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If you missed J. J. Abrams talking about his relief over the new release date for Star Wars: Episode VII, and his mocking of a pretty spot-on Jar Jar impersonation, watch the video below. In addition, Star Wars Bits features:

  • John Williams is quoted saying he’s looking forward to scoring Episode VII and Indy 5,
  • An old George Lucas interview is unearthed,
  • There’s a new Star Wars Rebels recruitment poster,
  • And a new set of Star Wars lithographs,
  • As well as a rumor of release dates for the 3D conversions of Episode II and Episode III

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Star Wars Episode II

Star Wars Episode VII may have a release date now, but it still needs some stars and maybe some additional shooting locations. After the jump:

  • Silicon Valley wants George Lucas to have his museum
  • Don’t look for the 20th Century Fox fanfare in Episode VII
  • California is annoyed that Episode VII is shooting in London
  • … while the New Mexico rumors spring up once again
  • Neil Gaiman asks J.J. Abrams about casting British actors
  • … as aspiring Jedi around the globe line up for auditions

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Spielberg Lucas Indy 4

Steven Spielberg has such a great track record that, short of a major crime, very little could tarnish it. That’s probably why, at a recent screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark in Hollywood, the director continued to claim “full responsibility” for the idea of Indiana Jones getting into a refrigerator to survive a nuclear attack in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

The idea, “nuking the fridge,” instantly became a punchline. It’s also another way to say “jumping the shark,” a Happy Days reference long synonymous with the moment a TV show or movie goes from good to bad.

However, while Spielberg can say “nuking the fridge” was his idea, George Lucas says he’s lying. Read both quotes and search for the truth below. Read More »

Black Angel

George Lucas basically wipes his butt with money these days (or could if he wanted to), but as a newly surfaced payroll memo from 1968 shows, even this gazillionaire had relatively humble beginnings. Also after the jump:

  • The long lost Black Angel will get a digital release in 2014
  • Harrison Ford is still ducking questions about Episode VII
  • Asa Butterfield would love to play Han Solo’s son, ICYWW

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Star Wars Abrams Logo

When Disney bought Lucasfilm last year there was some rejoicing, based in part on the idea that new Star Wars projects might take shape away from the influence of creator George Lucas. It’s rare that a core fanbase wants to see new episodes of a storyline created without the person who gave the series in question original life, but this is Star Wars, and after the prequel trilogy it was time for some new blood.

The new blood includes, of course, director J.J. Abrams and screenwriter Michael Arndt. They took up the task of making Star Wars Episode VII, working from where Lucas had left off. See, Lucas had started developing the new Star Wars film about a year before the sale of Lucasfilm. (Which was a canny strategy — it’s one thing to know that the sale included the right to make new Star Wars films, and quite another to go into it knowing a plan was already in place.)

Lucas stepped back to a consulting role after the sale, but if you thought Abrams was going to develop Episode VII without much consultation with Lucas, think again. George Lucas’ son says that the two have been “constantly talking” about Star Wars as the new film is developed. Read More »

Star Wars - Little Leia's Destiny by Nick Scurfield (header)

More people throw their hats into the Episode VII casting ring, some more sincerely than others, while George Lucas tries to get moving on his next, non-Star Wars-related endeavor. After the jump:

  • Could this guy be the new Chewbacca?
  • Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme “auditions” for Star Wars
  • J.J. Abrams says Episode VII won’t be Disney-fied
  • George Lucas‘s museum could move to Chicago
  • Jason Christman and Nick Scurfield debut new prints
  • Star Wars Pinball reveals another new trailer
  • Look for a Star Wars Rebels teaser on Monday

Read More »

gangs_of_new_york_1

Harvey Weinstein is a guy whose nature leads to intensely polarized opinions. He’s a mogul in the old style, who exerts his will with force, and grandstands, and makes good movies and irritating decisions in equal measure. Having been part of some of the biggest films of the last couple decades, Harvey also has endless stories to tell, and when he opens up there’s great stuff to learn.

Take Gangs of New York, the Martin Scorsese film that Weinstein produced in 2002. The massive project shot in Rome, and quickly became legendary in some circles as an example of Harvey’s heavy-handed demands for a shorter cut than the filmmaker wanted to deliver. Weinstein recently talked about that aspect of the film, but he also explained the origin of the CG elephant that roams through the elaborate riot sequence that acts as the climax of the film. Read More »

Spielberg Lucas Scorsese 1990

Almost twenty-five years ago, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert sat down with Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Martin Scorsese to talk about the future of cinema. At the time, Scorsese had yet to release Goodfellas, Spielberg had yet to win an Oscar and George Lucas had to to commit to the Star Wars prequels. Each was already incredibly accomplished, but not even close to the peaks of their success.

Looking back at the conversation, it’s fascinating to think about where these guys thought cinema would go, how they themselves would help push it there, and what they were wrong about. Of course, earlier this year Spielberg and Lucas once again talked about the future of movies and their predictions were much more pessimistic. I wouldn’t bet against these guys.

Check out the fantastic 50 minute interview below. Read More »

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