Interview: Lucas Spins Latest Star Wars Yarn

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May 9, 2002 -- Long, long ago in a Hollywood far, far away, a young George Lucas screen-tested an even younger Harrison Ford for a film to be called Star Wars.

In the 26 years since, Star Wars has changed the way movies are watched, shown, seen and made. The fifth film in the most successful film series ever — by far — opens next week. Good Morning America's Joel Siegel sat down with Lucas to talk about Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones.

The following is an unedited, uncorrected transcript of Joel Siegel's interview with George Lucas which aired on Good Morning America Thursday, Feb. 7.

JOEL SIEGEL: You don't seem to be terribly nervous or anxious about this movie opening.

GEORGE LUCAS: Well, I'm not, really. Once I finish the movie, I've done the best job I can. I'm happy with it. No matter what happens, I'm going to be okay.

VOICE OVER TAPE: In the latest film, the actors are real, but just about everything else is computer-generated. What you see on the screen doesn't really exist anywhere, except in Lucas' imagination.

SIEGEL: My jaw drops. I mean, it's just that incredible. And I know that somebody thinks these things up. That must be the greatest job in the world.

LUCAS:Well, the most frustrating job in the world is to be able to think of them up and say you can't do them, which is what I was doing before, and that was really upsetting. And Phantom Menace was … we were learning the medium. But we figured things out, and now I can do it. You know, this is the movie that says, okay, I learned how to drive, now watch.

SIEGEL: I interviewed Sam Jackson (who plays Jedi character Mace Windu) and he said he would have no idea, he says, "What am I fighting?" And you would say, "Well, it's big."

SAMUEL JACKSON: It's me in a big green room by myself and George goes, "okay, fight," and you fight and fight and fight until he says "cut," and occasionally he'll say, "okay, there's a big thing coming at you." You go, "well, how big?" "Oh, as big as an SUV."

SIEGEL: Is that true?

LUCAS: Well, yeah, I mean, you know, we would have videomatics, which would do a little video, a little animated version of sort of what was going to happen. So he could actually see how the shots were going together and what it was going to be. And then we had a little model on the set out of the creature — here's the creature, this is what it looks like, only it's as big as an elephant.

VOICE OVER TAPE: It's hard to call a film that sold close to a billion dollars worth of tickets around the world a disappointment, but fans say they were disappointed with Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace. Lucas says he's heard this before.

LUCAS: What happens is the older people that see the movie get very upset with this sort of younger — you know, I won't say we're on the Barney level, but on the younger aspects of the movies, and they're in all the movies. And in Empire Strikes Back, the same thing happened to 3PO. They hated 3PO. They said that that jabbering — if that robot talked any more, it's so irritating. And then I did the next film, which had Ewoks in it, and these older fans, and the older adults, all went berserk. And then in Phantom it was about (the character) Jar Jar.

SIEGEL: An interesting quote I read in Time where you said, "I can't make a movie for fans."

LUCAS: Well, I can't. The audience wants all different things. I definitely am not a guy who markets my — that's market testing on my movies and says, oh, this is what the audience wants, so I'm going to give it to them. In the end, it really has to do more with storytelling than anything else.

VOICE OVER TAPE: In the movie, Anakin Skywalker boldly proclaims, "Someday I will be the most powerful Jedi ever."That is a clue that Anakin, played by actor Hayden Christiansen, will become Darth Vader — which is common knowledge to every Star Wars fan. But George Lucas is doing something else no else has ever done. He started his Star Wars saga in the middle and is ending with a movie that is really its start. The movie is not a sequel to the original, but rather a prequel designed to explain the history that led to what happened in the original movie.

LUCAS: I started with a very wonderful, giving, loving 10-year-old boy who said, How in the world could that possibly be Darth Vader?


LUCAS: Well, you've got to see the movie.

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