NASA has finally addressed the speculation surrounding "Apollo 18". While The Weinstein Company claimed to be using actual archival footage in the film, the agency quickly commented on the authenticity of the footage. " 'Apollo 18' is not a documentary," so stressed Bert Ulrich, NASA's liaison for multimedia, film and TV collaborations.
To Los Angeles Times, Ulrich stated, "The film is a work of fiction, and we always knew that. We were minimally involved with this picture." He added, "We never even saw a rough cut. The idea of portraying the 'Apollo 18' mission as authentic is simply a marketing ploy. Perhaps a bit of a 'Blair Witch Project' strategy to generate hype."
Furthermore, Ulrich explained that NASA actually didn't mind to collaborate with any movie project as long as the idea doesn't mislead general public. Back in 2000, the agency refused to work with Warner Bros. Pictures on "The Red Planet", which tells the story about making Mars safe for human colonization. ""The science was just so off the wall that eventually we felt, 'You guys go ahead and make your movie'," Ulrich said.
The controversy over "Apollo 18" authenticity was fueled by Weinstein Co.'s press release which read, "[Timur] Bekmambetov hired by Russia to shoot a documentary about the Russian space station, recently came across footage in its space archives that bolsters the idea that an Apollo 18 mission did, in fact, take place, and reveals startling evidence of extra-terrestrial life forms. This actual footage will be part of Apollo 18, a paranormal thriller that will interpolate fact and fiction."
Hours after the statement was released, the studio retracted it and replaced it with a "corrected version without the factual error." Without collaboration with NASA, the studio hired Stanton Friedman, as "the flying saucer physicist" who is claimed as an expert media source for the film project. However, even Friedman himself was not allowed to watch the archival footage.
"The scientific community doesn't say anything about these missions, because, hey, we all know, we're smart guys," Friedman said. "One of the things the secret keepers take advantage of is ego. I'm not saying that this footage exists. I'm saying it's possible that there's a whole classified side to this and that it would make sense. I allow for that possibility."
According to the synopsis, "Apollo 18" presents what happens to two astronauts who are sent on a secret mission a year after Apollo 17 that NASA deemed as the last manned mission to the moon. Directed by Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego, the horror film is scheduled to arrive in U.S. theaters on Friday, September 2.