Notes/1980/Flash Gordon

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facts learned from director Mike Hodges DVD commentary

  1. Dino De Laurentiis asked Mike Hodges why crew was laughing at the dailies. Dino was late to the notion that Flash Gordon might be funny. Mike later asked the crew not to laugh while Dino was around.
  2. Production and Costume Designer Danilo Donati didn’t read the script and designed what he wanted
  3. Queen worked on the score for 21 days from 2pm to 8am, each member laying down their tracks separately
  4. Dino De Laurentiis had a childlike enthusiasm for the project
  5. Dino De Laurentiis had a peasant like attitude to life
    1. Hired Mike Hodges because he liked his face
    2. Wouldn’t board a plane until he saw the face of the pilots
  6. 600 costumes made, many using authentic leather and other costly materials
  7. Aircraft hanger and two studios were used for shooting
    1. The Arboria set was so huge that it was impossible to place the camera anywhere to take in the whole set
  8. Mike Hodges didn’t know the wood stump creature scene would have such an impact on young children
  9. Commentary recorded in 2005 during Iraq war; Mike Hodges compares George W. Bush to Flash Gordon character in terms of U.S. ignorance/innocence about world outside the U.S.
  10. Dino De Laurentiis called Mike Hodges “Nick” (the name of the previous director) and at one point when Mike Hodges was fired Dino De Laurentiis picked Mike Hodges name from a list of directors to hire unaware that that was the director he had just fired
  11. Max von Sydow had fun playing Ming
  12. 300 VFX shots outnumbered the number in The Empire Strikes Back
  13. Dino De Laurentiis liked the colour red, used heavily in the sets and costumes, which made them difficult to light
  14. Dino De Laurentiis initially tried to talk Federico Fellini into directing
  15. Mike Hodges came up with the Houdini line and studio wanted it cut.  Got the biggest laugh during audience screenings
  16. Mike Hodges realized he had no control over story or costumes or sets so he ended up improvising every day as director
    1. One example being the red guards costumes prevented the actors from seeing where they were going and Dale Arden's heels preventing her from fighting the red guards so her fight with the guards was improvised so she would carry her heels in her hands and the guards would wobble around like they were blind.


Other trivia

  1. Taika Waititi screened Flash Gordon for his Thor Ragnarok crew for creative inspiration [1]
  2. Nicolas Roeg was originally pegged to direct

References

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