There’s some great stuff from Lucasfilm head honcho Kathleen Kennedy at Vanity Fair today.
George made it personal. He just made a movie that meant something to him. And I think that’s probably the biggest challenge for anybody stepping into this is that they can’t spend a lot of time thinking about what other people are going to think of the movie. They have to come at it from the point of view of, What does this mean to me and what does it have to do with me? Frankly, I don’t think great movies ever get made unless there’s some aspect of that going on between the creator and the story that’s being told. It can only become emotional [for an audience] if it’s operating on some kind of personal passion.
She also the emotional resonance of Star Wars, the old school experience, and how she and Steven Spielberg ended up hiring J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) to fix up those old Super 8 films.
Vanity Fair isn’t done just yet: In addition to (finally) posting their complete cover story on The Force Awakens, they have an interview with Lawrence Kasdan where he talks about the old film, the new film, and hints that Lando Calrissian’s journey isn’t over just yet.
As for TFA, less is more when it comes to running time:
…it’s turning out really great. J.J. directed it so beautifully, and it’s so exhilarating and everything. It’s a big movie. It’s full of wonderful stuff, incident and character stuff and jokes and effects. One of the things that we always refocus on from the get-go was that it not be one of these very long, bloated blockbusters. A lot of very entertaining movies lately are too long. In the last 20 minutes, you think, why isn’t this over? We didn’t want to make a movie like that. I mean, we were really aiming to have it be—when it’s over you’ll say, “I wish there’s more.” Or, “Wait, is it over?” Because how rarely you get that feeling nowadays, and I think we’re headed there. But it means that there will be constant critical looking at it from now to the end, saying, “Do we need this? Do we need that? Is it better if this comes out, even though we love it?” Killing your darlings.
The official street date for this month’s Vanity Fair was yesterday, so if you still need a copy of the article that drove fandom nuts on the 4th you’re probably more than safe to go looking. (FYI, certain things about the article have been wildly exaggerated, but that’s pretty much par for the course.) UPDATE: The full article is now online.
But if you’re here for the usual books and comics, there’s always Star Wars #5, dropping on Wednesday. Preview? Preview.
How much of The Force Awakens is George Lucas? Well, per the Vanity Fair article (much of which still isn’t online, which means you’re going to be reading dozens of interpretations until it is) the answer is: Not a lot. I’m off to see if I can find a copy…
Today, Vanity Fair has their J.J. Abrams interview, where The Force Awakens director talks about not overexplaining things, his weirdest moment, and capturing the tone of Star Wars. Also, a horrible Max von Sydow pun.
Now, what sparked a lot of discussion today was this bit:
Well, what’s cool is we’ve obviously had a lot of time [during the development process] to talk about what’s happened outside of the borders of the story that you’re seeing. So there are, of course, references to things, and some are very oblique so that hopefully the audience can infer what the characters are referring to. We used to have more references to things that we pulled out because they almost felt like they were trying too hard to allude to something. I think that the key is—and whether we’ve accomplished that or not is, of course, up to the audience—but the key is that references be essential so that you don’t reference a lot of things that feel like, oh, we’re laying pipe for, you know, an animated series or further movies. It should feel like things are being referenced for a reason.
Earlier, they talks about how A New Hope just dropped in references to things like the Clone Wars, and as someone who’s experienced great anvil fatigue over the past decades, I greatly appreciate a return to that, whether it be random whatevers that happened between trilogies or old stuff we already know.
And now, the actual Vanity Fair photoshoot is up – with one more photo set to go out in their email newsletter. We do get a name for Lupita Nyong’o’s CGI character: Maz Kanata, a pirate who has a castle populated with a variety of riffraff. We also get a nice shot of Oscar Isaac and his X-Wing, Rey (and J.J. Abrams) on Jakku and Abrams with Kathleen Kennedy, John Williams and Lawrence Kasdan.
UPDATE: And the last photo has been spotted. Gwendoline Christie is confirmed as Captain Phasma, the chrome stormtrooper. You can read most of the article at VF as well, plus the prequel spreads are back up!
A little bit of Vanity Fair’s cover story on The Force Awakens went up at midnight – along with a behind-the-scenes video that gives us a peek at what some of the pictures may be – including a helmetless Kylo Ren (Yes, he’s Adam Driver. Shocking!)
There’s also a bigger version of the cover, but no more pictures – yet. One is set to go out in VF’s email newsletter tomorrow afternoon, though. And head below the cut for a few screenshots from the video.
The issue will be available digitally on May 7, and on newsstands May 12.