Movies - TV
Brando's Demands On Island of Dr. Moreau Sent Production Spiraling Out of Control
By LEE ADAMS
Known as one of the most notorious flops of the ‘90s “The Island of Dr. Moreau” is a film that doesn’t even enter the “it’s-so-bad-it's-good” category despite having legendary actor Marlon Brando in the movie. The story follows a UN negotiator, Edward Douglas (David Thewlis), who was recently rescued from a plane crash as he explores the mysterious island full of human-animal hybrids.
Based on H.G. Wells’ book of the same name, the film faced many problems, but one unexpected issue was the outrageousness of Brando’s demands. The actor had a reputation for being difficult and disruptive on set, so when director Richard Stanley was replaced, it wasn’t a shock when Brando refused to make the movie without him, but this was only the first of many requests.
In his quest to portray the titular character in his own vision, Brando arrived on set with huge shades, fake dentures, a vaguely British accent, his own makeup design, and peacock feathers. The strange requests continued as he wanted an ice bucket hat to keep his head cool and a bizarre rewrite to reveal Dr. Moreau was a dolphin the whole time.
Another bizarre demand, which would later inspire Mini-Me from the “Austin Powers” franchise, was that he wanted Nelson de la Rosa, an extra and one of the smallest men on earth, to become Dr. Moreau’s assistant and dress the same as Brando’s character. Brando also wanted to change the script, inventing his own plot points and deciding that he didn't want his character to die.
“The Island of Dr. Moreau” faced more troubles than Brando’s strange demands as problems arose from the beginning, like Val Kilmer (Dr. Montgomery) wanting less shooting time and natural disasters that destroyed set pieces. The documentary “Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau” wonderfully details the troubled shoot and its issues.