Most people might not know the name Richard Stanley, but those of us who’ve seen Lost Soul, the documentary about the amazingly inept production of the 1996 dud The Island of Dr. Moreau, recognize Stanley as the young filmmaker who was fired and replaced by John Frankenheimer during the troubled production.
It seems Richard Stanley is plotting a comeback, and he wants to try and make his version of The Island of Dr. Moreau once again. In an interview with Michael Gingold at Birth.Movies.Death, Stanley discussed his desire to get his original vision finally on celluloid:
At this stage, I can’t say exactly by who, and how long it will take, but the project does live again, largely thanks to David. We’re currently scripting and designing the thing. It’s going to be an all-new screenplay and an all-new cast of beast-people; the original creatures are copyrighted by Warner Bros. [parent company of New Line, which produced and released the ’96 film]. I wasn’t particularly happy with them anyway. The final designs of the creatures in the Frankenheimer version were disappointing, and I think there’s huge room for improvement.
The “David” he mentions is David Gregory, the director of Lost Soul, which is one of the most fascinating filmmaking documentaries I have ever seen. The Island of Dr. Moreau suffered weather issues, production problems left and right, cast and crew desperately trying to escape the set, and the double whammy of Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer at the height of their troll powers.
Stanley mentions that he might make this into an extended series for television, depending on who wants this to happen.
In fact, once Stanley was replaced, he snuck back on the set disguised as one of the half-breed “manimals.” It’s a bizarre story and definitely worth your time. As for Richard Stanley finally getting a chance to tell his story, I am all for it. It can’t be worse than the 1996 finished product.