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The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film: Based on the Lost Interviews from the Official Lucasfilm Archivesby Charles Lippincott
Synopses & Reviews
After the 1973 success of American Graffiti, filmmaker George Lucas made the fateful decision to pursue a longtime dream project: a space fantasy movie unlike any ever produced. Lucas envisioned a swashbuckling SF saga inspired by the Flash Gordon serials classic American westerns, the epic cinema of Japanese auteur Akira Kurosawa, and mythological heroes. Its original title: The Star Wars. The rest is history, and how it was made is a story as entertaining and exciting as the movie that has enthralled millions for thirty years-a story that has never been told as it was meant to be. Until now.
Using his unprecedented access to the Lucasfilm Archives and its trove of never-before-published “lost” interviews, photos, production notes, factoids, and anecdotes, Star Wars scholar J. W. Rinzler hurtles readers back in time for a one-of-a-kind behind-the-scenes look at the nearly decade-long quest of George Lucas and his key collaborators to make the “little” movie that became a phenomenon. For the first time, its all here:
• the evolution of the now-classic story and characters-including “Annikin Starkiller” and “a huge green-skinned monster with no nose and large gills” named Han Solo
• excerpts from George Lucass numerous, ever-morphing script drafts
• the birth of Industrial Light & Magic, the special-effects company that revolutionized Hollywood filmmaking
• the studio-hopping and budget battles that nearly scuttled the entire project
• the directors early casting saga, which might have led to a film spoken mostly in Japanese-including the intensive auditions that won the cast members their roles and made them legends
• the grueling, nearly catastrophic location shoot in Tunisia and the subsequent breakneck dash at Elstree Studios in London
• the whos who of young film rebels who pitched in to help-including Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, and Brian DePalma
But perhaps most exciting, and rarest of all, are the interviews conducted before and during production and immediately after the release of Star Wars-in which George Lucas, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Sir Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, composer John Williams, effects masters Dennis Muren, Richard Edlund, and John Dykstra, Phil Tippett, Rick Baker, legendary production designer John Barry, and a host of others share their fascinating tales from the trenches and candid opinions of the film that would ultimately change their lives.
No matter how you view the spectrum of this thirty-year phenomenon, The Making of Star Wars stands as a crucial document-rich in fascination and revelation-of a genuine cinematic and cultural touchstone.
In 1995, James Cameron began work on a story that would, more than a decade later, evolve into Avatar, the blockbuster of 2009 and no less than the movie event of the decade. Opening to international critical acclaim (including nine Academy Award® nominations) and unprecedented box-office success, Avatar quickly, within a few short weeks, became the highest-grossing film on record. An epic for our times, this next-generation spectacle blends action, adventure, and romance with a timely message of ecological responsibility while using, and inventing, cutting-edge technologies to transport audiences to a lush, fully realized alien world.
No less epic, however, was the groundbreaking and exhaustive process of bringing the film to life. Early brainstorming sessions in Malibu jumpstarted a vast production effort that ultimately spanned several years and multiple continents. The Making of Avatar reveals never-before-seen illustrations and photographs, with a text that charts the technical challenges, innovations, and discoveries that made the film?s breakthroughs possible. Working in tandem, artists and technicians created new tools and processes to realize the film?s vision, including those for performance capture, which allows the nuances of the actors? performances to be translated faithfully to their digital characters; a virtual camera system, which empowered Cameron to direct within a virtual world with unprecedented range, generate real-time composites, and blend live action and special effects more naturally and intuitively than ever before; and stereoscopic photography, which produced the most immersive 3-D experience to date. Here is the behind-the-scenes celebration of this monumental undertaking, the official record of how Cameron, the actors, and the crew made a film, and made history.
About the Author
Jody Duncan is the editor of Cinefex magazine, which is the leading publication on special effects in the movies. She is the author of books on the making of groundbreaking films, including Terminator 2, Jurassic Park, and Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
Lisa Fitzpatrick is the author of Abrams Art of Avatar. An award-winning editor, she has created books for a wide variety of films and television shows, including 24, Kung Fu Panda, and an anniversary edition for the USC School of Cinematic Arts.
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