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EXCLUSIVE: Found Footage Sci-fi Movie 'Apollo 18' Switches Directors

Spanish-language director Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego has stepped in to replace Trevor Cawood as the helmer of the Weinstein Co.’s sci-fi “found footage” project Apollo 18.

Cawood is the latest victim swept up in the space race to launch Apollo 18, which since its announcement at the American Film Market, has caused tremors in the burgeoning genre of “found footage” movies. It first caused Roland Emmerich to scrap his ultra-low budget sci-fi project The Zone, and then days later Warner Bros. dropped Dark Moon, a spec it bought concerning the Apollo moon missions to be directed in the found footage format by Olantunde Osunsanmi. Dark Castle then swept in to save it.

Apollo 18 is being produced by Timur Bekmambetov and was written by Brian Miller, a winner of a screenplay contest founded by the Wanted filmmaker. TWC picked up the project Nov. 7 with an ambitious plan: to shoot the project immediately, run it through post faster than a rocket traveling through a wormhole, and release it in early March in the hopes of beating Paramount sci-fi found footage movie Area 51, directed by Oren Peli of Paranormal Activity fame. That’s basically making a movie from casting the leads to delivering it to theaters in around three months.

That schedule may have proved too tight for Cawood, a visual effects guru who worked on the Matrix movies and would have been making his feature directorial debut.

The pressure is now on Lopez-Gallego, the award-winning filmmaker who is best known for directing El rey de la montana (King of the Hill). The director, repped by ICM and Principato/Young Management, will be making his English-language debut with Apollo 18.

Apollo 18 is purported to be footage from a secret and covert mission to the moon which ends up in revealing evidence of new lifeforms. According to sources, the majority of the story takes place in  the rocket in between the Earth and the Moon.