Richard Stanley emerged in the early ‘90s as one of the world’s hottest genre directors. His first two films—Hardware and Dust Devil—are rightly considered to be classics. Stanley’s third film was set to be highly anticipated adaptation of H.G. Wells’ Island of Dr. Moreau starring Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer. Early in the film’s production, news of dissent and production troubles began to filter out from the set in Cairns, Australia. Ultimately, executives at New Line Films fired Stanley on the first day of shooting. Legendary director John Frankenheimer was brought in to “save” the production, but his efforts proved to be fruitless: The Island of Dr. Moreau is still regarded as a major disaster.
In Lost Soul – The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau (2015), director David Gregory sorts through decades of rumors and myth to reveal the true behind-the-scenes story of the film’s troubled history. Many of the key players in the production, including Stanley, Robert Shaye, Edward R. Pressman, Fairuza Balk and members of Stan Winston’s effects team, present their sides of the story. The interviews reveal that the film was plagued by production mishaps, warring egos, and numerous other problems, both large and small. Lost Soul is a treasure trove of fascinating stories ranging from Marlon Brando’s bizarre erratic behavior to Val Kilmer’s ego-driven sabotage to Richard Stanley’s covert ops after being kicked off the set. This documentary truly must be seen to be believed.