Wednesday, May 11, 2005

One week....and a little bit more. STAR WARS. (interviews)


George Lucas on Star Wars, Fahrenheit 9/11, and his own legacy
Online exclusive: Q&A with the mythmaker behind Revenge of the Sith.
By Steve Silberman

WIRED: You've been working on Star Wars for almost 30 years and now it's finished. Do you feel a sense of release?

LUCAS: Yes. I've enjoyed Star Wars enormously, but it's great to be able to look forward to projects that I've wanted to do for a long time I get to go back to what I was doing before this big thing happened.

What are you doing to reconnect with who you are, apart from being the guy who made Star Wars?

I try to stay in touch with that part of myself, especially when I'm writing. Unfortunately, when I was supposed to be writing Star Wars, I would end up doing more reading and thinking than writing. When you're writing for three or four months, you go places where ordinary human beings wouldn't care to go, unless you were a Tibetan monk. Most writers spend a lot of time trying to avoid that, so you make excuses as to why you should read this or that book. Usually I come up with lots of ideas for films that I really want to do.

None of the films I've done was designed for a mass audience, except for Indiana Jones. Nobody in their right mind thought American Graffiti or Star Wars would work.

But the second trilogy certainly had a built-in audience.

Yeah, everyone says the second trilogy was a slam dunk. But there was a lot of controversy around here about the fact that I wasn't doing the obvious -- I wasn't doing the commercial version of what people expected. People expected Episode III, which is where Anakin turns into Darth Vader, to be Episode I. And then they expected Episodes II and III to be Darth Vader going around cutting people's heads off and terrorizing the universe. But how did he get to be Darth Vader? You have to explore him in relationships, and you have to see where he started. He was a sweet kid, helpful, just like most people imagine themselves to be. Most people said, "This guy must have been a horrible little brat -- a demon child." But the point is, he wasn't born that way -- he became that way and thought he was doing the right thing. He eventually realizes he's going down the dark path, but he thinks it's justifiable. The idea is to see how a democracy becomes a dictatorship, and how a good person goes bad -- and still, in the end, thinks he's doing the right thing.

It's common these days to talk about good and evil in terms of gray areas, but in your films, good and evil are more strictly defined.

It's the more old-fashioned version of good and evil -- the version that those of us who grew up in the '40s and '50s had, when there was a strong sense of good and evil because of World War II. That's one of the few times in history when the bad guys were very clearly delineated for us. There really was a fight for survival going on between pretty clearly good guys and bad guys.
The story being told in Star Wars is a classic one. Every few hundred years, the story is retold because we have a tendency to do the same things over and over again. Power corrupts, and when you're in charge, you start doing things that you think are right, but they're actually not.

Did you always intend to make a second trilogy?

The original story is really the first three films. I never thought I would get to tell the backstory, because I had to design Star Wars in a very limited way to fit it into the technology I had at the time. I did the same thing with THX 1138 -- I had to create a futuristic world without special effects and without sets. With each film, I pushed the envelope of technology. For Star Wars I had to develop a whole new idea about special effects to give it the kind of kinetic energy I was looking for. I did it with motion-control photography. I had a lot of experience with animation, so it was a matter of taking the technology of animation and moving it into effects. For The Empire Strikes Back, I had to create an actor who could do a believable performance and still only be two-and-a-half feet high. I had the whole center of the film resting on us being able to pull that idea off and not have Yoda look like Kermit. If I had failed at any one of those things, the films would have died a horrible death. I had to make it all believable somehow, even though it was completely ridiculous. I had to say, "This is real. We fly around in spaceships with Wookiees -- this is all real stuff, real people." That was the hardest part.

After Return of the Jedi, I said to myself, "Now I'm going to take some time off and raise my kids, and later on, I'll come back and do my personal films, because that's really what I want to do."

So why did you come back to Star Wars instead of making "personal films"?

Fifteen years later, we had made such advances at Industrial Light & Magic, especially with Jurassic Park. That was the watershed of being able to create realistic characters using digital technology. So I thought about it again. I could do cities like Coruscant, I could do a pod race, I could do other things that up to that point had been impossible. The defining factor was the Star Wars Special Edition, where the thing was to create a real Jabba the Hutt. Not a big rubber thing, but a digital actual character. I figured if I could do that, then I could do everything else. When we brought out the Special Edition, we didn't really expect it to bring in much of an audience. We had a sense that we hadn't sold very many VHS tapes -- I think about 300,000 -- which is nothing compared to the 11 million that E.T. did. So I said that this would be an experiment, and hopefully we'll get our money back.

The success of that rerelease not only told me that I could create these creatures and build better sets and towns than I could before, but that the Star Wars audience was still alive -- it hadn't completely disappeared after 15 years. I decided that if I didn't do the backstory then, I never would. So I committed to it, and here I am finished. So now I'm going to do what I thought I was going to do back then.

In addition to the experimental films that you say you want to make now, you've expressed an interest in making historical films.

Yes, but I don't want to get into situations where people say, "That's not historically correct." History is fiction, but people seem to think otherwise. The thing I like about fantasy and science fiction is that you can take issues, pull them out of their cultural straitjackets, and talk about them without bringing in folk artifacts that make people get closed minded.

Give me an example of what you mean by a folk artifact.

Fahrenheit 9/11. People went nuts. The folk aspects of that film were George Bush or Iraq or 9/11 or -- intense emotional issues that made people put up their blinders and say, "I have an opinion about this, and I'm not going to accept anything else." If you could look at these issues more open-mindedly -- at what's going on with the human mind behind all this, on all sides -- you could have a more interesting conversation, without people screaming, plugging their ears, and walking out of the room like kids do.

And you do that by --By making the film "about" something other than what it's really about.

Which is what mythology is, and what storytelling has always been about. Art is about communicating with people emotionally without the intellectual artifacts of the current situation, and dealing with very emotional issues.

Life and death.Life and death, or "I really want to kill my father and have sex with my mother." It's hard to talk about that kind of thing in a family situation without somebody getting upset. But in art, you can deal with those issues. You begin to realize that other people have had the same experience or go down those same paths deep in their minds. Most stories are really told for adolescents, which is why Star Wars was aimed at adolescents. Societies have a whole series of stories to bring adolescents into adulthood by saying, "Don't worry, everybody thinks that way. You're just part of the community. We don't quite talk about it, but if you act on some of your notions, here's what will happen: Zeus will reach down and smash you flat like a bug or the entire Greek army will come and crush your city and burn everybody inside of it, including your heroes." These lessons are continually handed down from generation to generation. I love history, so I create an environment -- in the past, present, or future -- that allows me to tell the story, but in a way that's not incendiary.

A film like Casablanca was an instructive fable designed for adults, and there were lessons in it about choices and love that I couldn't possibly have understood as an adolescent.

Do you aspire to make films that do the same things for adults that Star Wars has done for adolescents?

Once people get out of college, they're set in their worldview. With a film like Fahrenheit 9/11, you can affect people who already believe that way, and they can say "Right on," but you can't affect people who have made up their minds the other way. I'm caught in this world where I'm an entertainer. A movie is a big deal. You either have to have unlimited resources or you have to make movies for an audience.

The movies that are the most interesting don't even make a million dollars. A million dollars means what? That maybe a couple of hundred thousand people saw it.

A film like Being John Malkovich was fairly experimental, but was able to reach --Yeah, I like those movies. They're inspired, and they did fairly well. I mean, I come from San Francisco. Stan Brakhage is esoteric. Being John Malkovich was sort of unusual. Eraserhead was esoteric.

What other films have you liked in recent years?

Amélie was great. But the best thing that's happened since Fahrenheit 9/11 is that now we can actually get documentaries in theaters. I have a little documentary unit now that's doing stuff for The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, but we're not going to stop there.

When the Biography Channel makes its documentary about you in 2050, how do you want to be remembered?

I'll be remembered as a filmmaker. The technological problems that I solved will be forgotten by then, but hopefully some of the stories I told will still be relevant. I'm hoping that Star Wars doesn't become too dated, because I think its themes are timeless. If you've raised children, you know you have to explain things to them, and if you don't, they end up learning the hard way. In the end, somebody's got to say, "Don't touch that hot skillet." So the old stories have to be reiterated again in a form that's acceptable to each new generation. I don't think I'm ever going to go much beyond the old stories, because I think they still need to be told.

Director George Lucas bids Vader goodbye — for good
By Knight Ridder News Service(Tuesday, May 10, 2005 1:00 am)

NICASIO, Calif. — Welcome to the house that Darth built. Actually, what is called the Main House at Skywalker Ranch, a few minutes outside San Rafael, is an exquisitely crafted and elegantly appointed Victorian model home. Just no one officially lives there.

The master of the manor, George Lucas, actually lives in San Francisco.

The house is used primarily to welcome visitors and clients, and to give people who work for LucasFilm and its special effects company Industrial Light & Magic a respite from their offices and work stations. Many of them work a short walk away at what is called the Tech House, which is where they and Lucas spent much of last year bidding Darth good-bye.

THE LUCAS FILE Name: George Walton Lucas Jr. Birthdate: May 14, 1944, in Modesto, Calif. Height: 5 foot 6 inches Background: Father was a stationery store owner. Lucas wanted to become a professional race car driver before he was injured in a crash. He went to Modesto Junior College before enrolling in the University of Southern California film school.

FILMS As director: "THX 1138" (1971) "American Graffiti" (1973) "Star Wars" (1977) "Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace" (1999) "Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones" (2002) "Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith" (2005) As producer: "More American Graffiti" (1979 — directed by Bill L. Norton) "Kagemusha" (1980 — directed by Akira Kurosawa) "Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back" (1980 — directed by Irvin Kershner) "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981 — directed by Steven Spielberg) "Body Heat" (1981 — directed by Lawrence Kasdan) "Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi" (1983 — directed by Richard Marquand) "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" (1984 — directed by Steven Spielberg) "Howard the Duck" (1986 — directed by Willard Huyck) "Tucker: The Man and His Dream" (1988 — directed by Francis Ford Coppola) "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" (1989 — directed by Steven Spielberg)

The demise of Darth Vader, one of the most well-known fictional villains in the world, occurred in 1983 in "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi." But Lucas swears we will see the last of Vader — also known as Anakin Skywalker — in the last of three prequels, "Episode III — Revenge of the Sith," opening May 19.

"Yes, this is really, really the end," says Lucas, who has opened the Main House, the Tech House and other buildings on the 5,000-acre spread of Skywalker to the curious, the fascinated and the obsessed one final time before he starts what he calls "the rest of my life."

He’s showing them his final "Star Wars" movie in his state-of-the-art screening room so they can write an end to this chapter of the story.

LucasFilm will continue production on "Clone Wars," an animated series spin-off of the franchise, and within a couple of years, hopes to launch a new live-action series that would take place in the years between episodes III and IV, but not feature any of the now-iconic characters from the film.

As for Lucas, he will be listed as a producer of these efforts, but his day-to-day involvement in anything "Star Wars" is at an end, he says.

But can he walk away from the most influential myth — and movie series — of the past half-century, not to mention an industry with an annual profit larger than some movie studios?

"I did it for 16 years," says Lucas, firmly. "I’m ready to do it for good."

Some critics argue that Lucas should have never returned to "Star Wars"11 years ago, when he began writing what would be released in 1999 as "Episode I — The Phantom Menace." It told the story of Anakin, a 9-year-old from the planet Tatooine, whose family is visited by a Jedi Knight and informed that he is the chosen one, a savior imbued with a magical power known as the Force who can maintain the balance of the universe if only he gets into the right school.

"Everybody believed ‘Star Wars’ was the story of Luke Skywalker," says Lucas, sipping soda in a small room attached to the recording studio where the sweeping orchestral scores for his movies are recorded. "It wasn’t. It was the story of Anakin, his father, who started as a hero and was then lured into the Dark Side by a powerful surrogate father, who convinced him that to save the wife he loved, and save the universe from the betrayal of the Jedi, he had to give in to his worst impulses — the lust for power, greed, selfishness — feelings all humans harbor. "

You can buy this or not, but I actually felt compelled to get the story I always wanted to tell on the record. It was Darth Vader who made the sacrifice by killing the evil Emperor who had seduced him." "

The Phantom Menace," undoubtedly the most anticipated movie ever made, was released in 1998 to mixed reviews. Most said that the special effects, thanks in part to animation director Rob Coleman, were the most remarkable ever seen onscreen, but that the story was weak and the dialogue was worse. The digitally created alien Jar Jar Binks, the film’s comic relief, was declared one of the most annoying characters ever made for a major film.

Producer Rick McCallum says he was sad, but not altogether shocked. "Writing has never been the easiest thing for George," says McCallum. "But he seemed to be the only one who could fathom his own vision; that, like the original three movies, these three were actually one big movie, too, so you had to start with Anakin as a kid. ‘Phantom Menace’ is a kids’ movie, and the kid who was 8 when he saw it is 15 or 16 now, and he’s ready for the darker, more ominous tone of the final act, ‘Episode III.’ He knows now the world is not just pod racing and adventure, that it’s full of evil and betrayal."

If the criticism Lucas received for casting Jake Lloyd as 9-year-old Anakin was harsh, it only intensified when he chose little-known TV actor Hayden Christensen to play the teenage Anakin.

Then there was the script that was pretty much gutted by critics. "Listen, I was thrilled to get the role," he says. "It was one of the greatest parts ever, and I just wanted to do the best I could do. ... I just said to myself, I am George’s voice. This is his vision, and I’m here to fulfill it, and that’s how we worked." Christensen believes that "Revenge of the Sith" will ultimately make the previous two episodes more palatable. "I felt that everybody felt more comfortable with this, and I know I’m looking forward to going back and looking at episodes IV, V and VI now because this changes everything. You’ll see them in a different way."

And that, claims Lucas, was always the point. "I could have never conceived this, because I always thought ‘ Star Wars’ was like the first act of the movie in my head, and I never really thought I would get the opportunity to make the ending. "You have to remember, nobody wanted to make that movie. They (the studios) didn’t get it. Then I get to go back and explain the beginning. It’s still the classic hero’s journey, but because it’s just been made backwards so to speak, in reverse chronology, we’re just now seeing where the hero gets corrupted, before he gets redeemed."

Mark Hamill Reminisces on 'Star Wars'
By JAKE COYLE, Associated Press WriterTue May 10, 2:10 PM ET
Though the new "Star Wars" movie ends with Luke Skywalker as a baby, the Jedi knight grew up a long time ago.

Since immortalizing Skywalker, actor Mark Hamill, now 53, has spent most of his time working on Broadway ("Amadeus," "The Elephant Man," "Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks") and doing cartoon voice-overs.

Last week, the DVD was released for 1980's "The Big Red One," the critically lauded Samuel Fuller war film Hamill co-starred in with Lee Marvin. Hamill directed his own movie in 2004, the fictional documentary "Comic Book: The Movie."

Later this year, Hamill hopes to begin production on "The Black Pearl," an adaptation of the comic book he created. He is currently setting up an animated series about a city apartment building, seen through the eyes of pets.

While in New York searching for animators for the show, Hamill took a moment to reflect on that galaxy far, far away.

AP: While you're in New York, will you visit the fans camping outside the Ziegfeld Theater?

Hamill: I don't know. I don't want to upset them. I've always been sort of fascinated with that. I'll tell you, the very first time I ever experienced the phenomenon, the day ("Star Wars") opened in 1977, a car came to pick me up and take me to see the 35-millimeter version. ... I said to the driver, 'Can you go by Grauman's Chinese Theater, because I want to see what the marquee looks like.' I could not believe my eyes — there were lines around the block. I thought it would be a hit, but I thought it would be by word of mouth. I didn't expect it on the first day.

AP: What were your expectations? They couldn't have been for it to turn out like it has.

Hamill: No, of course not. But I was one of the optimist bunch and I'm on record predicting, 'This thing is going to make more money than "Planet of the Apes."' I was looking at it from the standpoint of whether our options would be picked up to do parts II and III. And I said, 'There's no way this will fail' — because it's got a sense of humor. It's the key element that most science fiction films don't have, which is a sort of arch sense of humor. Now, we're playing it completely straight, but it's inherently absurd. I mean, I can't tell you how much we laughed on the set to have Alec Guinness in a scene with a big, furry dog that's flying a space ship.

AP: What are your feelings about the movies finally ending?

Hamill: I've learned that the movies will never finally end. It just goes on and on and on and on. I mean, it's going to be in 3D, then it's going to be smellivision, then it's going to be a ride in an amusement park, then they'll come to your house and perform it with puppets on your lawn ... it'll never end! I accepted that a long time ago. EDITOR'S NOTE: WELL IT'S ALREADY A RIDE IN THE AMUSEMENT PARK. BUT FROM HIS MOUTH TO GOD'S EARS THAT IT WON'T EVER END. (I MEAN, IF IT ENDED, I'D HAVE TO GET A LIFE, OR SOMETHING, RIGHT?)

AP: Have you found it confining to be known primarily as Luke Skywalker?

Hamill: Jackie Gleason had "The Honeymooners" — there are other parallels to people that do things that sort of transcend everything else they've ever done. And you can either get frustrated and focus on the negative aspect of that or you can just let it roll of your back like water off a duck's back, laugh and move on. Because if I didn't believe that the most interesting challenges were ahead of me, I probably would retire. I've invested well, I'm not hurting for money. To me, 'Harrigan 'n Hart' (a musical Hamill starred in for its brief 1985 run) is one of the biggest triumphs of my career, and yet it was not considered a commercial success. But for someone like me who had never done a musical before to hold my own among people that had done 30 musicals, that really felt like an accomplishment to me. The Drama Desk nomination for best actor in a musical was just icing on the cake. Yea, I would have loved to have it run and maybe it would have changed my career because I love theater so much. I think theater has given me the opportunity to show what a character actor I can be.

AP: But when it's all said and done, do you have some pride to have played one of the most famous heroes of all time?

Hamill: You know where it comes from? It's not so much from the industry ... but the 9-year-old kid who looks at you like a cross between Superman and Santa Claus. And you'd have to be a really, really hardened cynic not to be moved by that. Not only that, but just doing the interviews for this animation series, I can't tell you how many people have said, "I got into the business because of that movie." ... I totally understand that because I remember walking out of "Jason and the Argonauts" (1963) and saying, "I don't know how they got those skeletons to fight, but someday I want that to be my job. To make skeletons fight. I never saw myself so much as an actor. I wanted to be a cartoonist like Charles Schulz and create my own world and be able to have a studio at home and not commute and be able to be with my family. I just didn't have the skills to pull that off and so I've gravitated toward theater because I like all of it.

AP: Will you be part of the brouhaha for 'Revenge of the Sith?'

Hamill: I couldn't get on a lot of the late night shows I wanted to for "Comic Book: The Movie." But of course when these Star Wars movies come out, they all want you to come in and do this sketch or that sketch. And it's tempting, but I want to hold off, because I want to have something new. ... It seems to me, that no matter how modest it is, you've got to offer them something new, so that you don't become a nostalgia artist. And that's always been what I strive to do. EDITOR'S NOTE: I LOVE YOU LUKE SKYWALKER!!!!

JOSEPH KLEIMAN: Let’s start off with Episode I. This was the first film to be released digitally. How many screens was that?

RICK MCCALLUM: It was just 4 screens in Los Angeles and New York. We shot most of Episode 1 on film with about 25 shots shot digitally with the SONY HD camera and absolutely no-one could tell which the digital shots were.

JK: For Episode III, how many digital screens will there be?

RM: On Episode II, we had 90 digital screens in the US and 35 in the rest of the world. Unfortunately, for Episode III it’s dropped to 80 digital screens in the US, but increased to around 350 in the rest of the world.

JK: Why are you so insistent that people shoot digitally?

RM: Actually, we couldn’t care less if a filmmaker shoots on film or digitally, but if a director prefers film then, at the very least, we believe he should create a digital intermediate and have the film projected digitally. We were the first to shoot with HD digital cameras, and we were the first to edit with nonlinear systems. Now, a lot of people are very excited about the quality of the latest digital lenses, cameras and recorders. Guess what? At the end of the day the studios and the exhibitors have no other choice – it’s an adapt or die situation. It may take 2 years, it may take 5 years or even longer but it’s going to happen.

JK: Walt Ordway of the DCI told me last week that the digital deployment may take an additional year due to security issues. You said at the Celebration III Fan Convention that a base of 3000 screens are needed before Episode I can be exhibited in 3D. Is that really going to happen by 2007?

RM: What I said was it would be fantastic if, by 2007, we could have 3000 screens. We’re very optimistic about having enough screens but if there are only 1000 to 2000 then we’ll just have to see if we can make it work.

JK: What about the security issue?

RM: Security is a serious and ongoing issue for every movie and has been for the last decade. But one of the really cool things about digital 3-D is that you simply can’t pirate it or copy it in a theatre.

JK: Brad Wechsler, the co-CEO of IMAX told the Hollywood Reporter they had completed a 3-D conversion of a scene from Episode III. He said, and I quote here, “It looked exquisite.”

RM: First of all I’ve never even met that guy and second of all, what I’ve heard from people that I trust who have seen it, is that it didn’t look good.

JK: So are you saying that you have never met either Brad Wechsler or Rich Gelfond?

RM: Yes, that’s right. Not only have I never met them but I don’t even know who they are! I have only ever dealt with Greg Foster.

You have to understand, we didn’t have a great experience working with IMAX on Episode II.

A good friend of ours asked us to help IMAX out on Episode II.. They needed a big picture and we wanted to help them. But they promised us the world on Episode II, and never delivered on the number of screens they got for us.

We still love the idea of large screen formats, whether they are IMAX or conventional cinema.

The problem we had with IMAX was that, as they are set up now, they are just simply too expensive to work with. We loved the work that David Keighley did for us on the DMR processing – absolutely stunning – but with the rest of the IMAX overhead it just doesn’t make sense to go through all the trouble.

From what I understand, none of the Disney large format releases have used their DMR process. The animated movies were recorded out to film from original high resolution proprietary digital files that Disney uses for archiving. While DKP did the record out of Fantasia, it was not the DMR process.

In fact, I’ve heard that Rick Gordon at RPG handled all of the postproduction for almost all of Disney’s large format films after Fantasia, not IMAX.

All of Disney’s non-animated features including Young Black Stallion, Ghosts of the Abyss, Aliens of the Deep, and I think even the upcoming Mars used original capture on various film or video formats, none of them used the DMR process. As good and efficient as David’s set-up is, you have to stop and ask, why is anyone paying millions of dollars for their overhead?

JK: So why did you even consider working with IMAX on Episode III?

RM: The reason is very simple – we had been working with In-Three for a couple of years and they had proved to us that they have a real technology that actually works and that could be done in a cost effective way. They can take any 2-D movie and with their unique technology and turn it into a realistic 3-D movie. We gave them 10 minutes of New Hope footage and just weeks later they were back with the most astonishing 3-D footage I have ever seen.

Out of nowhere, IMAX got in touch with us, but we made it perfectly clear that we were not interested in working with them again in a 2-D environment. IMAX suggested a gimmick of showing the last 20-30 minutes of Episode III in 3-D and having In-Three dimensionalize™ it. We were interested in that suggestion but only if In-Three did the conversion using their process, which we were so impressed with. The only Episode III footage I gave directly to IMAX was just 3 minutes for them to do a comparison test of full-frame to 16:9 aspect ratios so that we could work out the transition between the 2-D and 3-D sections of the movie if we went ahead with their suggestion.

In the end of the day it was too much of a gimmick – and it all become too much of a drama, which was a shame because I was really excited about the idea.

JK: Have you seen the clip that Wechsler mentioned?

RM: No I haven’t, nor am I interested in seeing it. And the reason is, I was very upset that IMAX had the audacity to show it to a group of executives from another studio without asking for our permission or even telling us about it!

JK: But Star Wars and IMAX have a long history together. Ben Burtt’s worked on a number of IMAX films, and the opening scene from Episode IV was reshot for the IMAX screen for Ben’s film “Special Effects.”

RM: No, that’s not right. Ben Burtt is one of the most versatile and consummate filmmakers in the business. He was hired to direct a film about the history of visual effects by Nova Large Format Productions who financed and produced the film. Lucasfilm gave Ben and Nova permission to include Star Wars clips in that film. There were other studios’ films included in that movie as well; it wasn’t just Star Wars. The relationship between Nova and IMAX was a strict distribution deal and IMAX had nothing to do with the making of the movie whatsoever.

JK: Do you believe that IMAX can do a live action 3-D conversion for a feature film?

RM:To tell you the truth, I have no idea. There’s a lot of confusion about who converted “Polar Express”. It was rendered to 3-D in CGI by Sony Imageworks and not by IMAX.

But even if IMAX could do it or have done it, the problem for them is that they are always going to be limited by the number of screens they have. The fact is that the technology now exists to show 3-D movies digitally in any conventional multiplex cinema which means hundreds of screens now and eventually thousands of screens. On another note the technology is very complex and takes years to develop and I think it’s going to be difficult for anyone to suddenly jump on the bandwagon.

JK: Let’s move on to television. You produced one of my favorite series, “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.” Will you be producing the “Star Wars” television series as well?

RM: Really, I don’t know what I’ll be doing after this. I’m not sure if I’ll be involved in the series. We’ll be regrouping in September and will figure out then what we’re doing.

JK: Back in 1998, Tony Baxter of Walt Disney Imagineering told me that a new Star Tours film was in the works. With the ride coming on being 20 years old, and George confirming that if it ever happens, it will use a digital projection system, when is this new film going to premiere?

RM: We’ve been working on getting a new film in there for the past 16 years. This ride is definitely starting to look its age. But you need to ask Disney. They’re the ones in charge – Lucasfilm just licenses the Star Wars property to them for the ride.

JK: Any final words?

RM: We had a Digital Conference last week, here at Skywalker Ranch, with 60 great filmmakers who were all completely blown away with what In-Three did with our footage. And at the ShoWest conference in Las Vegas recently, we also showed 10 minutes of New Hope, which In-Three had dimensionalized™, to Jim Cameron, Robert Rodriguez, Randall Kleiser and Bob Zemeckis. They were stunned by the quality and I think everybody, including all the theatre owners who were there, is very excited about the future of 3-D movies.


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