Battlefield Earth Screenwriter Apologizes, Blames His Script on Desire to Get Laid


J.D. Shapiro has something he'd like to get off his chest (and no, it's not a body thetan): he was the screenwriter of Battlefield Earth, and he'd like to apologize for it. Shapiro has taken to the New York Post to explain how the misbegotten John Travolta vehicle came about almost a decade ago, and it had everything to do with his libido and a Scientologist's love for his masterful work scripting Robin Hood: Men in Tights:

It started, as so many of my choices do, with my Willy Wonker.

It was 1994, and I had read an article in Premiere magazine saying that the Celebrity Center, the Scientology epicenter in Los Angeles, was a great place to meet women.

Willy convinced me to go check it out. Touring the building, I didn't find any eligible women at first, but I did meet Karen Hollander, president of the center, who said she was a fan of Robin Hood: Men in Tights. We ended up talking for over two hours. She told me why Scientology is so great. I told her that, when it comes to organized religion, anything a person does to reward, threaten and try to control people by using an unknown like the afterlife is dangerous.

Nonetheless, Karen called me a few days later asking if I'd be interested in turning any of L. Ron Hubbard's books into movies. Eventually, I had dinner with John Travolta, his wife Kelly Preston, Karen -- about 10 Scientologists in all. John asked me, "So, J.D., what brought you to Scientology?"

I told him. John smiled and replied, "We have tech that can help you handle that." I don't know if he meant they had technology that would help me get laid or technology that would stop Willy from doing the majority of my thinking.

It is astounding that someone who named his penis "Willy Wonker" could ever write something bad, but Shapiro's mea culpa is worth a read, if only for its little details like L. Ron Hubbard's vendetta against the color purple, or Travolta's belief that all involved were making "The Schindler's List of sci-fi." In that the film turned out to be a terrible tragedy, perhaps he was more prescient than they ever could have known.

I Penned the Suckiest Movie Ever - Sorry! [NY Post]


  • HwoodHills says:

    Here's the truly interesting question...
    How can a guy who's only written 2 produced studio features in the last 17 years (ROBIN HOOD: MEN IN TIGHTS, BATTLEFIELD EARTH) be repped by ICM?
    (Must be that outstanding ep of "Charles In Charge" he wrote in 1990.)
    Kudos, Sir. Your Wonker must be legendary.

  • RJM says:

    Too bad he rushed thru the story in his screen play.
    The novel, or at least the primary storyline, was an epic struggle of good vs evil and one mans quest to vanquish an insurmountable enemy by using everything at his disposal (spoiler alert - NOTHING was at his disposal).
    Imagine one man against an army with vastly superior intelligence, technology, and no compassion.
    Also, for those of you who are scoffing right now, this story had nothing to do with Scientology.
    Pick up a copy from a friend, or at the used book store, sit down and give it an hour of your time (starts off slowly, gets stranger, then thrusts you into a whirlwind of adventure and intrigue).
    Believe me when I say that watching the movie will take nothing away from the novel(yes its that good, and the screenplay was that bad).
    Peace Friends

  • Dehner Petersen says:

    Mr. Shapiro doesn't have much to his credit, either as an interviewee or screenwriter. His latest opus is called (no, I'm not kidding) "Knights of the Not-So Round Table: The Lost Tapes of 524 AD." Judging from the title, I believe he is about to write another "sucky" movie.

  • Rick says:

    The fundamental question begs the issue: Did Willy get its just due? Did J.D. actually get laid?

  • sweetbiscuit says:

    Well, he's repped by that other ICM -- International Crotch Management, in Wyckoff, New Jersey.

  • VoV says:

    Is it just me, or is this guy actually just trying to brag about his penis?

  • bierce says:

    Sounds to me like Shapiro is still writing fiction.

  • Dimo says:

    All I know about that book is that it was SO MANY PAGES, they could only fit one copy in the rack at the check out line at my supermarket.

  • SunnydaZe says:

    It is hard to tell what movie the above picture is from since the frame isn't a Dutch angle... Could it be tilted just a bit for clarity?

  • Mike Steward says:

    Battlefield Earth a sucky movie????????
    I thought it was a good sci fi movie.
    The only draw back is some of the actors and actresses were Scientologist to begin with did take some away from the movie.
    But all in all the Sci Fi content of the movie I think rocked!
    And the Psyclos got theres at the end.
    In short, don't mess with humanity, we bite!!!

  • Roy Levitre says:

    Lavern Trevisone