Roger Christian committed an unforgivable act with Battlefield Earth 15 years ago and has scarcely been heard from since. For the past decade he has directed a series of forgettable, straight-to-video movies. Then the Internet exhumed a long-lost short film he made called Black Angel — which originally played before The Empire Strikes Back during its original theatrical run in 1980. We're calling it here: A Roger Christian revival is at hand.
The newfound Black Angel praise spurred Christian to set up an IndieGogo campaign to expand the 25-minute fantasy short (which you can watch here) into a feature film starring Rutger Hauer and John Rhys-Davies, with more cast members to be announced as the 45-day campaign continues.
Christian once had a sterling career going, sparked by an Academy Award for set decoration on the original Star Wars movie in 1977. He worked on classics such as Alien and Monty Python’s Life of Brian, and continued his working relationship with George Lucas on Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace. Then the onscreen Scientology fiasco that was Battlefield Earth (which racked up seven Razzies and eventually a “Worst Picture of the Decade” award) took his reputation out back, stomped a mudhole in it, and left it to bleed out as crow snacks.
The feature-length Black Angel reportedly has a shooting budget of $15 million; the crowdfunding campaign is aiming at a $100,000 goal to help the production. (Or maybe to inspire attaboy blog posts?) A day after launching, they're already nearly halfway funded. Perks include $35 extras like DVD and Blu-ray copies of the finished movie, a 20-minute Skype session with Christian for $75, or a $5,000 speaking role in the movie, a relative bargain for cinematic immortality.
The nerdy crown jewel of the perks will have Star Wars fans busting open their R2 coin banks. A cool $20,000 buys you an original two-frame film negative from George Lucas’ personal editing copy from A New Hope.
According to Christian, expanding Black Angel has been a passion project of his since he first made the short 35 years ago, and you can’t help but root for the guy. Despite his tepid delivery in the campaign video above, the story seems in the Star Wars vein with some gritty Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings details thrown in for good measure. This can be done, Internet. A hundred large is all it’s going to take to put Battlefield Earth in the rearview forever. Again: a steal.