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Posts tagged "star wars"

Jul 29, 2014
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The woman who helped make Star Wars and Indiana Jones

Ever heard of editor Marcia Lucas? There’s a long, fascinating history of her life over at The Secret History of Star Wars:

Biographer Dale Pollock once wrote that Marcia was George Lucas’ “secret weapon.” Most people are aware that George Lucas was once married, and probably some are aware that his wife worked in the film industry herself and edited all of George’s early films before their 1983 divorce. But few are aware of the implications that her presence brought, and the transformations her departure allowed. She was, in many ways, more than just the supportive wife—she was a partner as well. “Not a fifty percent partner,” as she herself admits, but nonetheless an important one, and the only person that Lucas could totally confide in back then. Today, she has been practically erased from the history books at Lucasfilm.

Mark Hamill (a.k.a. Luke Skywalker) says Marcia was the “warmth and heart” of STAR WARS, and points to a radical shift in George Lucas’s filmmaking after their divorce:

[George is] in his own world. He’s like William Randolph Hearst or Howard Hughes, he’s created his own world and he can live in it all the time. You really see that in his films, he’s completely cut off from the rest of world. You can see a huge difference in the films that he does now and the films that he did when he was married. I know for a fact that Marcia Lucas was responsible for convincing him to keep that little “kiss for luck” before Carrie [Fisher] and I swing across the chasm in the first film: “Oh, I don’t like it, people laugh in the previews,” and she said, “George, they’re laughing because it’s so sweet and unexpected”—and her influence was such that if she wanted to keep it, it was in. When the little mouse robot comes up when Harrison and I are delivering Chewbacca to the prison and he roars at it and it screams, sort of, and runs away, George wanted to cut that and Marcia insisted that he keep it. She was really the warmth and the heart of those films, a good person he could talk to, bounce ideas off of, who would tell him when he was wrong. Now he’s so exalted that no one tells him anything.

Marcia, who was always pushing George to focus on story and character, also provided a crucial woman’s perspective to Raiders of The Lost Ark:

[Marcia] was instrumental in changing the ending of Raiders, in which Indiana delivers the ark to Washington. Marion is nowhere to be seen, presumably stranded on an island with a submarine and a lot of melted Nazis. Marcia watched the rough cut in silence and then levelled the boom. She said there was no emotional resolution to the ending, because the girl disappears. ‘Everyone was feeling really good until she said that,’ Dunham recalls. ‘It was one of those, “Oh no we lost sight of that.” ’ Spielberg reshot the scene in downtown San Francisco, having Marion wait for Indiana on the steps on the government building. Marcia, once again, had come to the rescue.”

In his recent piece, “Temple of Gloom,” Wesley Morris points to the Lucas’s divorce as a source of the darkness in the Indiana Jones sequel:

Spielberg, who’s two years younger than Lucas, was poleaxed by his friends’ divorce. “George and Marcia, for me, were the reason you got married … ” he told 60 Minutes in 1999. “And when it didn’t work, and when that marriage didn’t work, I lost my faith in marriage for a long time.” Spielberg had his own problems. He’d just split with Kathleen Carey, a girlfriend of three years. A few months earlier, Spielberg had told People, “I think Kathleen and I will have kids.” Suddenly, the two most successful moviemakers on the planet were under-40 bachelors.

And:

“I was going through a divorce,” Lucas said, “and I was in a really bad mood. So I really wanted to do dark. And Steve then broke up with his girlfriend, and so he was sort of into it, too. That’s where we were at that point in time.” That’s the reason Temple of Doom… is difficult for its creators — and lots of Indy fans — to love. It’s a breakup movie. It’s a record of gloomy images that were scrolling through its creators’ heads. “Sometimes,” Lucas told me, “you go to the dark side.” For two bummed-out guys, Temple of Doom was a catalog of what it’s like to get your heart ripped out.

Filed under: George Lucas

Oct 22, 2013
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Wes Anderson’s Star Wars reference

This essay actually made me want to watch The Life Aquatic again, which I never figured I’d do.

Filed under: Wes Anderson

Wes Anderson’s Star Wars reference

This essay actually made me want to watch The Life Aquatic again, which I never figured I’d do.

Filed under: Wes Anderson

Apr 28, 2013
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Withnail & I vs Star Wars mashup by raffjones

When an out-of-work droid finds himself far from his natural habitat of Camden, thrown deep into a galaxy far far away, it does nothing to dampen his quest for cake, tea and the finest wines available to humanity…

Oh, this is good.

Filed under: Withnail & I

Jan 12, 2013
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Greedo versus Han Solo tip jars (via @hyams)

It makes me sad that Greedo’s is fuller.

UPDATE: @Hyams responds:


  . @austinkleon ah, see that’s the brilliant part. i think they dump the $ on greedo’s side to make you want to throw more in han. tip troll.


See also: Tupac vs. Biggie

Filed under: signs

Greedo versus Han Solo tip jars (via @hyams)

It makes me sad that Greedo’s is fuller.

UPDATE: @Hyams responds:

. @austinkleon ah, see that’s the brilliant part. i think they dump the $ on greedo’s side to make you want to throw more in han. tip troll.

See also: Tupac vs. Biggie

Filed under: signs

Dec 14, 2012
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Oct 01, 2012
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The People Vs. George Lucas

It suffers from being just a tad too long (it’s a rare movie that needs to be more than 90 minutes, and it’s a very rare documentary that needs to be more than 60) but I liked this documentary quite a bit. Here’s The Atlantic:


  The central question is this: What does a creator owe his fans, and what do the fans owe the creator in return? […] Does Lucas have the right to go back and change his films, and then make the originals more or less unavailable? At what point do creative works become more the domain of the public than the creator?


As a casual fan of Star Wars, I actually learned a lot about Lucas.  For instance, I didn’t know he was in a car crash as a teenager, and that was a major event in getting his life on track: “I thought, well, I’m here now, and every day now is an extra day.”

While I despise the existence of the prequels and the tinkered-with versions of the original episodes, I also found myself really sympathizing with Lucas. (He is, after all, the man who created Han Solo, Indiana Jones, and my beloved LucasArts game company.) Lucas started out as a film student who wanted to make personal, experimental films. In a lot of ways, Star Wars is the worst thing that could’ve happened to those ambitions. This idea is most clearly expressed by Francis Ford Coppola, one of Lucas’s oldest friends:


  The great success of Star Wars didn’t leave to the [independent films] and the personal filmmaking. George never made another film after that. Instead, he became a producer and an entrepreneur…We were deprived of those films that he was going to make and might have made. And instead we have an enormous industrial marketing complex…. No matter how many billions of dollars Star Wars could earn, no matter how valuable that franchise is, it isn’t worth a tenth of what he’s worth as an artist and what he’s capable of doing.


There’s a ton of things Lucas’s story makes me think about: the perils of success, how often worldbuilding and merchandising go hand-in-hand, the importance of constraints, criticism and collaboration, how the auteur theory can spin out of control, knowing when to quit and be finished…

Well worth a watch.

The People Vs. George Lucas

It suffers from being just a tad too long (it’s a rare movie that needs to be more than 90 minutes, and it’s a very rare documentary that needs to be more than 60) but I liked this documentary quite a bit. Here’s The Atlantic:

The central question is this: What does a creator owe his fans, and what do the fans owe the creator in return? […] Does Lucas have the right to go back and change his films, and then make the originals more or less unavailable? At what point do creative works become more the domain of the public than the creator?

As a casual fan of Star Wars, I actually learned a lot about Lucas. For instance, I didn’t know he was in a car crash as a teenager, and that was a major event in getting his life on track: “I thought, well, I’m here now, and every day now is an extra day.”

While I despise the existence of the prequels and the tinkered-with versions of the original episodes, I also found myself really sympathizing with Lucas. (He is, after all, the man who created Han Solo, Indiana Jones, and my beloved LucasArts game company.) Lucas started out as a film student who wanted to make personal, experimental films. In a lot of ways, Star Wars is the worst thing that could’ve happened to those ambitions. This idea is most clearly expressed by Francis Ford Coppola, one of Lucas’s oldest friends:

The great success of Star Wars didn’t leave to the [independent films] and the personal filmmaking. George never made another film after that. Instead, he became a producer and an entrepreneur…We were deprived of those films that he was going to make and might have made. And instead we have an enormous industrial marketing complex…. No matter how many billions of dollars Star Wars could earn, no matter how valuable that franchise is, it isn’t worth a tenth of what he’s worth as an artist and what he’s capable of doing.

There’s a ton of things Lucas’s story makes me think about: the perils of success, how often worldbuilding and merchandising go hand-in-hand, the importance of constraints, criticism and collaboration, how the auteur theory can spin out of control, knowing when to quit and be finished

Well worth a watch.

Oct 31, 2011
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Aug 13, 2010
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Did ‘Star Wars’ become a toy story? Producer Gary Kurtz looks back

Awesome profile of Gary Kurtz, producer of the first two Star Wars movie and second-unit director. Kurtz split before Jedi:

“I could see where things were headed,” Kurtz said. “The toy business began to drive the [Lucasfilm] empire. It’s a shame. They make three times as much on toys as they do on films. It’s natural to make decisions that protect the toy business, but that’s not the best thing for making quality films.”

Jedi was originally supposed to have a much different ending:

“We had an outline and George changed everything in it,” Kurtz said. “Instead of bittersweet and poignant he wanted a euphoric ending with everybody happy. The original idea was that they would recover [the kidnapped] Han Solo in the early part of the story and that he would then die in the middle part of the film in a raid on an Imperial base. George then decided he didn’t want any of the principals killed. By that time there were really big toy sales and that was a reason.”

The discussed ending of the film that Kurtz favored presented the rebel forces in tatters, Leia grappling with her new duties as queen and Luke walking off alone “like Clint Eastwood in the spaghetti westerns,” as Kurtz put it.

And mentions the great Billy Wilder!

“I took a master class with Billy Wilder once and he said that in the first act of a story you put your character up in a tree and the second act you set the tree on fire and then in the third you get him down,” Kurtz said. “ ‘Empire’ was the tree on fire. The first movie was like a comic book, a fantasy, but ‘Empire’ felt darker and more compelling. It’s the one, for me, where everything went right. And it was my goodbye to a big part of my life.”

Did ‘Star Wars’ become a toy story? Producer Gary Kurtz looks back

Awesome profile of Gary Kurtz, producer of the first two Star Wars movie and second-unit director. Kurtz split before Jedi:

“I could see where things were headed,” Kurtz said. “The toy business began to drive the [Lucasfilm] empire. It’s a shame. They make three times as much on toys as they do on films. It’s natural to make decisions that protect the toy business, but that’s not the best thing for making quality films.”

Jedi was originally supposed to have a much different ending:

“We had an outline and George changed everything in it,” Kurtz said. “Instead of bittersweet and poignant he wanted a euphoric ending with everybody happy. The original idea was that they would recover [the kidnapped] Han Solo in the early part of the story and that he would then die in the middle part of the film in a raid on an Imperial base. George then decided he didn’t want any of the principals killed. By that time there were really big toy sales and that was a reason.”

The discussed ending of the film that Kurtz favored presented the rebel forces in tatters, Leia grappling with her new duties as queen and Luke walking off alone “like Clint Eastwood in the spaghetti westerns,” as Kurtz put it.

And mentions the great Billy Wilder!

“I took a master class with Billy Wilder once and he said that in the first act of a story you put your character up in a tree and the second act you set the tree on fire and then in the third you get him down,” Kurtz said. “ ‘Empire’ was the tree on fire. The first movie was like a comic book, a fantasy, but ‘Empire’ felt darker and more compelling. It’s the one, for me, where everything went right. And it was my goodbye to a big part of my life.”

Jun 14, 2010
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May 23, 2010
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Harrison Ford and the Star Wars gang, Interview magazine, June 1977I dig the look.

Harrison Ford and the Star Wars gang, Interview magazine, June 1977

I dig the look.

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