Why Is Bryan Singer Directing a ‘Battlestar Galactica’ Movie?

battlestar-galactica-original-seriesThis is not breaking news exactly, and had been rumored for some time, but I just can’t let it go without comment. For me, the revelation and subsequent confirmation that Bryan Singer, director of such films as X-Men, The Usual Suspects and Superman Returns, is now attached to direct a Battlestar Galactica movie for Universal comes directly from the ‘WTF?’ department.

Just in case you don’t know what’s happening, yesterday, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Singer signed on the line that is dotted and will direct and produce a “re-imagining” of the classic series created by Glen Larson. I’m just curious what makes him think the best use of his time is to direct a completely new Battlestar Galactica movie?

Before I go on, let me just say that I was a fan of Glen Larson and Universal’s answer to Star Wars when it first hit the air. Heck, I even gave them another chance after the first BSG series was canceled and watched Galactica 1980. That’s how far I go back. Sure, the shows were cheesy and campy, but as a kid I didn’t really care. But now, they seem extremely dated and lightweight¬† — especially when compared to the updated SyFy series.

I’m also a fan of Singer and many of his films — The Usual Suspects and X2 in particular. His work shows a great deal of maturity and polish and he usually knows how to tell a story — especially one that’s written by the very talented Christopher McQuarrie. However, I was also looking far more forward to Singer taking on an updated version of Logan’s Run or even getting back in the chair for another go at X-Men or a Wolverine sequel than to him doing a BSG movie.

Given that, I just don’t understand his decision to do a film based on a property that just completed its very well received run as a television series. A series that many believe was one of the finest ever produced. No matter how “different” his take will be with the film, it can’t possibly come close to what Ron Moore and company did with the property — “angels” notwithstanding. Doesn’t Universal realize what they are getting into? Apparently not.

It would take a monumental amount of effort and creativity for any Battlestar movie not related to the SyFy series to be embraced by fans. I’m sure Universal hopes that Singer will be able to do for BSG what J.J. Abrams and company did for Star Trek. I’m sure they want a new franchise for themselves that appeals to established fans as well as brings new ones into the fold. Sorry to break it to you Universal, but as talented as he may be, Bryan Singer is no J.J. Abrams — at least when it comes to making big screen adaptations of old tv shows.

Not only that, but he won’t have the assistance of screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci who were able to write a fantastic and intelligent Star Trek script and make it appeal to old and new fans alike. Why Glen Larson and Ron Moore can’t just get together and make a Battlestar movie that will blow everyone away is beyond me. Sadly, that’s just not the way it works in Hollywood most of the time.

The truth is it will be at least two years before we actually see a movie from Bryan Singer based on Battlestar Galactica. People have short memories, and even shorter attention spans, so its possible this will be all but forgotten until the PR machine cranks up to promote Singer’s “vision’ for Battlestar Galactica sometime in 2011.

Its also possible Singer will come up with something amazing that will be the ultimate big-screen treatment of BSG. Its possible he may surprise everyone and his movie will be so good we will wonder what all the fuss was about. Sure, pretty much anything is possible. I just won’t hold my breath waiting for it.

  • Beau
    March 17, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    All this has happened before, all will happen again.

  • Chuck Norton
    November 13, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    The re-imagined series lost its nobility and the people (especially the male? characters) were so over the top flawed and indecisive that they lost their humanity. The characters in “re-imagined” are so west coast university pop culture overly feminized and flawed that, in spite of good acting performances, after a while I just stopped liking them and certainly did not admire them. The “culture” of “re-imagined was all wrong.

    Perhaps “re-imagined” was meant to be a reflection of today’s pop culture rather than an example of the best of our own. Besides the eye candy the “re-imagined” was not inspiring in the least. I was pushing myself to watch it and as the second season went onto the third I just couldn’t watch it any more.

    I hope that Glen Larson does his legacy justice with this new film with something that is more philosophically deep rather than psychologically in need of a good therapist.

  • Charlie Benjamin
    September 17, 2009 at 9:39 am

    I love Ron D Moore’s reimagining of BSG, like most scifi fans. I also enjoyed Glen A Larson’s cheesy response to Star Wars back in the late 70s early 80s when I was a kid. In retrospect, visiting a casino planet with disco funk in the background, and smoking thin cigars with a wise cracking grin, despite the fact that the human race has been anihilated, is really funny. But I prefer Ron D Moore’s grown up version. The acting was incredible, the characters psychologically deeper than I’ve ever thought possible in a drama and the writing was amazing. I’d like to see Ron D Moore’s BSG universe brought to the big screen.

    • Chris Ullrich
      September 18, 2009 at 2:31 am

      Could not agree more.

  • monolith21
    August 17, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    Ya know what…that crying comment was uncalled for and I apologize. I’ve read some pretty scathing remarks toward the original series and this new film and I guess I carried that over here.

    Truth be told, there are just a lot of us that did not care for the Ron Moore version of Battlestar. We wrote letters in support of Singer’s version back in 2001 which was a continuation of the original series. We’ve persistently hoped for a better representation of Battlestar…something closer to the original. Singer has always had a healthy respect for source material.

    Love it or hate it, his Superman film looked like a Superman film. His X-Men movies captured what a lot of us loved about X-men.

    Its true, his version may be wildly different but his past comments and his work on the 2001 Battlestar continuation lead a lot of us to hope otherwise. Tom DeSanto, the producer from the first two X-men, both Transformers films and that 2001 Battlestar continuation that Ron Moore borrowed heavily from said this about the project.

    “For me it was never a question of a remake. It was always going to be a continuation. It was really about how far we were going to set it in the future, and whether it was going to be a continuation √† la Star Trek: The Next Generation, which was going to be something completely different, where everyone in the past was dead, and they were referenced, and you might have Bones show up in the first episode, but that was it. Once Bryan saw the fanbase out there, he started to become convinced that it could be 25 years later, which was, I think, the best way to take the show.”

    This movie could be way differnt, but the odds are well in favor of something that resembles Galactica more than what we have seen in other remakes. Remember…Ron Moore’s version is the THIRD take on Battlestar to hit screens. In all those tries, many of us have waited for someone to come along that would get the original enough to update it well. Even in a reboot.

    At Comic Con just before his release of Superman Returns, Singer also responded to a fans question about his possibly Logan’s Run update wanting to know if he would change the look of the uniforms and what not. He said that he had learned through X-men to be respectful of the long time fans and that certain things are iconic. The look, the music, all of those things should not be simply cast aside.

  • Chris Ullrich
    August 17, 2009 at 10:06 am

    Thanks for the comments. I think its a bit too early to know if Singer will have a “healthier respect for the source material” considering there’s no script and we have no idea what the story will be. His version may be vastly different from Larson’s original series.

    Also, I’m pretty sure Singer isn’t “remaking the remake” so I’m not sure exactly what I would be crying about. I have two chief complaints: this was already done and done well. Singer’s time and talent should be expended elsewhere instead of on a project that already had a very recent remake

  • monolith21
    August 16, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    Its about time Bryan Singer got around to making this movie. Ron Moore’s show has very little in common with Battlestar Galactica. No matter how popular it is with a select audience, many people were not happy to see it. Those people have been waiting for this and have been very vocal about it. The truth is that most of us welcome Singer’s version more than Moore’s even if it is a reboot for the simple reason that Singer has a healthier respect for the source material.

    As far as crying about remaking the remake. Boo hoo. What is good for the goose…

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