So it’s 2009 and you’ve made it through the Prequel Trilogy and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. You’ve argued till you’re blue in the face about midichlorians, Darth Vader being a whiny spoiled brat, wooden acting, petrified dialogue, Han shooting first and generally made mountains out of prairie dog molehills about everything related to George Lucas. Somewhere in the discussions, Howard the Duck has certainly come up. There may be more gray area than in the the Beard’s hair to the issue, but generally you know where you stand by now. Do you still love him? Still loathe him? What would you want to say to him and what would you hope that he would say to you, the fans?
These are just some of the topics that director Alexandre Philippe (The Spot) is addressing in his new documentary, The People vs. George Lucas. BadTaste got him for an interview about tackling possibly the most caustic subject in fandom circles. The interview veers into the sappy Hollywood generalities at times, but Philippe seems to be interested in presenting an earnest accounting of the situation. Below are a couple of excerpts and you can head over to BadTaste for the entire interview.
Was it difficult to have people talk about George Lucas? Did you perceive some fear from any of the people you have contacted?
Absolutely. And I think that’s a shame. There are a number of people who clearly have something to say and who regretfully turned us down because of how fearful they are of him. Now that we’re about to approach the likes of Kevin Smith, Seth Green and Joss Whedon, it will be interesting to see who (if any of them) actually gives us the light of day. Don’t get me wrong: I understand this fear. They’re probably wondering: why should we trust these guys? In a sense, I think that’s how Michael Moore has damaged the reputation of documentary filmmakers, because now people are afraid to speak for fear that their words will be used against them. We just want to get people’s honest opinions, and they have to realize that this isn’t a George Lucas ‘hate fest’-far from it. We need as many positive comments about George as we can get, and hopefully, some celebrities will understand what we’re trying to accomplish.
What is the suggestion you would give to George Lucas to win back the love of the fans? Do you think he should pass the franchise to some young director and dedicate his time to something else?
I think that may be part of it. Many people are disappointed that he still hasn’t made the personal, experimental films that he’s claimed on many occasions he really wants to make. One certainly wonders: what’s holding him back? He has the money, the resources, and the audience. Clearly, he must be under a lot of pressure to make more STAR WARS or INDIANA JONES films, because these are huge money makers-no matter how good or bad they turn out. Part of me tends to believe (as much as I hate to believe it) that he’s afraid to move beyond STAR WARS. I think he probably wonders if he’s truly capable of it. And I think he should realize that millions of his fans do believe he is. And what an event that would be—to finally see a new kind of George Lucas film! So I think he’s like Luke in A NEW HOPE at the moment. He needs to learn to trust The Force. Because it’s always been pretty strong with him. Also, I think he should participate in our documentary. Truly, he has nothing to fear. And I do believe the fans would interpret it as a really cool gesture on his part to say “hey, okay, I acknowledge the fact that many of you have a lot of criticism for me, and let me tell you why I did what I did.” It’s not about humiliating him. That would be arrogant. It’s about bridging the gap between George and his fans, once and for all.
Thanks to Andrea for the tip.