What Went Wrong:
By Shalimar Sahota
March 3, 2011
This will go into spoilers, so if you haven’t see The Invasion… well, I wouldn’t bother.
Recut, rewritten and reshot by another director, although The Invasion was all finished and ready to go for a summer release in 2006, the film was delayed for a year. Rewrites and reshoots are nothing new, yet The Invasion’s was well publicized, with the Wachowski Brothers suddenly getting involved, a car crash involving its lead star, and the resulting film having its whole final third changed.
Jack Finney’s novel, The Body Snatchers, had already been adapted to film three times before, as Invasion of the Body Snatchers, in 1956 and 1978. Warner Bros’ first attempt came with Abel Ferrara’s Body Snatchers, in 1993.
Warner hired David Kajganich to have a second stab at writing another adaptation. Producer Joel Silver explained how Kajganich’s script was “wonderful” and took “a fresh approach to the ideas in the novel.” Kajganich described how he wanted to write something that was, “deeply scary, but also deeply meaningful.” Silver brought in Oliver Hirschbiegel to direct after he was blown away by his work on the World War II drama Downfall. The Invasion would be Hirschbiegel’s first English language feature film. Silver was psyched up, describing in a press conference before the film was shot, that, “Oliver's way of shooting it is very exciting.”
The film begins with a space shuttle crashing to Earth, and some unknown "thing" attached to the craft starts to spread among the population. In the middle of it all is psychiatrist Carol (Nicole Kidman), who first picks up on something after one of her patients, Wendy (Veronica Cartwright), tells her that her husband is no longer her husband. When out trick-or-treating with her son Oliver (Jackson Bond), she discovers some weird dead skin like substance. She just so happens to be in a relationship with Ben (Daniel Craig), a doctor. Along with his friend Dr. Galeano (Jeffrey Wright), they analyze the substance and discover that it takes over a person’s brain while they sleep.
Filming took place in 2005, from September to December. Hirschbiegel must have delivered his cut of the film sometime in early 2006, since the film was to be released a few months later in the summer. However, The Invasion disappeared from the release schedules. It’s believed that Hirschbiegel’s film was screen tested, and the buzz wasn’t very good.
“We saw the movie,” said Silver. “It didn't work the way we wanted,” which seemed a more polite way of saying that it probably wasn’t very good. Also, “we” meant that clearly more than one person at Warner appeared to be unhappy with what they saw. So, Silver brought in the "bar-raising" Wachowski Brothers to rewrite the script. “Larry and Andy didn't do more then help conceive and envision some action elements,” said Silver. However, it’s rumored that they did a lot more than that, having made changes to the whole script - the most prolific being the final 20 minutes, which included a car chase and a more positive ending, with a cure for those infected being administered at inoculation centers.