HomeChévereGeorge Lucas: "We were not interested in making money, we were interested in making movies"

George Lucas: “We were not interested in making money, we were interested in making movies”

The creator of "Star Wars" will receive the Palme d'Or of Honor at the Cannes Film Festival today

A stubborn guy who didn't like being told how to make his movies. This is how the legendary George Lucas described himself yesterday, Friday, May 24, in Cannes, belonging to a generation of filmmakers who transformed Hollywood because, unlike the studios, they did not care about money.

“To be honest, we weren't interested in making money, we were interested in making movies, that was the big difference,” he explained of the time when a “group of friends” – himself, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg – among others - made their way in the late sixties and early seventies, by dint of passion for cinema and despite the no's of the industry. This is what EFE reports.

At 80 years old and for a decade now, the creator of “Star Wars” has been one of the great guests at the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, which today will present him with the Palme d’Or. Honor during the closing ceremony of the contest.

The feeling he has is “nostalgic, but it is a great honor,” he said, because despite having “many fans,” he has not made “the kind of films that win awards,” as he expressed this Friday in a public talk. in which, in conversation with the French journalist Didier Allouch, he reviewed his entire career.

Frustrated racing driver

Lucas came from a “small town in central California” (Modesto) where there were only two movie theaters – he had to drive to San Francisco to see the art films he was interested in – and he hadn't done very well in high school.

He arrived at university at a time when there were hardly any film schools and began studying the branch of photography after having given up, as he recalled, his passion for car racing that he would later capture in “American Graffiti” (1973). .

“My first thought was 'I want to do that, racing,'” he shared in Cannes, but his dream was cut short with a serious accident a week after finishing high school.

"That's when I realized," he noted, "that I wasn't that good of a driver and, in racing, if you're not good, it's better to leave it."

George Lucas
Photo: EFE

Not so good beginnings

But the director spoke above all about cinema and how he fought to finish his first films, including those of “Star Wars”, without giving up making them the way he wanted.

A good example was “American Graffiti” (1973), a film that in the first preview was told that it was “horrible” and that it was not up to par to be taken to theaters, despite the fact that the audience was in the seats. He went crazy with her as if they were at a rock concert.

Based on persistence, the factor that he considers most important in his career, he ended up getting it on the billboard and in the first weekend alone it achieved a box office of 25 million dollars, a huge success at the time. Then “it stayed in theaters for a year,” he recalled.

“The people who founded Hollywood and the studios were tired because it was the 60s. They left and companies like Coca-Cola bought the studios,” he recalled, and since they did not know how to make movies, they began to hire the passionate young people who were beginning to leave film schools. “Little did they know…” she joked.

“Star Wars”, a movie for children

The success of “American Graffiti” opened the doors for him to make another story he had in his portfolio: a fantastic space odyssey that would not only become film history, but part of the lives of legions of fans around the world.

“It's a film for children, it has always been a film for children,” said Goerge Lucas, after having recalled how he and his lawyer drafted a visionary contract that allowed them to retain the rights to licenses for promotional products.

It was something that wasn't done then, he explained, because it took longer to make a toy than a movie and the studios didn't even think about it.

But in “Star Wars” it didn't just become a gold mine. The posters and t-shirts that his team dedicated to handing out at science fiction fan conventions (for example, “Star Trek”) were crucial to the success of the saga, since the studio (20th Century Fox) barely made it. promoted.

About the sale of his company, Lucasfilm, to Disney in 2012, the director spoke without regrets although some of his original ideas have been lost in the new “Star Wars” films: “It's what happens when you let it go, if you give up to it, you renounce it.”

He also spoke about his role as a producer - in films such as the “Indiana Jones” saga or “Kagemusha” (Akira Kurosawa) - and his first time at Cannes, with “THX 1138” (in 1971, in the Directors' Fortnight). It was a trip he paid for out of his own pocket, he recalled, in which he missed his own press conference because no one told him he had one scheduled.

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