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Harve Bennett

Harve Bennett (b August 17, 1930) is an American TV and film producer and scriptwriter, perhaps best known for being the producer on the second through to fifth Star Trek films[?]. However, he also produced (and wrote) some well known TV series, such as The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman[?].

Bennett was bought on as producer of the as-then unnamed Star Trek II in mid-late 1980, primarily because Paramount rated his ability to manage production budgets (the film ended up using a third to a quarter of the budget of the first). He, along with writer Jack Sowards[?], watched the first two seasons of Star Trek, and selected the first season episode "Space Seed" to write a sequel. Sowards then wrote the screenplay (although most of the screenplay was actually written by the director, Nicholas Meyer).

The film was a huge success, and Bennett was retained as producer for the successful (but poorly recieved) third film, and the hugely successful fourth. During the making of the fourth however, Bennett's relationship with Leonard Nimoy, the director, and Paramount deteriorated, and Bennett decided to leave, due to the fact that it looked inevitable that Nimoy would direct the fifth film.

Things changed when William Shatner was signed on as director. Bennett came back as producer for the fifth and sixth films after much persuation, but after that, things started to go wrong. ILM, who had done the effects for films II-IV would be unavailible for the best part of 1988 (when the film would have been in production). Using ILM would have required pushing the film for a 1987 release (which would have been near-impossible), or waiting until 1990 (Bennett's preferred option, but Paramount wanted a 1988 or 89 release). Bran Ferren (the FX worker on Little Shop of Horrors) approached Paramount, and said that he could deliver ILM-quality effects at a lower cost. Paramount accepted and, bizzarely, slashed $8 million off the budget.

Unfortunately, the results were awful effects that looked about 10-15 years older than they really were. This was a result of Ferren and his team using a combination of outdated methods, and newer methods which were not yet mature enough. This crippled the already weak screenplay, and the result was one of the biggest disasters in film history.

After the film's release, Nimoy publicly criticised Bennett, blaming him for the core of the film's problems. Paramount responded by sacking Bennett, and giving control of the sixth film to Nimoy and Ralph Winter, who had been Bennet's partner on films III-V. Bennett never worked again in the film or TV industry.



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