May 19, 2013

Michael Kaplan is all stitched up to costume design for Star Stars

Michael Kaplan, Star Wars Costume Designer
Kaplan’s most recent film to feature his costume designs Star Trek Into Darkness is doing quite well at the box office. I imagine the next film he works on will blow that box office out of the water however as his work is going to be in a little film currently known as Star Wars Episodode VII.

The popular designer whose credits include Blade Runner, I am Legend and Fight Club, Se7en and Miami Vice revealed to the world:

"I’ve just learned I’ll be working on the new Star Wars movie, again with J.J. Everything just got formalized [last week], I haven’t even had the chance to talk to anyone about it all other than to be told ‘welcome aboard.’

Buzzfeed asked Kaplan: Is sci-fi your favorite film genre to work with?

Kaplan's Tyler Durden
“I wouldn’t say I have a favorite film genre to work on… but I would say I don’t think sci-fi would be my favorite. Does that sound strange? I think what I really like working with is simply a great script.

And that’s what is so great about Star Trek, for example — I was even more impressed when I saw the script for Into Darkness: there’s detail and there’s wit and it’s smart. Full of things that are not often the case in big tentpole movies."

If film director David Fincher approves of this guy (and think about who cool Tyler Durdern looked in Se7en) then I approve of JJ Abram's choice to give him this job! 

As an aside, HOW cool would it be if David Fincher did a Star Wars film? He would be a great candidate to direct one of the self contained films - he could make it nice and dark. 

May 8, 2013

"The Star Wars" a new graphic novel based on the original Star Wars draft by George Lucas

Once apon a time at a desk George Lucas wrote an initial draft of a film called "The Star Wars". It featured a  old Jedi General called  Luke and a green alien called Han Solo. Eventually this draft became simply "Star Wars" and Luke but a boy and Han just a man.

And that's how it stayed for some 30 odd years until comics writer J.W. Rinzler managed to convince George Lucas to let him turn that draft into a graphic novel. Wired reports on the detail:

“It took years actually,” he admitted. “I was writing The Making of Star Wars and I read all the drafts, and when I saw the first rough draft I thought, ‘This is amazing, and so different from what the film was.’ Each of the very early drafts is very different from the final film, and I thought, it would be nice if this was somehow made into a comic book. It felt like a very natural idea. I mentioned it to George once or twice, and he was a bit hesitant, wasn’t very sure if it was a good idea or not.”

Years later, after he discovered that Dark Horse had also asked to adapt the draft into a comic book, Rinzler came up with an to convince the reticent Lucas. “We’d recently done a book about his favorite Star Wars comic book art. He said to me while doing that, a few times, how much he loves seeing comic books without the word balloons — that he loves seeing the art tell the story. I said to Dark Horse, if you want George to sign off on this, you need to hire an artist, I’ll adapt a few scenes and then I’ll show it to George. It took a few months, but when I showed the pages to George, sure enough, he approved the project.”

“It’s totally different, and although the characters are still there, they’re also totally different. Luke Skywalker isn’t an eighteen-year-old kid. He’s an old Jedi general with decades of experience. Leia is a princess, but she’s not related to Luke; she has a different mother and father. Han Solo is there, but he’s a giant green alien. A lot of the relationships are all there, they’re all percolating.”

The new series, which will be illustrated by Mike Mayhew, finally brings the near-mythical earliest draft of one of the most successful science fiction franchises of all time to an audience that has been patiently waiting for it for decades. According to Rinzler — who also works as an executive editor at LucasBooks — convincing George Lucas that it was a good idea to let everyone see his first draft wasn’t easy.

Although he won’t be drawn on plot details, Rinzler said that “In some ways, the original draft is closer to Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon in tone, and it’s also closer to Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress — In fact, there even is a hidden fortress in the rough draft.”

The writer’s excitement about the project is clear when he talks about the series, and the story. “It’s great fun to make this available to the world,” he said. “This was George’s blue sky version of the film at the time, something he knew wouldn’t be filmable. This is all of his imagination just with no tethers attached. It’s a great story by one of the greatest storytellers of this generation.”

Here's some more images from the graphic novel:

May 5, 2013

Return of the Jedi is 30 years old, Hamill reminisces and talks new trilogy

mark hamill looking old

IGN reports how Mark Hamill attended a screening of Return of the Jedi to celebrate it being 30 years since it's release (Whoah, I'm suddenly old)

'Hamill recalled that while making Return of the Jedi, he was absolutely sure it was the end of the series, “because we had a beginning, middle and an end.” But during that period, George Lucas did talk to him about his bigger ideas for a series of trilogies – initially four different trilogies, and then three. Still, said Hamill, “I don’t even think I believed that the third trilogy would feature us. I thought it would be all different characters. To my knowledge, we were just going to do a beginning, a middle and an end [in the original trilogy] and it was over."'

Hamill also talked a little about Episode VII:

"While talking about how much he loved filming the Dagobah sequences for The Empire Strikes Back, which were shot on a soundstage with a lot of practical effects, Hamill then made his most specific mention of his involvement in Episode VII, revealing, “I’ve only had one creative meeting about the new films, but I do remember saying, ‘We’ve got to find a proper balance between CGI and old school [FX].”

The Jedi then explained more about what this could mean:

“That’s what the challenge is, is to try and meet expectations of what you guys want. I think there’s nothing wrong with CGI, but I think you have to have a balance, because the camera perceives the width and the depth and the weight – even if it’s a miniature model, the camera just realizes that. So when you have too much CGI and the clouds are CGI and the trees are CGI and the buildings are CGI, you’re getting to a point where the figure in the shot is like a hybrid of an animated film and live-action. And I want it to have an organic look so that we don’t get into Roger Rabbit territory."