Anyone who’s seen the trailers for Ben Affleck’s new thriller, Argo, knows that it’s about a real life mission wherein the C.I.A. created a fake science fiction film as a cover for sneaking operatives into Iran and sneaking American hostages out. What not many people know, and what our own Christopher Campbell has brought to our attention over at the Documentary Channel blog, is that the fake movie from Affleck’s film wasn’t fake at all. As a matter of fact, it was, at one time, going to be a pretty big production, and the story of how it fell apart might be just as interesting as the story of how it was used as a tool for the C.I.A.
Despite the fact that U.S. Intelligence officer Tony Mendez eventually presented the government of Iran with a science fiction film called Argo, the materials he was presenting them with started out as a very real adaptation of a Roger Zelazny novel called “Lord of Light.” Adapted for the screen by Barry Ira Gellar, Lord of Light boasted names like Buckminster Fuller and Ray Bradbury on its staff as consultants, it was going to use design work by comic book legend Jack Kirby, it had an unheard-of-at-the-time budget of $50 million, and it was planned to eventually spawn a huge theme park complete with jet packed security guards and a holographic zoo.
Problems arose, however, when one of the movie’s moneymen turned out to be a con artist and some corruption got uprooted, which eventually led to things falling apart so badly that the whole Argo story played out instead of the movie actually getting made. Sounds interesting, right? Probably you’d like to hear more about this? Well, good news, because a documentary called Science Fiction Land has been researching all of this stuff since 2000, and it now has a Kickstarter campaign set up so that you can help director Judd Ehrlich (Magic Camp) finally finish the film. Got $5 in your pocket? Head over to the film’s campaign page and pledge that or more, and have your heart warmed with the knowledge that you’re helping a really cool movie get made.