The 2000 film “Supernova” had a long road to the big screen, a process that may be to blame for the movie’s financial failure. The film follows the crew of a medical ship in the 22nd century who answer a distress call from a distant galaxy. James Spader, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Lou Diamond Phillips, Robin Tunney, and Wilson Cruz play the crew. Their rescue mission turns dangerous when they encounter alien technology, the mysterious intentions of the man they rescued, and a giant star about to explode.
Walter Hill, credited under the pseudonym of “Thomas Lee,” directed the first cut. He eventually disowned the film. The budget was slashed and Hill quit, so MGM tapped Jack Sholder, who’d previously been in contention to direct, to oversee reshoots and edits. MGM executives, also displeased with Sholder’s cut, asked Hill to return, but when they refused Hill’s proposal for reshoots, Hill quit a second time.
Finally, Francis Ford Coppola was hired to re-edit the film, resulting in the final cut we see today. One of the most bizarre choices Coppola made was to turn a sex scene between Tunney and Peter Facinelli’s characters into a sex scene between Spader and Bassett. What Coppola did was essentially digitally replace Tunney and Facinelli’s heads with Spader and Bassett’s, as well as alter Tunney’s skin tone. Coppola’s strange editing choices did not help things much, as the film grossed only $14 million at the domestic box office against a staggering $90 million budget.