This article on Moviefone is a false, made-up bit of reporting. I know because I was there. Armageddon was the first production I worked on. I took in everything that I could and remember it well.
This Moviefone article says that “It’s unclear where the initial idea for ARMAGEDDON came from.” It’s actually very clear and very well documented – for example, in Peter Bart’s THE GROSS (1999).
Jonathan Hensleigh, who’d just done THE ROCK with Michael Bay, came in with a great three-sentence pitch about a ragtag group of guys working with NASA to stop an asteroid. Hensleigh’s inspiration was the oil-well firefighter Red Adair, with a touch of THE DIRTY DOZEN. Michael and Hensleigh worked together on the idea for a few weeks, then took their 20-minute pitch to Joe Roth at Disney; Joe interrupted midway through and bought it in the room; he said it would be his July 4 movie for 1998, and gave it the name ARMAGEDDON.
Hensleigh and Michael set to work on the script. It was only through working with Ivan Bekey, who headed Advanced Concepts for NASA, that we became aware of any competing project.
With regard to the assertions that our production was marred by “skullduggery,” “moral compromise,” a “deeply insecure” director, etc. – my reaction is: (a) False, and (b) What kind of journalistic standards exist here? Someone apparently told the writer that Michael said he’d committed intellectual property theft and “actually stole dailies.” This didn’t happen and I don’t understand how slander like this makes it to press.
President, Bay Films