As you all know I got to live out my life long dream of visiting Skywalker Ranch last week and I had the amazing opportunity to chat with the maker himself George Lucas about his new film Strange Magic.
I’ve literally wanted to meet George Lucas since I was child. I can’t even remember the first time I saw Star Wars and fell in love with R2-D2. Naturally I was freaking out and cried a little bit, but it was great to get to finally get to meet this legendary film maker.
Pardon the not so good pictures as I had to get this post up today and I’m currently in Utah for a conference and only had my iPhone Pics to work with. I’m going to swap them out this afternoon once my hubby dropboxes me the good pics I took with my camera which I left at home since I forgot my hard drive. I digress…
The interview was partially a moderated interview, which means we had a moderator who asked George some questions to start off the interview and then opened it up to questions for us visiting media.
She started off by asking George to tell us a little bit about why he wanted to make this film. I really loved his response as it was very thoughtful and detailed.
It started quite a while ago, about 15 years ago, and I just got the idea that it would be fun. I mean I love to do musicals, I love to do musicals using my favorite music. So it kinda harkens back to my pre-Star Wars days. I thought it would be fun to make a film that was more for tween girls than Star Wars which is for tween boys, even though in the end everybody loved it and girls love it and, you know it all worked out. So I’m hoping that this one, even though it’s more teen-more teen girl-centric, hopefully it will engage all the boys and everybody will like it and because it’s at that magic age which you don’t make movies, unless it’s Hunger Games or something. You know the idea of an upbeat, fun, simple movie just appealed to me. I’d finished all the Star Wars and everything and I was producing films but I wanted to do one that I could actually get my-my hands dirty. So we started with a small group here designing things, doing animation tests and so it went on for years and years and years, you know I was kinda doing it on the side and you know it kept growing and it’s one of those fun movies I loved doing it because I love the music. I love coming to work on it, I love watching it, which is the key in the end for me. It’s something I did for the fun of it.
Strange Magic is really a film about how everyone deserves to be loved. The moderator asked George how did that theme emerge for George and did it emerge when he had the idea or was it more in the process?
Well the-the-the original process was to make a movie that is the difference between being infatuated and being truly in love. And, again since being infatuated ultimately is about surface value, surface issues and you know being really in love is about interior issues. I wanted to make a movie about that which is that. It’s very easy to be infatuated with somebody. And of course people are infatuated with boy bands and beautiful people and all the things you read in the magazines, all that kind of stuff, but in the end, from experience, you don’t really wanna be married to somebody like that. You really don’t wanna spend the rest of your life like that, and you really aren’t gonna have a serious, deep relationship with somebody like that. You know, they have a tendency to be with somebody else like that, which means that it doesn’t last very long. But as a result, it was just to play with that and say to young girls who are prone to infatuations, it’s not always the cutest guy in class that you really wanna be out with.
I said well I’ll never fall in love again it’s just not gonna happen, I was the old-old cranky bald king. No it’s never gonna happen to me, I just will never find anybody, and I found somebody who doesn’t look at all like me. I’m a 60s radical, government unhappy, Wall Street-hating person from San Francisco. I ended up meeting a woman who’s a head of a big investment management firm who’s on Wall Street who doesn’t look like me you know? She is the last person you would figure would fall in love with the bald king or I never thought I would fall in love with her since I am not into princesses. Now I got a princess and I got a little princess. My other princesses who have-have gone on to bigger and better things, so as time went on it became more meaningful to me because I realized that in the end, with my wife and stuff, we fell in love because we were exactly alike inside. It’s like the movie, you know first you say well, I hate this stuff, well that’s interest, you know?
You’re surprised, you realize that you have so much in common that you would never have thought of on the surface, and it’s the same thing again with Roland (A character in the film) which is, you know the classic pretty boy and, you know that story has been told over and over and over again but at the same time it’s, it needs to be retold, it’s the same thing I did when I started doing Star Wars and thinking about mythological motifs and the fact that kids need to at 12 years old. To me adolescence is a key period in a child’s life, and to make movies that say look, these are the issues, they may seem obvious to us ’cause we’ve been through it, maybe your parents have told you about this, maybe they haven’t but you need to know the story of why you have friendships and what a friendship means, why there are things in the world that are bigger than you are. All your complicated feelings with your parents and all these kinds of things are not unusual, they’re not just you, this is something that everybody goes through.
The moderators favorite part is the redemption at the end and asks George to talk about that message.
There’s an issue on this one which is I made it for older kids. That doesn’t mean, it’s like Star Wars. I mean five year olds watch Star Wars and you know you got people with their face burned off crawling up volcanoes and things and the kids seem to somehow survive it. But one of the things, especially for young girls, is to be brave. That’s a key element! You know the princesses are great, especially Marion, I mean she goes from being a princess who’s afraid of the dark force and everything, to somebody who is actually facing things that are scary, and getting through them.
Such a great message to teach young girls! George seems like the best dad in the world!
At this point I finally got to ask a question which I was so nervous to do but I mustered out that I read that he originally had a bunch of Beatles’ songs for the movie to bring the whole movie together. I wanted to know what were those songs and was he actually listening to those songs when he came up with the idea for this film?
Well things like you know, you-you could go to the Beatle catalogue and anything that’s got love in the title is something we had in there. And uh, All You Need Is Love, All, you know? Uh but again it’s, you know there’s a real world and that real world, this is a relatively inexpensive movie, small, very small, and uh, so, just like American Graffiti I couldn’t afford to put Elvis Presley in there. Um, and uh, so I-so I didn’t but I survived you know, it’s like everything else you have to kinda be strong, be brave and sometimes trim some of the things you really love.
It’s the difference between having a button-down movie and a indulgent movie. As I said we all love it and we sort of seen movies that has a lot of other stuff in it which is fun but, I’m extremely happy with the way it turned out. The story’s told very efficiently and the songs are still there. It’s great when you have what we had. What did we have like a hundred songs?
I was shocked to hear he had 100 songs in the film.
Something like that, they were all wonderful, they were all spectacular, and now what do we have, about 40?
One of the other filmmakers chimed in that it went from 45 to 25 songs.
Oh no wonder it was so painful. But they’re all great. You know we don’t go through long periods without music so to me it’s fun and there’s the part where you actually have to tell a story, so I think it melded correctly between the actual story and the dialogue and the characters and the music. They all feel like they belong together, to me anyway. But I’m very kind to my own movies.
The moderator chimed in asking if he started with a set of songs in mind, with this notion in mind to tell the story that are still in the film that you will get to see in theaters.
When I first started I took songs that told the story and then we went over a period of a long time, but then we started doing storyboards and we started putting actual music to it. And that’s when Steve started working, where we would actually get songs, we would actually get the words, we would actually, weave it all together but then obviously it ended up coming out very long. We had to have an evolution where some of the story was told in dialogue, some of the story was told in music and the story itself had to be tightened down and you know things connected which, in just using music you couldn’t do.
Through out the interview you could really see how passionate George was about this film. I got to see an advanced preview of the film and I have to say he did an amazing job. Stay tuned for my complete thoughts on the film.
George Lucas, Elijah Kelley, the producer and Director Gary Rydstrom were kind enough to snap a group shot with us. I of course planted myself right next to George. I was wearing my R2-D2 toms and my shirt that had the empire taking a selfie that George said he had never seen before and liked. I could die!
I can’t tell you want a dream come true it is to meet and interview George Lucas!!!!! I can’t thank Disney enough for this dream come true opportunity!
Check out some video below from the interview:
Stay tuned for my interview with Elijah Kelley as we chat about his role in Strange Magic!
Check out the trailer for Strange Magic Below:
Don’t forget Strange Magic opens next Friday, 1/23 and it comes to you from the mind of legendary film maker George Lucas. I got to see the film during this visit and I can tell you it’s a must see!
For more info on Strange Magic and Skywalker Ranch visit:
I was solely invited and provided transportation and accommodations to this media day by Disney. All Opinions are my own.