Star Wars made George Lucas a fortune and transformed an industry. Now he brings us The Clone Wars, an animated film with a host of familiar faces
Just because I’m not Britney Spears, it doesn’t mean that I’m a recluse.” Sitting in his headquarters at Skywalker Ranch, George Lucas is engaged in a bout of myth-busting. Given the rarefied nature of a Lucas interview, the creator of Star Wars is often cast as something of a loner, a professional Han Solo, dismissing the outside world while sitting astride his empire, Lucasfilm, which is buried in the heart of Lucas Valley, in northern California. (The locale, inciden-tally, boasted the name long before the film-maker arrived.) “Honestly, everyone feels you have to talk about yourself all the time,” he says. “They say I’m introverted because I don’t give many interviews. But I don’t give many interviews because I don’t make many films.”
Lucas concedes that he can find interviews uncomfortable. “They’re hard work,” he says, “but this is part of the film-making process. It’s hard for you, I realise that, but it’s hard for us, too.” Truth be told, much of the mystery that surrounds him stems from the fact that journalists often treat him with extreme deference. While his film-making peers, from Spielberg to Scorsese, have all attained iconic status, Lucas is set apart in the pantheon: he created Star Wars and, for many, that elevates him to a different plane. In consequence, interviewers rarely inquire into his private life, his 1983 divorce from Marcia (his wife of 14 years and a close professional collaborator) and the fact that he went on to raise three children as a single parent. Yet surely these events must have had a profound effect on his work?
“Probably,” he concedes. “If I’ve directed fewer movies than I might have, it was a combination of things. But I think the most outstanding thing was that, back then, I was financially devastated and I had to get myself back on my feet. And, at the same time, I had a daughter to raise. These two things together changed my focus. I decided to spend time building up the company and doing things I could do a few hours a day.
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