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November 01, 2005 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-11-01

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Tuesday
November 1, 2005
arts. michigandaily. com
artspage@michigandaily.com

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RTS

5

CLOSING
UP THE
GALAXY
PRODUCER RECALLS
SECOND TRILOGY'S
ORIGINS
By Imran Syed
Daily Arts Writer
The circle is complete today; the beginning
is now at an end. Perhaps the greatest movie
franchise of all-time,
"Star Wars" has grossed
over $3.5 billion in box Star Wars
office revenue worldwide Episode 11:
and boasts a fan base in Revenge of
the hundreds of millions. the Sith
Rick McCallum, producer 20th Century Fox
of Episodes 1-3, does not
see this as the end of big-
budget, cutting-edge films, but rather as a new
beginning for both "Star Wars" and the film
industry.
When the prequels began back in the late
1990s, a significant rift developed within the fan
base. McCallum says he saw the problem from
the beginning. "Way back in 1990-91, when
George (Lucas) told me "Episode I" was going
to be about an eight-year-old boy, I just looked at
him with horror in my eyes, and he said, 'Yeah
I know, we're going to get creamed for this.'
People in their 20s and 30s who had grown up
on the original films just loathed Episode I, and
then there were the kids who responded very
well to it." With the prequel trilogy officially
complete with today's release of "Episode III:
Revenge of the Sith," McCallum feels at ease, "I
think we really brought peace to the galaxy with
Episode III, people seemed to respond reason-
ably well to this one ... this was the story they
all wanted to see.
Known affectionately as Director George
Lucas's right-hand-man - and less affectionate-
ly as his boot-licker - McCallum wasn't always
on the fast-track to big-shot producer-hood: "My
major was comparative literature, so there was
no other real job I was going to possibly get."

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

OK, so Portman doesn't dig the scar. Grow up man.

But life works in mysterious ways, as con-
firmed by McCallum's discussion of his first
encounter with Lucas: "I was working on a very
low-budget film in the same studio as George
and he was working on "Return to Oz," this big-
budget American film." That encounter led to a
friendship that would make McCallum the pro-
ducer of the "Young Indiana Jones" TV series
and then the "Star Wars" prequels.
Much like Lucas himself, McCallum is an
outspoken critic of the mainstream Hollywood
establishment: "Hollywood ... is run by corpo-
rations and it instills nothing but fear ... there
are about 350 studio films made every year ...
yet you have to ask the question: Why are so
many of them so bad? And partly that is because
of the process. I don't believe freelance, creative
people can do their best in a fear-based environ-
ment."
Indeed he hopes that Hollywood will stop
dragging its feet and be more open to change,
saying of the legacy of his film: "Well, I hope,
(20-30 years from now), no one even sees the
films, because they're just a momentary blip on
the horizon. Truthfully, when you think on the
impact we have on popular culture and actu-
ally changing people's minds, we should be a

quantum leap ahead of where we are now these
multi-billion dollar businesses need to start
putting money into changing the very nature
in which we see movies, the way in which we
make them."
Fanboys who think life without new "Star
Wars" material will be as bleak and hopeless as
a duel with Lord Vader need not fret. McCal-
lum assures us that the proposed live action TV
series is still a go; "We haven't sat down and
figured out what all the scripts will be, what
all the characters will be, but it will be much
darker, much more character-based as opposed
to plot based. When we're finished it'll be 100
hours, all set in that 20 year period when Luke
is growing up ... Probably within a couple of
months we will be in full force and we should
start shooting at the beginning of 2007."
Also on the horizon is the re-release of all the
films, in cutting edge 3-D using a recently devel-
oped post-production format that has awed big-
budget film all-stars like Peter Jackson (whose
"King Kong" will be released in 3-D later this
year), Robert Zemeckis and James Cameron.
"(We have) a new wireless technology that uses
3-D glasses, but allows you to be in any section
of the theater in any seat and see true 3-D with-

out any eye-strain," McCallum said.
He is annoyed, however, by apathy of theater-
owners in improving their theaters to accommo-
date cutting-edge technology; "This will help
spear-head digital cinema, because you know
theater-owners are so greedy that maybe at least
they'll see this as an alternate form of revenue
for them. (This new 3-D technology is) more
by accident than anything else, starting to spur
digital cinema because you can only see it on
a digital projector. As soon as we have 1,500-
2,000 digital screens in the United States, that's
when it'll be economically worthwhile for us to
start, sometime in 2007, start releasing all the
films in 3-D.
For all the encouraging news, McCallum was
quick to quell rumors of a sequel trilogy: "This
is it ... there won't be any more films at all ...
that's finished." Ah, but fans of adventure and
death-defying bravery fear not, as McCallum
gave a definite yes to another "Indiana Jones"
film; "He (Lucas) is working on it. He's going to
meet with Steven Spielberg next week, and hope-
fully they will have a script that he, Steven and
Harrison (Ford) can agree on ... I don't think
it'll be his next movie but sometime around
2007 we should be looking for another Indy."

I I

The Department of Philosophy
The University of Michigan
a1nnounces
THE TANNER LECTURE ON HUMAN VALUES
2005-2006
MARSHALL SAHLINS
Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor Emeritts of Anthropology and of Social Sciences
University of Chicago
Hierarchy, Equality and the Sublimation of Anarchy:
The Western Illusion of Human Nature

'I

I

Friday, Novenmber 4, 2005 4:00 p.m.
Rackham Amphitheatre, 915 E. Washington

I1

I

.. _

SYMPOSIUM ON THE TANNER LECTURE

MARSHALL SAHLINS
E. VALENTINE DANIEL
Pr )fessor of Anthropology
Co umbi a University
LAN MORRIS
Jean and Rebecca Willard Professor of Classics
Professor of History
Stanford University
PHILIP PETTIT
William N.els()n Cromwel Professor of Politics
P-rinceton University

Thoniws (L,588- 1679)

I -t... A J-.1- I I -FIC U-14--

Jrili a a ama i (1735-1926) _ -- , I

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