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Old 08-26-2010, 09:17 AM   #101
Rocket Surgeon
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2002 Interview with Gary Kurtz

http://www.asitecalledfred.com/2010/...rtz-interview/

An excellent and in-depth interview with Gary Kurtz. If you don't know who that is...

Interesting in light of his Celebration appearance.

Here's a bit

Quote:
PLUME: From your personal experience, how would you compare the George you worked with on American Graffiti to the George you worked with towards the end of The Empire Strikes Back?

KURTZ: It was quite different, actually. He was very different. I think the most unfortunate thing that happened was the fact that Indiana Jones came along, and Raiders of the Lost Ark had come out in between. George and I had many, many discussions about that, but it boiled down to the fact that he became convinced that all the audience was interested in was the roller-coaster ride, and so the story and the script didn’t matter anymore.

Now Raiders is not a bad film, but the script actually was much better than the finished film. There were a lot more nuances in the character, and there was less action. It would’ve been a better picture if that script had been made. But, as it is, it’s an interesting and entertaining film – it’s just that this idea that somehow the energy doesn’t have to be put into getting really good story elements together. One of the arguments that I had with George about Empire was the fact that he felt in the end, he said, we could have made just as much money if the film hadn’t been quite so good, and you hadn’t spent so much time. And I said, “But it was worth it!”

PLUME: And so it’s the argument between doing the best you can, and good enough?

KURTZ: Yes, and I know that there’s an extreme that you can go to. I also knew Stanley Kubrick quite well, and I know that he’s probably the epitome of the perfection-oriented. In fact, I think he actually was clinically obsessive-compulsive, probably, in the end. He would go to unbelievable lengths to have it be exactly the way he wanted it, and he didn’t have any money problems – Warner Brothers was writing the checks and they didn’t care what he did. But it still didn’t matter, beyond a certain point. In my personal opinion, after Clockwork Orange, his efforts went downhill, basically. Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and Eyes Wide Shut all are less than interesting films, as far as I’m concerned.

PLUME: Well, I think they show that era of overdevelopment. They were very sterile films.

KURTZ: Yes, well, part of that was his own personal paranoia about being out in the world. Which he didn’t have, even up to – well, he was shooting The Shining when we were preparing Empire, and I had lots of run-ins with him at the studio, and had lunch and dinner with him many times. During that time period, he was still working at the studio, he was still traveling in from his house, and he would still go to the cinema occasionally, or go out to dinner at restaurants.

After The Shining was in editing, I went out to his home in St. Albans several times for dinner, and to screenings that he had there for small groups of friends. He stopped going out, and he stopped going into the world at all. The world had to come to him. I think that that was the biggest problem … he holed up there, and he didn’t have any contact with the rest of the world. Except on the telephone, where he would talk to people endlessly. He’d call them up in the middle of the night. That was fine, he enjoyed doing that, but I think that his contact with the world – in terms of how he interpreted the world on film – suffered.
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Old 08-26-2010, 09:44 AM   #102
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KURTZ: It was quite different, actually. He was very different. I think the most unfortunate thing that happened was the fact that Indiana Jones came along, and Raiders of the Lost Ark had come out in between. George and I had many, many discussions about that, but it boiled down to the fact that he became convinced that all the audience was interested in was the roller-coaster ride, and so the story and the script didn’t matter anymore.

And George's obsession with the "roller-coaster ride" got more and more obsessive, until he finally gave us KOTCS. The seeds of self-destruction were already planted long ago...
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Old 08-26-2010, 09:52 AM   #103
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Originally Posted by Montana Smith
And George's obsession with the "roller-coaster ride" got more and more obsessive, until he finally gave us KOTCS. The seeds of self-destruction were already planted long ago...
There are many "omens" which Skull can be seen through...one which jumps out:

Quote:
PLUME: Well it’s ironic to me … I was talking to somebody who has a lot of good friends at ILM, especially in the conceptual department, and he said that George has basically a new catch phrase in the development process. His new catch phrase is “It’s good enough,” and they say he uses it all the time now. When you’re talking about that idea of only going to a certain depth because the audience only wants the quick and easy impact, and then move along…. That somehow the audience isn’t observant, so why should we be overly detailed… it’s just fascinating to compare that with the observations you made.

His contention that the Raiders story was weak too is interesting...well the script was strong, but the film was shy of that.
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Old 08-26-2010, 09:52 AM   #104
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Awesome interview with Kurtz. I remember as a kid staring at all the names on my Empire Strikes Back poster for hours. Among them, Gary Kurtz always stood out to me as a mysterious figure. I always wondered who he was(back then). Of course, later with the internet, these wonderful interviews and retrospectives started to shed more light on all the film contributors. Also, when he replied to the USC film program respect question with "Oh, it was quite well respected", it reminded me of 3PO's "Ooooooo...he should be quite well protected..." line in Empire.
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Old 08-26-2010, 10:06 AM   #105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocket Surgeon
There are many "omens" which Skull can be seen through...one which jumps out:



His contention that the Raiders story was weak too is interesting...well the script was strong, but the film was shy of that.

George has become a frustrating character, because he conceives a series of great ideas, builds a semblance of a story, then invites us into his world. As time goes on, we find that his world is intensely personal, and some of us get fidgety that it's not the same world we thought it was. And we think back to his golden age, before the onset of his insanity. Before he started tinkering with Star Wars, and before he said of The Phantom Menace or KOTCS, “It’s good enough.” Because "good enough" just doesn't cut it with fans who gave themselves over to George's original vision.

So we have to grin and bear it, as it's George's world and vision. And we wait to see if his "illness" will pass, and he'll somehow regain his former senses.

We wait for Indy V, and I at least am half in favour of never seeing it materialize. I wish he'd never made the three Star Wars prequels, because the three prequels didn't live up to the scope of my imagination (back in the early 80s the Eagle comic purported there would be three prequels and three sequels, making a nine movie series, so I had quite a few years for my imagination to work overtime).
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Old 08-26-2010, 10:20 AM   #106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montana Smith
George has become a frustrating character, because he conceives a series of great ideas, builds a semblance of a story, then invites us into his world. As time goes on, we find that his world is intensely personal, and some of us get fidgety that it's not the same world we thought it was.

It strikes me that the “It’s good enough” attitude extended itself beyond breaking 2 of the engines off the Flying Wing to save half a million dollars...and crept into the story content/script area.

I think one of the great things about Raiders is what Kurtz touts about Star Wars and Empire, (and Jedi lacked), there's a subtext, side bars which hint at a greater depth. Kasdan didn't like all the dialog that was dropped, especially in The Raven, but it seems to me two people with that type of history thrown together would talk to each other like that. It would have been different if Kasdan hadn't written the script so detailed but what fun we've had discovering the back story.

Something I believe Skull was bereft of..
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Old 08-26-2010, 10:57 AM   #107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocket Surgeon
It strikes me that the “It’s good enough” attitude extended itself beyond breaking 2 of the engines off the Flying Wing to save half a million dollars...and crept into the story content/script area.

I think one of the great things about Raiders is what Kurtz touts about Star Wars and Empire, (and Jedi lacked), there's a subtext, side bars which hint at a greater depth. Kasdan didn't like all the dialog that was dropped, especially in The Raven, but it seems to me two people with that type of history thrown together would talk to each other like that. It would have been different if Kasdan hadn't written the script so detailed but what fun we've had discovering the back story.

Something I believe Skull was bereft of..

I'm with you. KOTCS went through the motions with characters whom I either disbelieved or disliked. For all it's comic book sensibilities, Raiders had great characters and a real sense of emotion. By the time we get to KOTCS the only character left is Indy, and all others are either under-used, or mis-used.

Lucas said he had the idea of the complete Star Wars story conceived before Alan Dean Foster kindly wrote it for him. So it was in Lucas' mind to portray the seeds of an incestuous relationship in The Empire Strikes Back. Only in retrospect do we discover that Luke was in love with his sister. Not only does this go beyond the normal realm of story-telling with regards to the intended audience, but it also shows that Lucas had a broad vision.

It took so long to bring that vision to screen (especially the three prequels) that his concept of that world had changed. The same can be said for Indy. The roller-coaster mentality took over more and more. If he'd had the budget we would have had the TOD mine car roller-coaster in ROTLA, so we would have been more prepared for TOD itself.

Maybe then, KOTCS was closer to the vision George had in the late 70s. It's just that he only had the budget and ability to achieve it all those years later. Just as he updated the original Star Wars trilogy in the mid-90s, when he had the budget and ability to add everything he wanted to do in the first place.

The trouble is, with Indy and with Star Wars, many of us were quite happy with what he gave us in the first place.
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Old 08-26-2010, 04:26 PM   #108
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I don't agree with Kurtz because the Star Wars prequels are everything except roller-coasters. They have a lot of expository scenes with politics, boring love scenes and a very slow pacing.

In fact one of the strong points of the first Star Wars 1977 was that it was too fast with a lot of imaginative action and little -but significant- expository scenes. The same with Raiders: for 1981 audiences it was a roller coaster (One of the main criticism in the reviews) with a serial mentality: the beginning with peril after peril is a great example. The character scenes are brief but visually interesting with a lot of humour.

IMHO Spielberg still has that roller coaster mentality (War of the worlds is set piece after set piece) and that's the main difference between KOTCS and the Star Wars prequels: more fun and less boring scenes. You could see that in the running time, the prequels are over 2 hours.
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Old 08-26-2010, 10:09 PM   #109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montana Smith
(back in the early 80s the Eagle comic purported there would be three prequels and three sequels, making a nine movie series, so I had quite a few years for my imagination to work overtime).

And then George thought 6 movies were "good enough" rather than 9. The perfect theme song for George Lucas:



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Old 08-26-2010, 10:36 PM   #110
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Originally Posted by Goonie
And then George thought 6 movies were "good enough" rather than 9.

Well, that judgment I find hard to dispute. 9 epic films on more or less the same subject, in the same context, about the same world? Allowing very little variation in tone? No thanks. I wouldn't want to see them, much less work on them.

A bit of full disclosure: I haven't actually seen the prequels, and all that has to do with my childhood is that I only bothered to watch the original trilogy three times. They've just never captured my interest. With that said, I also think 5 more Indiana Jones films that operate on roughly the same principles of the four we've seen thus far - I'm a big fan of the Young Indy installments, but they aren't the same sort of story - would be overkill too.
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Old 08-27-2010, 01:23 AM   #111
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Originally Posted by Attila the Professor
Well, that judgment I find hard to dispute. 9 epic films on more or less the same subject, in the same context, about the same world? Allowing very little variation in tone? No thanks. I wouldn't want to see them, much less work on them.

When I imagined the three prequels I didn't have an army of comedy droids in mind, nor a slap-stick Jar-Jar. When I imagined the three sequels I had in mind the original cast returning as older versions of themselves tackling post-Empire threats (which the novels have now covered well).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Attila the Professor
A bit of full disclosure: I haven't actually seen the prequels, and all that has to do with my childhood is that I only bothered to watch the original trilogy three times. They've just never captured my interest. With that said, I also think 5 more Indiana Jones films that operate on roughly the same principles of the four we've seen thus far - I'm a big fan of the Young Indy installments, but they aren't the same sort of story - would be overkill too.

One more Indy movie might be too many, if the sensibilities of KOTCS are anything to go by. We'll either be flogging a dead Indy, or flogging a persistant Shia LeHam. Animation is the way to go, and start back in the 1930s.
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Old 08-27-2010, 09:12 AM   #112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Attila the Professor
A bit of full disclosure: I haven't actually seen the prequels

As many have most likely pointed out to you Attila, you didn't miss anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Attila the Professor
I only bothered to watch the original trilogy three times.

A real travesty. I guess you have your personal reasons. Nothing captured my imagination more as a kid than The Empire Strikes Back, well except maybe Raiders or Last Crusade. I once watched Empire in more than 100 consecutive days as a youngster. I'm not kidding. That is probably nothing compared to other die hard fans.
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Old 08-27-2010, 08:23 PM   #113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Attila the Professor
I haven't actually seen the prequels
You should view them in one sitting with subtitles and George's commentary. Drink every time he says motif. He didn't have quite enough story for a trilogy, evidenced by no one asking for Episode 0. Episodes 7 on could still be unique though, since each trilogy represents a different era... golden age 20's, war years 40's. I suspect he's jotted some ideas down. He'd be crazy not to. His (and Spielberg's) earliest hits are halfway to public domain and I suspect he'll want to leave a personal legacy.
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Old 08-28-2010, 12:14 AM   #114
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Originally Posted by Moedred
You should view them in one sitting with subtitles and George's commentary. Drink every time he says motif.

Now that could be compelling. I really have been meaning to see them for awhile, if just in order to be conversant in them, and this idea could be the push...
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Old 08-28-2010, 09:18 AM   #115
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Originally Posted by Attila the Professor
Now that could be compelling. I really have been meaning to see them for awhile, if just in order to be conversant in them, and this idea could be the push...
Before you do, your perspective on them right now is even more interesting.

Based on opinions you respect, (and don't), based on what films you have seen, (Crystal Skull) and other personal mitigating factors...what's your expectation?

Besides sliiping into a coma, one suggestion: don't drink anything you enjoy the taste of...
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Old 08-28-2010, 01:34 PM   #116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocket Surgeon
Before you do, your perspective on them right now is even more interesting.

Based on opinions you respect, (and don't), based on what films you have seen, (Crystal Skull) and other personal mitigating factors...what's your expectation?

All right, I dig this.

So I've seen about 20 minutes that seems to be from the middle of Attack of the Clones. Probably about 10 minutes from Phantom Menace. They do seem very, very heavy on the CGI, which isn't something I'm always extremely against - it's often necessary, and the ants for one were quite effective, in my mind - but it robs the actors and the director of the ability to really feel the world they are meant to be telling the story of. That can work when you're working with something semi-abstract (I'm sort of thinking of Our Town here) but not when the whole idea of it is this massive world that Lucas created. It doesn't seem to feel real.

Obviously there's Jar Jar Binks, which is the sort of thing that seems, honestly, on the other side of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, more like a Spielberg idea than a Lucas one, in certain respects. It's hard to really say what feels most like it comes from Lucas rather than Spielberg in Crystal Skull, since so much of the weak spots - monkeys, prairie dogs, soft(er) violence - seem more characteristic of the director rather than the producer. (See the Raiders transcripts.) We keep coming back to this question of Raiders feeling grittier, and I don't think that's just a turn of phrase, it's literal - when things are digitally created, there is no grit. There's nothing for an actor to feel, there aren't real environments for a director to find his angles in.

There's the heavy-handed political debates, which are things I definitely get into when I can really feel the context - but this is more or less George operating in a vacuum with the freedom to create any kind of world he wants in order to score whatever points he might have. ("If you're not with me, you're my enemy." Geez.) And there's everything I've heard of the romance, which sounds just as bloodless and uncomprehending of actual human relationships as the political stuff does. Ford still has the best line on this: "You can write this sh-- George, but you can't say it."

And then the other piece is that I just don't get into science fiction or fantasy that much, and this is clearly somewhere in-between. I enjoy the first two Star Wars films, and I'll watch some of them when they're on television but they're never things that I'm pushed to see. Maybe this is a genre blind spot for me, but I'm essentially a realist, and while the Indy movies have fantastical elements, they're all pretty well grounded in actual myths and actual histories, despite things like the strange, not-quite-our-world physics that Montana often brings up and bits like the Germans having a massive dig site in British-held Egypt.

The Star Wars films are created to be myths, I get that. And I'm a huge fan of Westerns, so modern myth-making is something I have a lot of interest in. But there's what seems like such a willfully huge disconnect from the real world here, and I just can't push myself to be interested, other than because it seems like a set of films I ought to see so I can actually comment on them. (And, well, I hear McGregor's got a pretty good Guinness going by Revenge of the Sith.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocket Surgeon
Besides sliiping into a coma, one suggestion: don't drink anything you enjoy the taste of...

Corona, then?
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Old 10-02-2010, 03:01 PM   #117
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Star Wars re-release

George Lucas has announced that he will be re-releasing the entire Star Wars Saga in a Special Collectors Edition Boxset of Special Collectors Editions, with previously unseen footage that wasn’t deemed interesting enough for any of the previous fifteen releases.

The news will be a blow to fans of the series that have already spent vast quantities of money on the Special Collection of Collectors Editions and the Special Edition of Special collections Edition, the one with commentary from George Lucas’ cleaner.

“I’ve already built an extension to house all the re-released repackaged special edition collectors boxsets that have been released so far,” Explained Star Wars devotee Phillip Howe.

“I could try and resist buying the latest, but I’ve heard it comes with a free plastic cup with a picture of someone that once stood in a lift with the guy who played Chewbacca.”

“I’m just really hoping this latest version doesn’t also make me think Jar Jar Binks was created by a simpleton racist.”


Lucas has revealed that the boxset, which will be a limited edition of just 25 million copies, gives fans the opportunity to view all 6 parts in a way they’ve never been able to before.

“This is very exciting,” he enthused. “Not only will it allow fans to watch all six episodes in the traditional start-to-finish manner, they will now be able to watch it backwards too.”

“New technology that we’ve developed called UpsideDown-o-vision will also allow them to watch the action as if they were standing on their head.”

“It will also come with some glasses that allow the viewer to watch the action blurred, recreating the experience of someone who was watching the film with really bad eyesight, a bit like Yoda. Yes, we’re calling it Yoda-vision.”
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Old 10-07-2010, 08:23 PM   #118
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"I'm gonna grow a beard... this long."

A rare beardless video clip was removed. He was unrecognizable.
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Old 10-07-2010, 09:14 PM   #119
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*it may have actually been 1984; that was when he and Rondstat started seeing each other. I thought I remembered the beardless video footage being from 1985 though.
The tie looks 1984/85 but his blazer says 1985. (If it is from '84, then George was quite up-to-the-minute.)
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Old 10-07-2010, 10:54 PM   #120
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He looks like Lee Harvey Oswald.
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Old 10-07-2010, 11:09 PM   #121
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That looks like an oval Disneyland name tag, probably for the Captain EO grand opening in September 1986. The clean cut professor, waiting on the first Indy grail draft...
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Old 10-08-2010, 12:58 AM   #122
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That looks like an oval Disneyland name tag, probably for the Captain EO grand opening in September 1986. The clean cut professor, waiting on the first Indy grail draft...

I concur. The little image on the tag looks like the Mickey with arms outstretched that usually appears on the tags.
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Old 12-04-2010, 11:11 PM   #123
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George Lucas Mourns His "Mentor," Empire's Irvin Kershner

"The world has lost a great director and one of the most genuine people I've had the pleasure of knowing. Irvin Kershner was a true gentleman in every sense of the word."

"I knew him from USC—I attended his lectures and he was on the festival panel that gave the prize to my THX short. I considered him a mentor."

"Following Star Wars, I knew one thing for sure: I didn't want to direct the second movie myself," I needed someone I could trust, someone I really admired and whose work had maturity and humor. That was Kersh all over.
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Old 12-06-2010, 11:52 PM   #124
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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1335215
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‘He’s been buying up the film rights to dead movie stars in the hope of using computer trickery to put them all together in a movie, so you’d have Orson Welles and Barbara Stanwyck appear alongside today’s stars.’
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Old 12-07-2010, 10:33 AM   #125
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You have got to be kidding me.

But if he can bring back Humphrey Bogart and Robert Armstrong, then hell, I'm cool with it, I guess...
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