Hey, Stanley — Barry Keller here, a producer over at Paramount. (Also, a huge fan. I loved The Space Odyssey.) The White House is bringing me in to consult on Project Fake Moon Landing since, apparently, things are a bit hectic over there. I’ve seen the current cut, and it’s looking great. I think we can be ready to hit the airwaves in time for an early fall premiere with just a few minor adjustments.

  • I’m concerned viewers may be confused by Neil’s dialogue. How are we supposed to know he’s on the moon if he never says the word “moon”? I know you think the marketing gives it context, but we want to pull in channel surfers. Not saying we lose the “One small step for man…” thing, but maybe first he says something like, “Wow, here I am on the moon.”
  • Is it supposed to be so blurry and choppy? We spent a lot of money on the lunar set, and it would be nice to get a bit more mileage out of it. We are expecting a premium product. That’s why we hired you, the great Stanley Kubrick!
  • Weird that we never see Neil’s face. He’s the star! Maybe put him in a see-through helmet? Or — and this seems like the best option to me — we just say you CAN breathe on the moon. How firmly have we established the plot point about the moon having no oxygen? I know it adds tension, but not sure it’s worth it if it comes at the expense of Neil’s screen time.
  • Speaking of Neil, I feel like he’d be more compelling with a younger love interest. I know this isn’t relevant to the stuff you’re shooting, just figured I’d mention it.
  • Seems like the message about America’s fearsome military power exists mainly as subtext. I know you chafed at all the Air Force plugs, but the government IS footing the bill here, and a little product placement never killed anyone. Maybe add a line somewhere about our enormous nuclear arsenal?
  • The other two characters — Buzz and the third guy (did you ever give him a name or did I just forget?) — don’t have much to do. What do you think about killing them off? Feels like it might be cleaner with just Neil. Unless you want to try out some subplots. Buzz keeps pitching that thing about him fighting a moon creature with a laser gun. Something to consider.
  • This isn’t a note on the content, per se, but President Nixon requested that you let him know about any “lefty plots” against him. I promised I’d mention it, so I’m mentioning it.
  • Overall, it goes way too smoothly. They land, they walk around, they plant the flag, they pick up some rocks, the end. Where’s the rising action? What if at some point the Lunar Module catches fire and Neil has to put it out by drilling a hole in the moon and releasing a huge geyser of water (PLOT TWIST: there’s water in the moon!) that shoots straight up into the air? And then guess who crawls out of the Lunar Module? That’s right: it’s Neil’s hot new girlfriend. She was a stowaway the whole time. So, now they’re standing there, in basically the pouring rain (great visual), her T-shirt is getting soaked, and Neil turns to her, takes off his helmet, and says, “Now that’s what I call a full moon.” And then one of the nukes they brought with them explodes, the whole moon is destroyed, Buzz and the other one (Matt?) die tragically, and Neil and his girlfriend just barely make it out alive. I don’t know, give it some thought.
  • Quick continuity note: if you stick with the whole “no air on the moon” thing, please try to find a take where the flag isn’t flapping in the wind. Don’t want to tip off viewers that this is all fake. But if you don’t have the footage, it’s fine. I’m sure no one will ever notice.

Let me know your thoughts when you get a chance. Everyone is so excited about this project. Heck, if it does well enough, I bet the government would be up for a sequel where there’s another crazy twist like an oxygen tank explodes, and they have to slingshot around the moon and come back to Earth. Just spitballing!