George Lucas of “Star Wars” fame recently sat down with TV Guide for a compelling interview on the popular television and online magazine. He talks a lot about his post “Wars” years and his most recent project called “Fog City Mavericks,” a documentary about San Francisco based directors. He also gives some insight into his life and why he chose to become a director.
Here is just a sample of TV Guide’s 2-part interview with George. The first part is ready for viewing at TVGuide.com with the second part of this exclusive to follow in an upcoming issue of TVGuide.
TV Guide: So, Fog City Mavericks â€” a wonderful couple of hours. It was great fun to watch.
George Lucas: I’m a firm believer in regional cinema, cinema that’s not made by people who live in Hollywood but who live in [places] like Austin or New York City or Chicago, Baltimore, San Francisco. There are several little film communities that exist outside the main center, Hollywood, and who take their ideas from different places and do different kinds of things and have more of a creative say in what they do. This film is about San Francisco. I hope, at some point, somebody makes one about New York and Austin and all of the other places.
TV Guide: It seems almost as much an homage to San Francisco as it does to all of you, the filmmakers. It paints a great portrait of the city as an incubator for artistic individuality.
Lucas: Well, yeah, the thing most people don’t understand is that San Francisco has a long tradition of making films, not just having films shot here but actually [hosting] an indigenous film industry. It’s very, very small, but the people who live and work here have a different outlook and get their ideas from different sources, and [so] the films come out differently. I think [Mavericks] clarifies that some of the more successful films that have come out of Hollywood actually haven’t been made in Hollywood.
TV Guide: Could you ever do good work in Los Angeles â€” or do you think it’s just not your nature?
Lucas: It’s not my nature. I’ve never worked down there, and I don’t see any reason why I ever would.
TV Guide: More amazing serendipity in the history of San Francisco filmmakers: If THX 1138 [Lucas’ ambitious 1971 box-office failure, which nearly bankrupted his friend and producer Francis Coppola’s American Zoetrope studio] was a hit, Coppola might not have made The Godfather.
Lucas: [Laughs] Possibly, yeah. You know, you sort of have to look at opportunities and sometimes things come along and you sort of, even though you want to reject them outright, you have to look at the other side of it. Fortunately, in terms of The Godfather, Francis would never have done that just for the money, no matter what. He had to find something that he loved about it. He had to find the hook that would get him into it, to say, “How can I make this mine? I know something about Italians, I know something about the Mafia and I know something about family” â€” and those are things that really interested him. And so he turned it into his movie. And you know, it’s different than the book, and obviously he had to fight very hard against the system to do that. Fortunately, he managed to survive and overcome all of the influences. That was literally going to be a very cheap gangster movie starring Kirk Douglas, and he made it something extraordinary.
TV Guide: Speaking of friends working together… you and Steven Spielberg â€” how’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull going?
Lucas: Very well. Very well indeed.
TV Guide: Were you disappointed about Sean Connery not coming out of retirement to play Indy’s father?
Lucas: No, in the end, it turned out better. In the beginning, he was just in a little bit of it, and I think with the strength of Sean Connery, people would’ve wanted him to go all the way through the whole thing, and the story really didn’t work that way. And so I think there would’ve been some disappointment that [his character] dropped out partway through the movie. By having somebody else fill that role, you lose him without any regret, so to speak, even though we got a great actor to play the part. And I mean, he’s not his father, so it’s much easier….
TV Guide: You mean [the other actor] is not playing Indy’s father?
Lucas: That’s right. It’s just a completely different character, so you’re not invested in him in any way. The fact that that character, after the first part of the movie, isn’t needed doesn’t become a problem. Whereas I think with the scene we had, where [Indy] says goodbye to his dad, everybody was, “Wait a minute! Isn’t he coming back?” So in the end, I think it turned out for the best. Sean just retired and he wants to stay retired, and I understand that. [Laughs] I think he just said, “Look, I’ve done it, I’ve done it.” He was very tempted, you know, and we talked for a long time. But in the end, he just said, “Eh, I’m playing golf.”
View some of George’s greatest moments in TVGuide’s Online Video Guide.