When Flash Gordon first hit cinemas in 1980, the comic strip adaptation was a box office success in both the UK and Italy, but this wasn’t the case in other territories. Nevertheless, since its release, the movie with an iconic Queen soundtrack has gone on to become a huge cult classic. Famously the title star Sam J Jones left the production before work was completed, seeing large swaths of his dialogue dubbed by an actor who remains unknown.
Rumours have abounded over the years of a feud between Sam and producer Dino De Laurentiis.
However, in an interview since, the Flash Gordon star claimed it wasn’t as severe as some may have thought.
Speaking with Maxim in 2012, the actor said: “No, I didn’t have a falling out with the director, but producer Dino De Laurentis and I bumped heads a few times – there were a few misunderstandings. In my naivety at the age of 25 I just let the attorneys handle everything – I just let my representation handle it and they did not do a very good job at all.
The bottom line, though, is they worked for me and I take responsibility for what happened. I didn’t go back for looping and dubbing so they ended up using another actor to loop – I think about half the film was actually not my voice.”
Asked what his most memorable moment filming Flash Gordon was, Sam admitted it was the challenging rotating disc scene.
The 67-year-old said: “What took up a lot of the rehearsal time would be trying to stay injury-free during the fight scene on the rotating disc. We had quite a few falls off of that, falls of 30 feet – we’d fall onto boxes that were stacked up. It actually worked really well, but there were a lot of small injuries and, you know, not wanting to get hit in the eye with a bullwhip and things of that nature.
I think it worked out well. That disc was elevated 25-30 feet, but from the audience’s point of view, it looked like we were standing above a bottomless void. We lost our balance and fell quite a bit. When you fall into stacked boxes they kind of grab you and protect your fall, but you do get the edges of the boxes that lead to bruises.”
Star Wars and Flash Gordon among films given stricter ratings [FLASH GORDON]
flash gordon and the Incredible Hulk ‘separated’ as ‘fight erupts’ [COMIC CON]
Blessed ‘flips’ over Flash Gordon slur [BRIAN BLESSED]
On working with the future James Bond star Timothy Dalton, who played Prince Barin, Sam said: “He was very professional – I think he lightened up after a while.”
Thor Ragnarok’s Taika Waititi is set to write and direct a Flash Gordon reboot, which was originally due to be animated.
Producer John Davis told Collider: “Taika is writing it. It was a movie that was a huge influence on him growing up. It is one of his favourite movies. He initially said to me, ‘Let’s do it animated.’ I said, ‘Okay.’ Then we got into it and started developing it and he said, ‘No, let’s do it live-action.’ I said, ‘Even better.’”