George Lucas always has the same thing to say: he's ready to make small, personal arthouse movies just like his buddy Francis Ford Coppola. He always has this to say when his latest Star Wars thing gets released. Four years ago I asked him about his continual claims that he wants to make small, personal arthouse movies and he essentially dodged the question, saying “I just don’t have time."
His latest effort, Red Tails (which he produced and Anthony Hemingway directed), offers him yet another chance to say that he's going to do his little arthouse movies. And this time his henchman Rick McCallum agrees, giving a quote that sounds like an epitaph:
“Once this is finished, he’s done everything he’s ever wanted to do... He will have completed his task as a man and a filmmaker.”
And then one assumes he can ascend into heaven.
George also says he's done with Star Wars (except for the six rereleased movies in 3D and the upcoming TV show, I guess), and it's the fault of the fans.
“On the Internet, all those same guys that are complaining I made a change [to the original cuts of the Star Wars films] are completely changing the movie,” Lucas says, referring to fans who, like the dreaded studios, have done their own forcible re-edits. “I’m saying: ‘Fine. But my movie, with my name on it, that says I did it, needs to be the way I want it.’ ”
Lucas seized control of his movies from the studios only to discover that the fanboys could still give him script notes. “Why would I make any more,” Lucas says of the “Star Wars” movies, “when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?”
It's interesting that he seems to have no real understanding of why people dislike him changing the original films so much. I really think a lot of this comes from the post-Phantom Menace period, when he obviously listened to fan griping too much and ended up with a movie like Attack of the Clones that satisfied no one. Phantom Menace, bad as it is, is a personal vision from him. The next two films are bending over backwards for fans.
George Lucas is in a weird place, where he sees everybody lined up against him. The article also has him whining about Hollywood big shots not attending a screening of Red Tails (a film we were not invited to see, for the record. Not that I'm a Hollywood big shot, but just as a way of explaining why there won't be a review on BAD), and chalking the film's long development solely up to racism. There's surely an element of that involved - Hollywood will not spend a lot of money on black movies - but Red Tails, which doesn't look so great, feels like a weak argument against that racism.
So what'll probably happen is that Red Tails won't do terribly well, which will reinforce Hollywood's aversion to big black films.
I'm sure we'll hear all about it - and his plans for personal, arthouse films - when the time comes to sell the next Star Wars item to the press.