Last month I received a cryptic e-mail inviting me to a private screening of a new Star Wars film edited by Topher Grace — which is funny because I had no idea there was a new Star Wars film in the works, with or without Grace’s involvement. I was told the screening was a secret private event arranged only for friends only and was asked not to talk about it beforehand. The event was held somewhere in the Hollywood area in a a screening room filled with filmmakers, editors, actors, actresses and only a few press friends. I was told I could blog about it afterwards if I wanted, so here goes…
For those of you who don’t know, Topher Grace is a film geek. He loves the Star Wars films, the Back to the Future movies and all the same signature titles of any film geek who grew up in the 1980s. He recently became interested in the editing process and wanted to learn more about the art form. Instead of cutting a short film, he wanted to use something he was more familiar with.
His idea was to edit the Star Wars prequels into one movie, as they would provide him a lot of footage to work with. He used footage from all three prequels, a couple cuts from the original trilogy, some music from The Clone Wars television series, and even a dialogue bit from Anthony Daniels’ (C-3PO) audio book recordings. He even created a new opening text crawl to set up his version of the story.
The result is an 85-minute movie titled Star Wars: Episode III.5: The Editor Strikes Back. It should be noted that the Star Wars prequel trilogy is almost 7 hours in total length, and the shortest film (Episode 1) is more than 51 minutes longer than Grace’s fan cut. What this means is a lot of footage ended up on the editing room floor, and a lot of creative choices were made in the editing process. And the result? Topher Grace’s Star Wars film is probably the best possible edit of the Star Wars prequels given the footage released and available.
Whats most shocking is that with only 85 minutes of footage, Topher was able to completely tell the main narrative of Anakin Skywalker’s road from Jedi to the Sith. While I know the missing pieces and could even fill in the blanks in my head as the film raced past, none of those points were really needed. Whats better is that the character motivations are even more clear and identifiable, a real character arc not bogged down by podraces, galactic senates, Jar Jar Binks, politics or most of the needless parts of the Star Wars prequels. It not only clarifies the story, but makes the film a lot more action-packed.
Read More »
Please Recommend /Film on Facebook
Is there any film project more tenacious than Terry Gilliam‘s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote? The film just cannot be, er, killed, no matter what happens. Casting problems? It will overcome. Funding and script issues? This movie shrugs them off. Acts of God aren’t even enough.
The film first came together in 2000, with Gilliam directing Johnny Depp and Jean Rochefort in the lead roles. The production was beset by disastrous weather, interruption from planes, and injury to Rochefort. The production was scrapped, inspiring the documentary Lost in La Mancha.
The film was revived in 2009 with a rewritten script and possible new casting, with Robert Duvall replacing Rochefort and Ewan McGregor eventually taking Depp’s role. But financing for that version dried up and the project went dormant again. Now the film’s screenwriter, Tony Grisoni, says the film is potentially happening once more. Read More »
Posted on Friday, January 20th, 2012 by Angie Han
I know already I’ve gone on and on about how excited I am by HBO’s adaptation of Jonathan Franzen‘s The Corrections, but considering the talent signed on — Noah Baumbach, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Dianne Wiest — can you blame me? Today the good news continues with the report that Maggie Gyllenhaal and Rhys Ifans could be up for parts in the series as well. More details after the jump.
Read More »
A trailer for the new Lasse Hallström film, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, has just been released. We know, it’s a terrible title. Is it a metaphor for some kind of life experience? Actually, no. It’s quite literal. The film, starring Kristin Scott Thomas, Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt is about the act of trying to introduce the act of salmon fishing to the Middle Eastern country of Yemen. But the reason why might surprise you, as this trailer surprised me. It looks delightful. Check it out below. Read More »
Warner Bros has released the first movie trailer for Bryan Singer‘s Jack the Giant Killer (which you can see in theaters attached to Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows in theaters this week). The film is an adult look at the Jack and the Beanstalk legend, starring Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane, Bill Nighy and Ewan McGregor. The trailer is a bit underwhelming, and the effects look very early, at best. I’m still excited about what this film could be, as the dark fairytale genre is very promising. Watch the trailer now embedded after the jump. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Read More »
Perfect Sense, once called The Last Word, debuted almost a year ago at Sundance 2011, and is just now finally starting to get a little promo push in the US. The concept of the film is pretty simple: what happens if our senses started to disappear, to the point where things get a bit dangerous?
It’s a bit like Contagion with added romance as Ewan McGregor plays one of the people who are experiencing the disorienting loss of senses, and Eva Green plays the girl he falls for, who also happens to be an epidemiologist who has a line on the viral outbreak that may be causing the problem. What are the odds? There’s a new trailer that is similar to one released around the Sundance debut, but has some new looks at the movie, and you can check it out below. Read More »
Posted on Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011 by Angie Han
Hollywood’s had a long history with botched adaptations of beloved novels, but from here it looks like fans of Jonathan Franzen‘s acclaimed book The Corrections have nothing to worry about. After years of attempting to bring the story to the big screen, producer Scott Rudin eventually turned to HBO — and things have been shaping up nicely from there.
The Squid and the Whale writer-director Noah Baumbach signed on to helm and (with Franzen) pen the drama pilot earlier this fall, while Chris Cooper and Dianne Wiest joined the project several weeks later. Now Ewan McGregor has boarded the series as well, in the role of Cooper and Wiest’s screwup middle child. More details after the jump.
Read More »
Cool Posts From Around the Web:
Relativity Media unveiled Steven Soderbergh‘s action movie Haywire this past weekend at the AFI Fest, to mixed/positive reviews. The idea behind the movie is that Soderberg saw MMA fighter Gina Carano in action, and wanted to build a movie around her. He and screenwriter Lem Dobbs (The Limey) came up with a story about a betrayed covert ops specialist out for revenge, dropped Carano in the middle and surrounded her with actors like Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton, Michael Douglas and Michael Fassbender.
The trailers we’ve seen so far tried to balance action, dialogue, tension and character, but this new trailer basically goes all out for action. Consequently it looks great. Read More »