It’s the 40th anniversary of the moon landing and a quick search on the Googles reveals the there are plenty of folks out there who still believe NASA faked the historic Apollo 11 Mission.
Despite compelling evidence to the contrary, there are over 17 million pages asserting conspiracy, which got us thinking; who would NASA call if they wanted to fake a moon landing in 2009? Here are some visionary options...
The Director: Vietnam vet screenwriter turned director with strong political leanings and a passion for conspiracy, Stone has turned out his share of Oscar winners, and the odd turkey too.
He’d make the film just to prove a fake moon landing film exists.
The Astronauts: Tom Berenger as Buzz Aldrin, Willem Dafoe as Neil Armstrong, Charlie Sheen as Michael Collins.
The Landing: With a voiceover from Charlie Sheen’s Michael Collins as he orbits the moon, we follow Dafoe’s Armstrong carefully climbing down the ladder.
“Houston, I’m just about to take the final step down on to the surface; this is one small step for man, one giant gaaaar…”
Armstrong is tackled from behind by an enraged Berenger/Aldrin, cutting off his historic speech as the men slam into the moon’s surface.
“Tranquility Base please clarify” shouts a concerned CAPCOM controller at Houston Mission Control.
“Houston this is Aldrin,” asserts Berenger, as he plants a hefty forearm to the throat of Dafoe, “Something attacked Armstrong, I’m trying to get it off”
“Please confirm, you’re being attacked?”
“It’s some kind of space something, it’s killing him, I can’t, I can’t get it off” he smiles, landing a powerful knee to Dafoe’s junk, “I’m aborting mission”.
Berenger lands one last blow to a dazed Dafoe and bounds back up the stairs into the landing module.
Locking the door, he initiates blast off. The camera cuts to show Dafoe running towards the module, well spacewalking toward it.
Realising he won’t make it, Dafoe falls to his knees, captured in a glorious multi-angle slow-mo by Stone, fistfuls of Moon dust falling through his fingertips; Dafoe sells it like Ronaldo in an 18-yard box.
The film closes with a power-point presentation by Kevin Costner’s conspiracy theorist, as he points out all the flaws in the obviously fake footage.
“Come on, I mean, TOM fucking BERENGER? Riiight. What is this, the frickin’ 1980s?”
Sample Dialogue: Dafoe/Armstrong “I love this place at night. The stars... there's no right or wrong in them. They're just there.”
Next: Lars Von Trier [page-break]
Lars von Trier
The Director: Experimental, emphasis on mental, filmmaker and one of the founder of Dogme ’95, a set of rules governing the way in which all his films are made.
The Astronauts: Bjork as Neil Armstong, Charlotte Gainsbourg as Michael Collins, Nicole Kidman as Buzz Aldrin.
The Landing: Shot completely on a black sound stage, the moon is represented by a large white chalk circle. Apollo 11 is drawn as a small box nearby.
With handheld camerawork by Von Trier himself, Bjork and Kidman walk between Apollo 11 and the Moon, this is ponderous and takes about an hour.
Nobody speaks during this hour.
When they arrive in the large chalk circle AKA the moon, Bjork breaks into spontaneous song and dance, as Nicole Kidman delivers an empassioned speech on equality.
Back in the orbiting craft, Gainsbourg tries self-circumcise her clitoris as she may or may not have been possessed by the devil.
Sample Dialogue: Kidman/Aldrin: “All I see is a beautiful little crater in the midst of magnificent mountains. A place where people have hopes and dreams even under the hardest conditions.”
Next: Michel Gondry [page-break]
The Director: Quirky Frenchman famous for music videos, commercials and films featuring innovative camera techniques, effects and visual tricks to help tell the story.
The Astronauts: Jack Black as Armstrong, Mos Def as Aldrin, Danny Glover as Collins.
The Landing: Using a coke can, a roll of tin foil, three Star Wars action figures, a block of cheese, a fishing rod, nylon thread and a liberal amount of glitter, Gondry creates the moon landing in miniature.
Each actor is given an action figure with which they play out the role of their character. Their hands are visible in shot moving the figures around, much like an 80s toy commercial.
Making Apollo 11 out of the Coke Can, the action figures float down to the block of cheese using nifty handkerchief parachutes.
With sound effects provided by Black, Armstorng and Aldrin bugger about on the surface of the cheese for ages, acting out entire scenes from Star Wars.
Glover gets pissed; “You boys get back in this damn coke can, you hear? We got to get back to earth, and my arthritis is playing up”
Using the power of flight, Amstrong and Aldrin fly up to the Apollo 11 coke can, and float back towards earth suspended from a fishing line against a backdrop of glitter covered black card space.
The film last 15 minutes, and is a fully improvised Swede as none of the men involved had seen the original.
Sample Dialogue: Jack Black in his best James Earl Jones voice; “Cshh, No, Luke, cshh. I, cshh, am your Father, cshh.”
Next: Mike Leigh [page-break]
The Director: Leigh is a highly decorated British writer/director, known for his improvised scripts and his gritty brand of ‘kitchen sink’ realism.
The Astronauts: Three unemployed actors from London, two males, one female.
The Landing: Filmed on a council estate in Kentish Town, the three actors dress in clothes they brought themselves, using a beat up 1990 Ford Escort as Apollo 11.
Without a script to follow, the actors improvise all the scenes and dialogue.
The characters drive around a while and discuss the pointlessness of existence, one of the males driving the car while the others smoke in the back, their legs hanging out of the open windows.
The guy in the back seduces the girl, and they have unfulfilling and degrading sex while the driver watches in the rear view mirror.
Jealous, the manic depressive driver, who may or may not have been attracted to both the male and the female, begins to drive faster, negotiating the turns of the little council estate with alarming speed.
Urging him to stop, the car hurtling almost of control, the other male attempts to take the wheel.
After a short struggle, the car hits a lamppost and bursts into flames. Everyone dies.
Leigh’s Moon Landing wins the Palme D’or.
Sample Dialogue: “You’ve convinced me that being an astronaut is the most tedious job in existence.”
Next: Woody Allen [page-break]
The Director: Former stand-up comedian turned auteur Allen has become one of the most respected directors alive, with his vast body of work and high-rate of production, Allen is always working.
The Astronauts: Scarlett Johansson as Neil Armstong, Penelope Cruz as Michael Collins, Javier Bardem as Buzz Aldrin.
The Landing: Johansson and Bardem spend much of the trip to the moon painting, taking photographs and making love, much to the annoyance of Cruz’s Collins, who used to have a thing with Bardem’s Aldrin.
Airing her frustrations, Cruz is embraced by the other two, and they spend the rest of the trip taking pictures, painting and making three-way space love.
When it comes time to launch the landing module, Cruz again flies into a jealous rage, apparently wanting to go to the moon with Bardem in place of Johansson’s Armstrong, but Bardem refuses.
The landing craft makes its journey to the surface, while Cruz becomes more enraged and despondent. When it touches down, she takes Apollo 11 out of orbit and heads back to Earth, because fuck those two.
Realising that their only way home has buggered off, Bardem and Johansson lie on the moon, taking pictures, painting and making love, basking in the beauty of the universe, they die in each other’s arms.
Sample Dialogue: Bardem/Aldrin: “We'll spend the weekend. I mean, I'll show you around the moon, and we'll eat well. We'll drink good wine. We'll make love.”
Next: David Lynch [page-break]
The Director: Cult Director known for his nightmarish, surreal imagery and meticulous approach to sound design, Lynch’s films deal with the seedy underbelly of human existence, with disturbing results.
The Astronauts: Jack Nance as Neil Armstrong, Mutant Baby Cow Foetus as Michael Collins, Jack Fisk as Buzz Aldrin.
The Landing: Filmed in grainy black and white, we slowly zoom in on a tiny speck amongst the infinite blackness.
Eerie sound mixing, combining industrial metallic clangs with spooky high pitched whistle unnerves us as the speck comes into view, and we realise we are looking at Apollo 11.
The craft lands on a large spherical object, and as Jack Nance and Jack Fisk disembark, the Mutant Bay Cow Foetus starts screaming in the most disturbing fashion, it’s terrible cries echoing impossibly in space.
Nance covers his ears and breaks down to his knees, begging for it to stop, as Fisk, seemingly undisturbed, unrolls an American Flag and jabs it into the surface.
The surface, pierced by the flag pole, begins to gush blood, the terrible cries of the mutant baby still dominating the scene.
Fisk looks around, and finds a trapdoor. Walking inside he finds himself in a room full of levers and starts pulling them, willy nilly.
Nance is still lying on the ground, his agony and madness caused by the screams, he is a bumbling wreck.
We zoom out to see that the craft has landed not on the moon, but on Nance’s own giant forehead, as he looks at the camera and lets out a manic burst of laughter.
Sample Dialogue: Fisk/Aldrin: “Well, Neil, what do you know?”
Nance/Armstrong: “I don’t know much of anything”
Next: Neveldine/Taylor [page-break]
The Directors: Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor are the madcap duo behind the Crank films, and the upcoming Gamer.
The Astronauts: The Stath as Neil Armstrong, Gerry Butler as Buzz Aldrin, Dwight Yoakam as Michael Collins.
The Landing: In an upbeat techno sequence, the landing module is released from Apollo 11 to twirling camera angles and a lot of technical flair.
The landing is going well until… the module starts tearing to pieces.
Defying laws of physics, space vacuums, common sense, and human limitation, The Stath and Gerry Butler rip off their shirts and grab hold of the fusilage, holding it together with tendon-tearing brute force.
Losing control of steering, The Stath climbs outside the cockpit with a can of aerosol and uses directional bursts of pine air freshener to set them back on course.
With lots of strobing light effects and extreme close-ups of well muscled men straining every sinew, the module touches down on the Moon’s surface. And by ‘touches down’ we mean ‘crashes’.
Standing on the moon in nothing but jeans and ripped abs, Stath and Butler grab a few samples of moon rock, down three cans of red bull each and do a couple of hundred pushups to get the blood flowing.
With no module to return them back to Apollo 11, the pair formulate a plan. Punching each other in the face to get the adrenaline going, they watch to see the craft orbiting their positon.
When it comes into view, The pair crouch down, before simultaneously leaping with all their mighty might, with enough force to leave the moon’s orbit.
They just manage to hit Apollo 11, to the surprise of Dwight Yoakam, who’d smuggled his ‘massage therapist’ on board, and had just lit up a doobie.
Yoakam sets course for Earth, with The Stath and Butler duct-taped to the outside of Apollo 11.
Sample Dialogue: The Stath/Armstrong: “HOOSTAN! WE ‘AVE A PROBLUM”
Next: Quentin Tarantino [page-break]
The Director: Cult hero and famed film buff, Tarantino is responsible for defining a cinematic generation with his unique, instantly recognisable style of filmmaking.
Not afraid to divide opinion or court controversy, Tarantino makes films he wants to see and plays be rules he invented. Nobody else in the last 20 years comes anywhere close to being as influential.
The Astronauts: Steve Buscemi as Michael Collins, Samuel L Jackson as Neil Armstrong, John Travolta as Buzz Aldrin
The Landing: Starting with a slo-mo tracking shot of Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins as they walk through the launch site to a 70s soundtrack, we cut straight to the moment the flag is planted on the moon.
Aldrin and Armstrong discuss the merits of using the flag of the Union to represent all of mankind, which Tarantino shoots in technicolour.
Another jump through time and we follow a conversation between the three astronauts as they pass the time during the three-day trip to the moon, all set to a supercool 70s soundtrack.
Tarantino has his characters discuss everything from comic books to fast food, his trademark dialogue adding punch to a two-hour portion of the film.
During this scene, the camera constantly rotates around the inside of Apollo 11, mirroring a technique Quentin saw someone else use, somewhere, once.
We cut to the arrival home, where the men are paraded through the street at high speed on the bonnets of 1970 Dodge Challengers, identical to the one from Vanishing Point – even though it’s only 1969.
The final chapter in the 4-hour epic shows the landing module descend to the surface over a supercool 70s soundtrack, and the last thing we hear as Armstrong climbs down the ladder is;
“This is one small step for man…”
Fade to black.
Sample Dialogue: “You know what they call a quarter-pounder on the moon?”
Believe in the moon landing conspiracy? Who would you like to to see direct the moon landing? Who would star? Let us know in the comments.
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