Witnessing The People Vs. George Lucas

For a guy who basically shuns the limelight, George Lucas is a surprisingly controversial guy. Some say he’s a genius who reinvented moviemaking from the ground up; others say his incessant tinkering has defiled his films forever. Stepping into the chasm between both views is a new documentary I was interviewed for in October, called The People Vs. George Lucas.

When it was first announced a few years ago, I was unimpressed, largely due to the title which, let’s face it, implies that it’s going to be a two-hour bash fest. Since then, the filmmakers have made it clear that they want to explore why fans take such adamant positions on Lucas, and in turn, why he’s such a polarizing figure. Backing that claim, they’ve corralled an interesting slate of interviewees; some of the folks slated to be in the flick include:

• Gary Kurtz, the estranged producer of Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back.
• Sandy Lieberson, ex-head of production at 20th Century Fox.
• Dale Pollock, author of the go-to Lucas biography, Skywalking.
• David Prowse (Darth Vader).
• Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca).
• Neil Gaiman, sci-fi/comics legend.
• Joe Haldeman, Hugo award-winning author.
• Bill Plympton, cult animator.
• Chris Gore, founder of Film Threat.
• Ian Freer of UK film bible, Empire magazine.
• Henry Jenkins, author of Textual Poachers and Convergence Culture.
• Glenn Kenny, editor of the essay collection, A Galaxy Not So Far Away.

That’s a hell of a think-tank right there, and simply putting a slew of thoughtful viewpoints together in a film that won’t be vetted by Lucasfilm is a very promising start. So when they asked me for an interview, I was surprised, but I said sure.

The result was an enjoyable evening under the bright lights, answering questions for director Alexandre Phillipe, producer Vanessa Phillipe and director of photography Robert Muratore. Will any of it wind up in the final cut? I guess we’ll find out when the flick premieres sometime next year.