Ed Driscoll

Who Knew that THX-1138 was Lucas' Attempt at Realistic Dialog?

Ben Domenech on “George Lucas Reconsidered:”

After seeing the Red Letter review of Revenge of the Sith — the best part which is the “sitting on a couch” sequence. “Would you like some refreshment while I talk about your mother being murdered and raped?” — I thought of these quotes from the early pages of The Making of The Empire Strikes Back, an excellent book every Star Wars fan should own. A smattering:

“George made an analogy between the real estate business and the film business,” says Weber [Lucasfilm CEO]. “There are three rules in the real estate business: location, location, location. And three rules in the movie business: script, script, script.” … Lucas had written Star Wars himself, out of necessity, but he did not enjoy the job, which was laborious …

With Brackett [the original scriptwriter] hospitalized, everyone waiting to get started, a locked-in production schedule, and no other writer on hand, Lucas was left with no choice but to write the second draft himself. “George doesn’t like to write,” [director Irvin] Kershner says. “He hates writing.”

“I’ve retired from directing,” Lucas says [in a memo regarding finding a director for Empire]. “If I directed Empire then I’d have to direct the next one and the next for the rest of my life. I’ve never really liked directing. I became a director because I didn’t like directors telling me how to edit, and I became a writer because I had to write something in order to be able to direct something. So I did everything out of necessity, but what I really like is editing.”

So to be clear: Lucas 1) hates to write, 2) hates to direct, and 3) only likes editing. But later in the book it gets into the fact that Lucas hated the way Kershner had filmed it when it got to the editing stage, since Kershner had given him a lot less to work with (in fact, after the first cut is done, Lucas leaves for Japan). Throughout the process, Lucas talks about how he wants everything to be like a documentary, a ton of material to work with once you get into the cutting room — instead, Kershner gives him very limited options with just the adapted (often on-set) dialogue and shots. So 3) is only true if he’s got all of 1) and 2) just the way he likes it?

The whole of the thing you will read, young padawan.

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