George Lucas brings the curtain down on his Star Wars saga
By Chris Betros
|Hayden Christensen, left,
Ian McDiarmid and George Lucas
If you do a search for Star Wars
on Yahoo, youll get about 58.5 million results. Given
all the websites and chat rooms populated by experts
on the 28-year-old space stories, its refreshing to
hear for a change from the man responsible for it allGeorge
Lucas, who made a quick visit to Japan this month with Canadian
actor Hayden Christensen, 24, and Scottish actor Ian McDiarmid,
61, to promote Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
Unless youve been living in a galaxy far, far away,
youll know the story of Sithhow a young Jedi knight
named Anakin Skywalker (Christensen) is seduced to the dark
side of the force by Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (McDiarmid)
and enters the pantheon of pop culture as Darth Vader. Reflecting
on the enduring appeal of the six Star Wars films, Lucas,
61, said, Star Wars is based on mythological motifs
from different countries. Some of them are stories that are
1,000 or 2,000 years old. Their emotional elements are very
strong and still work today in a storytelling medium.
Christensen, who wasnt even born when the first Star
Wars was made, said he felt overpowered when his character
finally becomes Darth Vader. Getting into the costume,
the helmet, the whole dealit was the way everyone on
the set looked at you, taking in Darth Vader for the first
time. Now that its all over (although filming
finished nearly two years ago), he admitted to a bit of a
letdown. Its been a large part of my life for
the past five years. Its come to a close and thats
a hard concept to get my mind around. Its very bittersweet.
McDiarmid, who revels in the role of the villainous Palpatine,
said he is enjoying his newfound exposure. In the early
films, I was behind a mask. I never thought I would revisit
the part. In Episodes I and II, I was manipulative and hypocritical,
just like a typical politician. In Sith, it was a great pleasure
to be so evil at last.
For Lucas, Sith marks the end of a long journey. Its
taken 10 years to finally see it all put together. These are
very difficult movies to make because as you go along, you
are imagining how it will look and making decisions based
on that, he said. It was just as difficult for the actors,
said Christensen. We had to wait two years until the
editing and special effects were put in to see how it turned
Lucas next challenge, besides producing the fourth Indiana
Jones movie, is to convince the legions of Stars Wars fans
that there will be no more films in the series. There
really is no more story, he said. Weve gone
from Anakin as a little boy through to him going over to the
dark side to his ultimately tragic death. I am working on
an animated TV series called The Clone Wars, which should
be out in a year or so. Later, I might do a live action TV
series based on minor characters of the Star Wars world.
But Lucas knows his Star Wars characters will always be with
him. I love them all. I can always pull out a DVD and
watch them, he said. But if I had to name a favorite,
Id say Yoda, then Anakin, the Emperor, and, of course,
Jar Jar Binks.
Bringing an anti-globalization cause to FILM
Documentary films have reached the mainstream in recent years,
but Stephanie Black was winning awards 15 years ago for her
first film, H-2 Worker. Her second, Life and Debt, shows at
Uplink Factory in Shibuya next weekend
Tell us about Life and Debt.
I was living in Jamaica and became aware of how the policies
of organizations like the International Monetary Fund were
crippling the economy and making people poorer.
Why were you living in Jamaica?
For H-2 Worker I visited camps in Florida where Caribbean
workers were brought in temporarily to harvest sugar cane.
There was an amazing Jamaican culture insidethe people,
music and food. I visited Jamaica and fell in love with the
country. I feel like my soul is rising when Im there.
What other projects are you working on?
I produce segments for Sesame Street and Nickelodeon and I
make music videos. This year I filmed a reality TV show about
Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston, and a documentary in Ethiopia
about celebrations to mark Bob Marleys 60th birthday.
Did anyone at the IMF see the film?
I know they did, because I received a very noisy telephone
Why have documentaries become more popular recently?
The news media doesnt look in depth at anything any
more. And it tries so hard to be objective it
never presents any perspective. I think people are craving
information and perspective.
What documentaries have you liked?
Control Room, about the goings on at Al Jazeera.
You finished Life and Debt in 2001, but youre still
People are still interested because they want to know why
people are opposed to globalization. The news media never
cover that bit.
So whats the solution?
Raise awareness and transparency. Buy locally from small-scale
What are your impressions of Japan?
Through reggae culture theres obviously already a strong
link with Jamaica. In general, it seems like a very gentle,
calm place with lovely people. It looks like a lot of fun.
Uplink Factory. July 23, 2:15pm.
July 24, 4:15pm. ¥1,500. 37-18 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku.
Tel: 03-6825-5502. www.uplink.co.jp
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