The new Land of the Lost movie is being released today. It’s a parody of the 1974 series and stars Will Ferrell, Anna Friel, Danny McBride, and Jorma Taccone. Though the tone is very different, the film does incorporate a lot of elements from the original TV show. The dreaded Sleestaks, monkey-boy Cha-Ka, and Grumpy the dinosaur are all along for the ride. Unfortunately, some other familiar faces from the TV show didn’t make it to the big screen.
The original Land of the Lost TV series stars Spencer Milligan, Wesley Eure, Kathy Coleman, Ron Harper, and Philip Paley as Cha-Ka. It ran on Saturday mornings and revolves around an explorer father and his two children who find themselves transported to a strange alternate universe. The show ran for just three seasons and only 43 episodes were produced.
The show became so popular in syndication that a new version was created in 1991. It stars Timothy Bottoms, Jenny Drugan, Robert Gavin, Ed Gale, Danny Mann, Shannon Day, and Bobby Porter. It wasn’t nearly as popular but lasted two seasons and 26 episodes.
The Land of the Lost feature film has actually been in the works for some time. For over five years, Sid and Marty Krofft had a movie deal with Disney but it ultimately went nowhere. The rights reverted back to the brothers in 2000 and the project went to Sony for a few years. Then, in 2005, Universal acquired the rights and Will Ferrell and Anchorman director Adam McKay became attached. McKay dropped out at some point and Brad Silberling signed on to direct the movie.
Though there’d been a lot of interest in the property over the years, it was Ferrell’s involvement that ensured the movie would eventually be made. The actor’s long had a love of Land of the Lost and even referenced the show in his 2001 role in Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back. In that comedy, he played Federal Wildlife Marshal Willenholly, an homage to the characters in the series.
As a nod to the original series, Eure and Coleman were offered cameos in the new Land of the Lost movie. Prior to that, there was a MySpace campaign to get them cameos on the film but Coleman’s manager, Matt Beckoff, isn’t sure that it had any impact. He told us, “I think Director Brad Silberling had intended on using them all along.”
Eure and Coleman filmed their cameos last year but they and the entire scene were ultimately cut from the movie.
The scene was going to come at the end of the film. It was filmed at the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles and it took the cast and crew several weeks to capture the expensive scene. Ultimately it was decided that the scene didn’t work and a new ending was shot to replace it.
On his website, Eure wrote, “Well, it is official… the scene Kathy and I filmed with Will Ferrell has been cut out of the movie!!! Truth be told… it sucks not being in the movie! It wasn’t just our scene cut but the entire sequence we were in, so hopefully it wasn’t my acting!! LOL It is the old Hollywood story… left on the cutting room floor…”
The former teen heartthrob tells AfterElton that, at one point, there was a plan for him to have another cameo in the movie as well. He says, “During the credits they were going to have people taking Sleestak heads off and they were going to have the biggest stars in Hollywood, from Mel Gibson to Tom Cruise to whoever they could get. I was going to be one of the Sleestaks. But they had to reshoot the movie, so they spent so much money doing that, I think they ran out of time and money to do it.”
Eure recently attended the premiere and it wasn’t the most comfortable situation. He said, “It was odd being on the red carpet the other night at Grauman’s Chinese. To do all that with them was sort of an odd feeling because it was like being at the party but not being part of the party. [laughs] I had to give my photo ID to get my ticket.”
Though Eure was happy to be reunited with the Kroffts and Paley, Coleman wasn’t invited. She’s apparently had some “child star” issues in her life and, As Eure wrote, “the ‘powers that be’ were afraid for her to show up… I was very disappointed she was not there. She should have been there! Her performance on LOTL was a main reason the show was a hit! It felt very empty without her…”
Hopefully, the cameos and deleted scene will end up on the movie’s DVD release.
But, if you’d like to see Eure and Coleman today, you can check out the video below from the original series DVDs. They discuss their time working together, the decision to drop Eure’s last name from the opening credits, and his performance of the famous theme song.
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