If the original Star Trek had had a child, it would've been the 2004 take on the series. No question. Because the 2004 series made everything relevant. Just like the old Star Trek, it took almost every issue we deal with today and put it right on the screen. That's not just good story-telling. That is great story-telling.
    Yes, I was bummed as much as the next guy when Boxie's dog got killed and soon after his mother, but if you try to compare that to all the happenings in the Reimagined Series, well, there is no comparison.
    And just like another poster wrote earlier, after the 1st two episodes, I was almost ready to give up and start watching something else. But on that 3rd episode is when the show really took off and it never let you go until the end. New BSG movie? Only if it pursues the Ron Moore version. If you guys are looking for the Larsen, go see Battleship.

  21. DarkBeagleof theWoods says:

    I hear so much crap about the original series and the terrible stories, but in my opinion the RDM series was just as bad. The original was a bit too campy, but the RDM went to extremes on everything – I think everyone just about frakked everyone through the course of the four year run. In one episode you needed special explosive bullets to stop the robotic cylons and the next seasons they’re destroying them with plain 9mm ammo. You don’t just interrogate a prisoner but frak the information out of them forcefully.

    Personally I’d love to see BSG done where it left off with the original BSG (although I admit I’d love to see Olmos as Adama and Helfer would make a good Cassie), but follow the line of books that Richard Hatch wrote. If it wasn’t for him trying to get BSG revived none of this would even be discussed. The guy worked his heart out, lost out because of scheduling, and STILL worked on the RDM series (and made one of the most believeable characters in the entire RDM series). It would be nice for Richard to get his due.

  22. J murphy says:

    “Fail alot, but do it early.” I propose we solicite everyone involved in making a BSG box office movie to start immediately. If possible, just with post-it note suggestions: no commitment to a budget or release date. It may take a decade to show up in theaters- and possibly it should: if we truly feel a great job had previously been done. Regards

  23. JKNoVA says:

    Original series – solid B. If you were a kid at the time, make that an A.

    New series – A+, unless you don't like complex characters and plots and like simple, black and white good guys and bad guys – in which case it's a C.

    It would be very disappointing if somebody "rebooted" the original concept, in which Cylons have no motivation except KILL ALL HUMANS, were created by a race of reptiles, Baltar has no motivation except to be the bad guy for unknown reasons, Adama is the virtually infallible Wise Leader, etc. The original series wasn't bad, but the new series is a whole different – and much higher – level. Basing a movie on the original series would be confusing and exasperating at this point for people who will actually go see a sci fi movie – which, if you're not aware, has very low overlap with people who were watching TV in 1978 and feel nostalgic about Boxey's dog.

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