'Battlefield Earth' set creeps out the crew
'There's just too much Scientology going on around here'
By Danny Lorber
Crew members working on the latest John Travolta movie say they can't wait to wrap, citing a "creepy" level of Scientologist fervor surrounding the set of potential summer sci-fi blockbuster "Battlefield Earth."
The movie is about a futuristic battle for Earth between opposing political movements. The "good" that wins out is supposed to represent the ideology of Sceintology.
"It's weird man," said a member of the camera crew, interviewed by iFUSE on the set Tuesday. "Half these people are Scientologists. Travolta's hired all of them to be here. It's like this weird, religious epic.
"It's creepy, man."
The scenes we saw had actors arguing with each other before they go into a battle -- Scientologist Travolta, dressed in full evil-alien gear, and some other guys we didn't recognize. Then we saw part of a scene with Barry Pepper and Forest Whitaker talking in front of a blue screen.
Travolta is a very public and passionate believer in the faith, often mentioning his admiration of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. When Travolta won a Golden Globe a couple years back, he finished his acceptance speech with a thank you for Ron.
The shoot, taking place on a soundstage in Los Angeles, seemed like a typical big budgeted sci-fi, with people walking around in costumes, huge blue screens hanging from the ceiling, and a myriad of props, including half of some sort of fighter plane. Some crew members went so far as to call their Scientologist co-workers "freaks," saying they constantly speak wistfully of founder Hubbard and how wonderful their faith is.
Others -- who happen to be Scientologists -- said they were fine with the atmosphere.
"This is a film that I wanted to work on," said a Sceintologist member of the production. "Hubbard just knew so many secrets about what really goes on, and his books made those ideas come to life entertainingly, so it's great to be making this into a movie that, hopefully, a lot of people will see."
Still others said they couldn't wait to wrap.
"Dude, they're all these Scientology freaks, running around here," said another crew member. "This film is probably, like, some brainwash thing.
"We have just these (re-shoots) for two days, and then this thing is done," the crew member continued. "I'm glad; there's too much Scientology going on around here."
"Battleship Earth" is scheduled for release in early June.