Skip to comments.Revenge of the Republicans (Star Wars head George Lucas confirms this view)
Posted on 05/17/2005 3:50:07 PM PDT by weegee
Revenge of the Republicans
Star Wars' Lucas draws parallels between U.S. politics and rise of the Empire
CANNES -- Star Wars is a wake-up call to Americans about the erosion of democratic freedoms under George W. Bush, George Lucas said yesterday.
Lucas, responding to a question at a Cannes Film Festival press conference, said he first wrote the framework of Star Wars in 1971 when reacting to then U.S. president Richard Nixon and the on-going events of the Vietnam War. But the story still has relevance today, he said, and is part of a pattern he has noticed in his readings of history.
"I didn't think it was going to get quite this close," he said of the parallels between the Nixon era and the current Bush presidency, which has been sacrificing freedoms in the interests of national security. "It is just one of those re-occurring things.
"I hope this doesn't come true in our country. Maybe the film will awaken people to the situation of how dangerous it is ... The parallels between what we did in Vietnam and what we are doing now in Iraq are unbelievable."
In the latest film, the Palpatine character takes over as ruler of the universe with the co-operation of the other politicians.
"Because this is the back story (of the Star Wars saga), one of the main features of the back story was to tell how the Republic became the Empire," Lucas said. "At the time I did that, it was during the Vietnam War and the Nixon era. The issue was: How does a democracy turn itself over to a dictator? Not how does a dictator take over but how does a democracy and Senate give it away?"
Lucas cited the Roman Empire in the wake of Caesar's death, France after the Revolution and Germany with the rise of Hitler as historical examples of countries giving themselves over to dictators.
"They all seem to happen in the same way with the same issues: Threats from the outside; they need more control; and a democratic body not being able to function properly because everybody's squabbling."
Lucas earned applause for his comments and then joined his actors Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman (who was shaven bald for a new movie role), Samuel L. Jackson, Ian McDiarmid and Anthony Daniels in a free-wheeling discussion of Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith, which made its world premiere last night out-of-competition. This was before they all scuttled off to the Queen Elizabeth II where the Cannes brass presented Lucas with an awkwardly named honour called "the trophy of the festival." Some press conference highlights:
- On the competition films, Lucas said: "I'm lucky I don't have to compete with those films because I probably wouldn't win. It's nice to be able to have the film recognized without being in a contest. I'm not a big one for contests. Just being here is an honour."
- On growing up during her Star Wars experience, Portman said: "To play a character developing over that period of time, with your own age developing and your own self developing, is really an amazing opportunity. And to get to work with the same people every few years is also really lucky because it's always sad when you get to the end of a film to say goodbye."
- On having his mother see him dumped in lava in Revenge of the Sith, Christensen said: "Visually, just to look at yourself in a mirror, has quite an impact (Christensen was wearing a full-body burn suit). My mom just got to see the film and she was very disturbed by that. Watching her son erupt into flames is a little unsettling."
- On his big death scene in Revenge of the Sith, Jackson said: "I was pleased with my death. I asked him (Lucas) not to do anything messy and he didn't. Now I've had the Errol Flynn moment that I've always wished for since I was a kid watching movies. So I'm totally happy with what happened."
- On making Episodes VII through IX, Lucas said he never planned to do it, regardless of rumours to the contrary: "The original intention was to make one movie and it turned into three. That was really the end of it. It wasn't until about 10 years ago that it occurred to me to do the back story (and now it is over). The important thing is, if this is the tragedy of Darth Vader, it starts when he is 10 years old and ends when he dies. There really isn't any more story."
Sharon Stone, looking fabulous dahling, flew into Cannes for a day yesterday to say next to nothing about shooting Basic Instinct 2, a sequel to her most famous role.
Asked if she was doing the film, which is in production in London, because she wanted to show how sexy she still is, Stone laughed and told the reporters crammed into a very small space: "No -- but thanks for asking!"
Stone said the European shoot and English director Michael Caton-Jones, appealed to her.
"As you know, I've always kind of flourished when I work with a European director. I've always felt freer when I work in Europe.
"Like the character, I have a little bit more experience now, so that's at once more free and a little bit scary."
I take it you are NOT going to see Star Wars III, eh?
Not at this time. Perhaps at the dollar theater if at all.
I wouldn't knowingly go to a concert to hear a performer insult me from the stage. Why should I pay to see a movie crew do the same?
This is just cover because the story arc of these first 3 films is essentially "Young Hitler" and it ends with his rise to power (and on top at the end). Anakin never should have been the focus of this trilogy.
This is a marketing ploy he learned in the 70's. Every film was an "allegory of our experience in Viet Nam". I have read many books and articles where directors and producers admitted it was just marketing BS.
My personal favorite was that "Bonnie and Clyde" was actually about Viet Nam.
Yes, this did come off as though Lucas was trying to sell tickets while kissing the right butts in Hollywood.
Lucas is in Cannes right now. Has ANY other Star Wars film played Cannes?
The French love Bushbashing. Last year gave us a Nueremberg Rally-like gathering for them to stand and pat themselves on the back for 20 minutes to show how much they hated Bush.
There was another Bush bashing film on deck if Michael Moore had been unable to complete F911 in time last year.
If George Lucas is willing to pitch his film this way, I think we should all take note. Screw him.
Tell me about it I feel like I'm in a gulag... /sarcasm :D
He must have forgotten Bill Clinton's demonization of convervatives and talk radio after the OKC bombing in 1995. He turned a one-term presidency into a successful second term.
Meanwhile the same Islamonazis that bombed the WTC in 1993 were able to build up another strike in 2001.
Add to this all of the other escalating terrorist bombings against our embassies and ships (and a sniper outside the CIA headquarters).
Lucas' abilities as a political commentator are akin to those of his script-writing.
I hope he only uses plastic scissors during editing.
He will do 7-9. These films make way too much money not to. Maybe he will get better actors this time around. Maybe he will not write or direct them either. If he would just get a producer and story credit these films could be great.
I prefer Quentin Tarantino. He's better at lifting elements from multiple films and genres than Lucas.
His first had notables like Alec Guiness and Peter Cushing. David Prowse was not really a notable but I doubt that they hired him just to pantomime (he was surprised when his dialogue was overdubbed).
The actors off old are dying off. Christopher Lee is the only notable "new" cast member.
I could see him handing over the directorial reigns again. Sounds like any future films would be like these are largely be shot in a computer. I don't know of many directors who would want to sign on for that. Peter Jackson still likes some location shooting.
Robert Rodriguez? Now that would be a sight. Maybe a script by Quentin Tarantino? He has to be a Star Wars fan. Although he may struggle to make a script with a preferable PG rating. In any case I think Lucas should tell others the story and let them create it with oversight by him.
Kevin Smith script.
He feels for the working man who didn't ask to be brought into a war and yet died when the Rebels blew up Death Star II.
Ha ha. The bit about "the holy trilogy" from Chasing Amy is funnier though imho.
in the second movie Luke defying the absolutism of Yoda (Once you start down the dark side, forever will it control your destiny) to try to save his father in the third. Now in the 6th, he has Anakin expressing absolutism.
If there is such a thing as good and evil, then people who intentionally kill noncombatants are evil. If there is such a thing as good, then people who attempt to free an oppressed people from an evil dictator are good.
Heck, it is just a movie, and if he can insult half his potential audience to get the gullible other half, it is a good business decision.
Messa gettin very very scared bout dem Bushes! Dem Bushes do tewwibule tings to me, tewwible. Deesem send big army gainst gungans. Jus cause dey speck weesum brainless. How wude!
What a bad way to pitch his film. There are many conservatives like me that love star wars. I don't really care about Lucas's politics when I watch them. They are suppose to be escapism. Why did he have to bring current politics into his movie?
He'll make money but it will dampen box office some. The bigger thing to watch is the drop off over the coming weeks.
Many people bought their tickets in advance knowing that it would sell out many of the opening days' screenings.
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