The Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen caught-up with star Tom Hanks and producer Brian Grazer for a look back.
In the film, a reporter asks the astronauts: "Does it bother you that the public regards this flight as 'routine?'"
And Hanks answers: "There's nothing routine about flying to the moon, I can vouch for that."
There was definitely nothing "routine" about Apollo 13's ill-fated mission. Even though less than a year had passed since man first walked on the moon, America had grown complacent about space travel. That is, until a mysterious explosion rocked the Apollo 13 spacecraft, and turned this flight into a rescue mission.
To celebrate the film's 10th anniversary, the filmmakers held a special screening at the California Science Center near downtown Los Angeles. Tom Hanks says it's hard to believe it's been a full decade, since he and producer Brian Grazer, along with director Ron Howard, re-created that incredible journey.
"I'm shocked," Hanks tells Chen. "It went by in the wink of an eye. I thought we did it about maybe three summers ago. (laugh) Truly. Truly."
Hanks plays Captain Jim Lovell, who served as a technical consultant on the film.
Asked if he was intimidated by the thought that people who actually were there would find fault in the project, Hanks says, "No, that was actually the pleasure."
He explains, "The joy was, let's not make anything up; let's shoot for as high a level of verisimilitude as we can; let's be authentic. Let's just find out what happened, and figure out the way in order to dramatize that to a degree that everyone will understand just what the jeopardy is."
Case in point: the "Gimbal Lock."
Hanks says, "I can't tell you, for example, the concept of Gimbal Lock. You can't explain what Gimbal Lock is, but you can communicate that Gimbal Lock is bad. That it's really, really bad if they go into Gimbal Lock."
Producer Brian Gazer adds, "We weren't sure we could trust the absolute truth to be dramatic, or for it to be emotionally palpable. And, whereas Tom, he became the guy who was charging with the flag on the Truth Police. Everything's got to have it really (laugh); if it didn't really happen we can't do it."
Hanks says he's still impressed with the men and women of NASA: Their intelligence, their courage, and their competitive spirit.
Hanks notes, "An astronaut, who will go unnamed, came up to me at one point in the course of promoting the movie. He says, 'Let me get this straight. Jim doesn't land on a moon? And he gets a movie made out of it? (laugh) He gets a movie and he didn't land on a moon?'"
Laghing along, Grazer says, "That's right."
Hanks continues, "'You see, I landed on the moon. But I don't, I didn't get a movie about me made.'"
Grazer recalls laughing, "I remember that."
Hanks says, "I'd look at it and say: it's fun, it's romantic, it's adventurous, and it's science. But for these guys, this was, no lie. It was a life-and-death matter, and it was also, there was an aspect of what their mettle was. Everybody knows something can and will go wrong."
Asked if he would want to do it given the chance, Hanks says, "I would do it if there was a reason to it. Just to be a space tourist, I don't think there's nothing to that. If they needed, like, a guy to go up and, and be part reporter, part filmmaker, part poet, part stand-up comedian, you know, (laugh) to come back and tell stories about it, I'm the guy, but I don't think that they really need that."
"Apollo 13" was the second collaboration between Hanks,Grazer and Howard, coming a decade after "Splash." Now, 10 years after "Apollo," they're teaming up again to bring the blockbuster novel "The DaVinci Code" to the big screen.
So how is DaVinci Code going?
"Well, it's not," Hanks says. "We haven't done anything yet. I mean, you know, we'll figure it out, and it takes a long time."
The 2-Disc "Apollo 13" Anniversary Edition DVD includes the following bonus features:
- "Lost Moon: The Triumph of Apollo 13" - The making of the film including behind-the-scenes footage and interviews
- Feature Commentary with Director Ron Howard
- Feature Commentary with Jim and Marilyn Lovell
- Production Notes
- Theatrical Trailer
- "Apollo 13": The IMAX Experience Version - Re-edited for the giant screen by director Ron Howard and Academy Award-winning editor Dan Hanley
- Conquering Space: The Moon and Beyond - A recap of the last 45 years in space.
- Lucky 13: The Astronauts' Story - Recounting the events of the mission