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 The George Lucas Thread

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PostSubject: The George Lucas Thread   Thu Jan 31, 2008 12:49 am

I figured since this is a Star Wars thread, as well as a Disney one, I would post a paper i wrote about George Lucas two years ago, with more current info in parenthesis. Enjoy Smile

George Lucas

George Lucas is a film making icon. His most well known films are the Star Wars saga and the Indiana Jones trilogy (with the fourth coming out Summer 2008). He also produced films such as THX 1138, American Graffiti, Its sequel, More American Graffiti, and even some animated films such as Land Before Time and Twice upon a Time. He is a great filmmaker and has had a rather interesting life.

George Walton Lucas Jr. was born on May 14, 1944 in Modesto, California. During his teenage years, car racing was the only excitement that Lucas was allowed, but little did he know that that would dramatically change his life. June 12, 1962, three days before Lucas was to graduate from high school, he was involved in an accident and was seriously injured. “You can’t have that kind of experience and not feel that there must be a reason why you’re here,” Lucas has said. “I realized I should be spending my time trying to figure out what that reason is and trying to fulfill it.”

After the accident, he enrolled in the University of Southern California’s film school. He interpreted “film” to mean “photography,” but once he began his work in motion pictures he knew it was what he loved. Lucas’ student work reflected the pop culture obsessions of his youth. 01:42:08, a racing mini-epic, and The Emperor, about a disc jockey named Emperor Hudson, were signature student works, which Lucas would later revisit and build upon in American Graffiti.

After graduating from USC in 1966, Lucas was hired as a teaching assistant assigned to train cameramen for the U.S. Military. It was during this time that Lucas found an opportunity to shoot THX 1138:4EB which went on to win several major student awards and which would ultimately be adapted to the big screen for Lucas’ first studio feature.

On the strength of his many student awards, Lucas won USC’s annual scholarship to become a production apprentice at Warner Brothers. The apprenticeship turned out to be a life-altering event. There was only one film in production on the entire WB lot at the time: a musical entitled Finian’s Rainbow, which was being directed by a 27-year-old UCLA graduate, Francis Coppola. It was due to this that the two met and became life long friends, despite their opposite personalities. During his apprenticeship, Coppola made Lucas an offer he couldn’t refuse. Lucas would become a paid assistant on both Finian’s Rainbow and The Rain People, a movie that Coppola was prepping on the side, and Coppola would help nurture Lucas’ feature length version of THX.

Coppola made good on his promise and talked the WB into signing Lucas to develop his THX feature. Lucas continued to work on both The Rain People with Coppola and THX. Lucas found himself, at 26, prepping his THX for a theatrical release. Warner Bros. was outraged that THX 1138 did not follow the standard narrative style, instead moving the story along with mages rather than by extensive characters and dialogue. The images were startling, the sound rich and the ideas behind it compelling, but these were not the things that became blockbusters. Warner Bros. resented this film, cutting scenes and dropping the film carelessly into the market with no buildup, setting it up for failure at the box office. Though it received some good reviews, THX 1138 was considered a box-office failure.

After this, George and Coppola split apart. Coppola accepted a directing job at Paramount, which involved adapting and updating an unpublished gangster melodrama called The Godfather, to the screen.

Lucas refused to give up on his dream of making movies. Lucas spent two years developing his next project very carefully, with an emphasis on quality and entertainment. Lucas patiently created a foundation for a film that could not possibly fail to entertain, named American Graffiti. It is estimated that American Graffiti returned $50 for every dollar spent on production and distribution, a staggering ratio in the movie business. It also marked the last time in his career that Lucas would be forced to stand in the shadow of his mentor, Coppola who directed the film. Lucas’ artfully edited reminder of the simple joys of cars, rock-n-roll, and small town romance of American Graffiti made him a millionaire before the age of thirty.

Lucas was thought to be too preoccupied to worry about all the hype around his first blockbuster. By the time of American Graffiti’s release, Lucas was already busy hatching the plans for what would become the second most successful movie of all time, Star Wars (Later known as Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope.) During the four-year period between these two films, Lucas adjusted to being a millionaire and started the foundation of his new company, Lucasfilm Ltd., in northern California, far from the controversial Hollywood. Star Wars was released in 1977, slowly started breaking all box-office records, which would not be topped until twenty years later, with the movie Titanic, and earned seven Academy Awards.

Lucas then wrote the stories for Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Star Wars: Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi (1983), which he was the executive producer. In 1980, he was also executively produced Raiders of the Lost Ark, (better known as Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark) directed by Steven Spielberg, which won five Academy Awards. He was also co-executive producer and creator of the story for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The film, released in 1984, earned yet another two Academy Award nominations, and won and Oscar for its visual effects. In 1987, Lucas served as main executive producer for Disneyland's launch of Star Tours, an innovative attraction based on the Star Wars films that now entertains crowds in four Disney theme parks worldwide (Hong Kong Disneyland has yet to get the rights to make this attraction, but they also don’t have the rights to make Pirates of the Caribbean, so we might have to wait a while for a Hong Kong Star Tours). Lucas went on to produce such well known films as: Captain Eo (1986), in connection with Disneyland and Michael Jackson (Now a forgotten attraction at the park. It was a 3-D movie staring Michael Jackson), Labyrinth (1986), Howard the Duck (1986), The Land Before Time (1988), Willow (1988) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) which coincidentally earned an Oscar for Best Sound Design. He also served as a story author and executive producer of the television series, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (premiered in 1992), which eventually received the Banff Award for Best Continuing Series, a Golden Globe nomination for best Dramatic Series, an Angel Award for Quality Programming, 12 Emmy Awards, and 26 Emmy nominations. In 1992 Lucas was honored with the Irving G. Thalberg Award. The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave the Award.

It was between Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and his production of Labyrinth, that Lucas divorced his wife of eighteen years, Marcia Griffin, a film editor in her own right. They have three children, all of whom are adopted, the youngest Jett, born in1993, then Katie born in 1988 and last Amanda born in 1981.

Not only are his films successful but so are his many companies. LucasArts is a leading international developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software (which means they make really good video games). Lucas Digital, which consists of Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and Skywalker Sound, provides visual effects (Such as Davy Jones and all the computer animated characters in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End) and audio post-production services to the entertainment and commercial production industries. Lucas Licensing is responsible for the merchandising of all of Lucasfilm’s film and television properties. Lucas Learning is committed to create an “uncommon learning” experience by offering engaging interactive software products that provide learning opportunities through exploration and discovery.

His latest productions were three new Star Wars Films, all of which take place before A New Hope. Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace, was the top box office hit of 1999, and is the fifth best in the box office of all time. Three years later, Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones, was the first major live-action movie to be shot entirely digitally. Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, which is the seventh (now eighth due to the success of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest) top box office hit of all time, hit theaters May, 19th 2005 and “completed the circle” of the, then called, Star Wars saga.

Now, (over) thirty years after the original Star Wars movie, Lucas says no more Star Wars movies. He plans to go back to doing different films, including a new addition to the Indiana Jones Trilogy (Now confirmed as Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull coming out May 16th, 2008). To keep the Star Wars fans happy, Mr. Lucas is also planning to make two Star Wars television series. One of which will be live action (Rumored to be about Bobba Fett) and the other a (computer) animated continuation of the award winning Clone Wars micro series.

I am a big Star Wars Disney Geek, and would love to meet some more.
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PostSubject: Re: The George Lucas Thread   Sat Feb 02, 2008 3:22 am

Good work! Thanks for sharing that with us... Cool

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