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In many areas the budget was limited by the fact that there was only a certain amount of time that could be spent doing something if the film was to be completed on schedule. While with other films the amount of money available generally determines the amount of time that can be devoted to any aspect of production, with Jedi it almost appears as though the amount of time determined the amount of money that could be rationally spent. This was particularly true of the effects work at ILM where it might seem that the process of improving and refining a particular effect could go on indefinitely. Once the camera department is working two 10 hour shifts six days a week and every optical printer in the place is running around the clock, there's not a whole lot more you can do. The original schedule for Return of the Jedi called for the matte department at ILM to have periods where they could take in outside work and the animation department to have times when they would have to lay off personnel. Once the production got under way, however, it rapidly mushroomed to the point where every department at ILM was working at absolute maximum capacity for the duration. According to Tom Smith, general manager of ILM, Lucas laid down the law that there must be a temporary color version of every effects shot in the work print by April 1, 1983, or else there would just be a black slug in the finished film indicating an effects shot which ILM did not complete on time. Since all of the critical effects work was being done in VistaVision, there was no possibility of farming portions of it out to other facilities in a crunch, (Some 400 simpler opticals being done in the standard four-perforation format were being farmed out as had always been the intention, but no other facility is really equipped to handle VistaVision in the way ILM is.)
Limitations of some sort are a necessity. As Smith puts it, "Any art form requires limits for it to even be an art form. If it were unlimited, I think it would get sloppy, and people would make the same decision four times instead of once. Part of making a film is making decisions. A director directs a scene a certain way, it's shot and they go on. They haven't got time to go back and do it again. It may not be perfect, but that's the nature of the art."
Since Lucas chose not to direct Return of the Jedi himself, there was an extensive search conducted for a director who would mesh well with Lucas and his approach to the film. Kazanjian conducted the preliminary interviews and inquiries, screening hundreds of films and narrowing down the list. "We were looking for a director that was rather young, that was flexible, that had not established himself as a great independent filmmaker, that would follow the tradition of Star Wars, that would let George be as closely attached as he likes to be on these projects. We wanted someone who believed in Star Wars, who really believed that Wookies and Darth Vader exist and who was a fast-thinking director capable of making a decision and moving on if something wasn't working."
They were also looking for someone who was not a member of the Directors Guild since Lucas had resigned from the guild as a result of a dispute about the credits on The Empire Strikes Back and his company was no longer a signatory to the guild. Although many Hollywood directors were reportedly willing to direct Jedi, the decision was made ultimately to engage Richard Marquand, an English director. The fact that most of the production crew was also English and the bulk of the film was to be shot on stages in England, made the choice of an English director quite logical. More importantly, however, Marquand seemed to meet all of the other requirements.
Marquand's background might at first blush seem a bit unusual for the director of a Star Wars picture. Educated at Cambridge where he acted in the theater, he had built a substantial career as a director of television documentaries for the BBC. He had received two Emmy Awards, the first in 1972 for Search For The Nile, and had directed three features: The Legacy, starring Katherine Ross, Birth of the Beatles, and Eye Of The Needle, starring Donald Sutherland. He was still completing Eye of the Needle when he first began discussions about Jedi. He had no experience with special effects to speak of and none of his films seem comparable to a Star Wars picture either in the scope of the production or in the narrative style. He did, however, believe in Wookies.
"I believe in The Force and I believe in Luke Skywalker," he says. " I absolutely take the myth seriously. I believe in the same way as I believe in the stories of Arthur and the Round Table or in the stories of Robin Hood. You don't approach this type of movie, or indeed any movie with cynicism, because if you do you're dead. You can see it on the screen: you can smell the cynical director. And if you can tell it in any movie, then you can certainly tell it in Star Wars which is a movie about innocence. I'm constantly being told by friends that I'm an innocent. I take people at face value and then it turns out they're crooks. It happens to me all the time, but I just think that's the only way you can get through life actually by being starry-eyed. I wear rose-colored spectacles."
In addition to his sympathy with the spirit of the Star Wars myth, Marquand brought to the production an ability to work with actors, his own sense of dramatic structure, a particular method of managing a crew and an appreciation for Lucas's visual style. "I like the way George has made the three movies that he's actually directed. He's a very deceptively simple stylist. His movies have a look of ease about them, and I now can say with truth it's very difficult to be that simple. It's surprisingly complex, but looks easy. That's part of what makes Star Wars so available to children, and I wanted to go back to that sort of presentation in Jedi rather than the highly sophisticated, sexy way in which Kirschner made Empire, which I enjoyedI thought it looked like an incredible, glossy, glorious sort of machinebut I prefer the other way."
Part of what this meant for Marquand was a reliance on simple static camera setups. Marquand feels that Bertolucci and Spielberg are directors who know how to use a moving camera to enhance the emotional impact of a scene, but that too many other directors move the camera pointlessly. "You can cover a multitude of sins by doing some wonderful crane shot that turns into a tracking shot, but it's like the tendency to say that the music will sort out a problem." Rather than compensate for a weakness in a scene by moving the camera, Marquand would rather solve the problem in the staging or interpretation of the scene itself. It's really exciting when you can get it right in a medium shot without doing anything with the camera. I like it when the camera doesn't move. I try to keep it as simple as possible."
Simple is not the same as mundane, however, and Marquand believes that he was chosen to direct Jedi partially because as he puts it, "I do have a cinematic eye. I don't shoot what I call movies for the blind>" He also believes that his background in documentaries ("By documentary films I mean films about real people, where you follow them around with a handheld camera and really get inside their lives. I don't mean reportage or newsreel stuff.") developed his eye for detail. "You see how people behave, you watch them when you're not filming them and you become very aware of what reality really isthe rough stuff of life, not the well-honed performances."
Approaching Return of The Jedi with a sense of realism goes hand in hand with his belief in the myth. He contrasts his approach to Jedi with the way the remake of Flash Gordon was done. "I found Flash Gordon disappointing and it was purely because I disagree with the way that Mike Hodges directed it, which was tongue-in-cheek. I like the guy and admire a lot of his work, but I don't think tongue-in-cheek works on the screen. I don't think it has ever worked. It's not possible unless it's completely outrageous camp like Monty Python where you're demonstrating to the audience precisely where they stand the whole time and then it's OK."
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