This past week, Raiders of the Lost Ark turned 37 years old. And although Harrison Ford may be out of the Star Wars franchise, ol’ Indy’s still alive and kicking. In fact, a new Indiana Jones movie is set to start filming in England next spring, with Steven Spielberg once again directing. But even though Spielberg has been at the helm for all five of the past and future Indy movies, the character itself is the brainchild of George Lucas. When we spoke to Lucas, he told us that coming up with Indiana Jones has been a gift that’s kept on giving in all kinds of ways. (Click on the media bar below to hear George Lucas)
The fifth — and currently untitled — Indiana Jones movie is set for a July 10, 2020 release.
In 1973, Ron Howard was 19 years old and a well-known child TV star, but had yet to prove himself in a major movie role. That changed when George Lucas offered him a starring role in his first major Hollywood movie, American Graffiti. That sparked a long-running friendship between the two men, which came in helpful when Howard was offered the reins of Solo, the movie based on Lucas‘ creation, Star Wars. Howard says that Lucas offered him two key pieces of advice about directing the movie.
Solo: A Star Wars Story, is playing now in theaters everywhere.
On May 25, 1977, 20th Century Fox released a new movie into 32 theaters with little fanfare. Some industry insiders believed the studio was essentially burying the film with such a limited rollout. Nobody believed that it would make Hollywood history.
That movie, of course, was Star Wars. Before it became Episode IV: A New Hope, it was just a stand-alone film from a young filmmaker directing only his second full-length movie, starring three young leads whose names had never appeared on a movie poster before. By the time its run in theaters was done, it had become the highest-grossing movie of all time. With a box office total of $307.3 million, it blew away the previous record holder, 1975’s Jaws, by nearly $50 million. And since then, it’s become one of Hollywood’s biggest franchises, with 10 films grossing $3.7 billion.
George Lucas could have predicted none of that. The writer/director told us that, as he prepared for the movie’s release, he had very modest expectations. (Click on the media bar below to hear George Lucas.)
Star Wars transformed its stars — Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford — from relative unknowns into superstars almost overnight. Ford, who went on to become one of Hollywood’s most successful actors, has played several memorable characters. But to most fans, none is bigger or more beloved than Han Solo, and Ford is constantly amazed by how moviegoers young and old show their love for the movie and the character. (Click on the media bar below to hear Harrison Ford)
As young Jedi-in-training Luke Skywalker, Hamill spent much of the movie teamed up with mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi, played by Academy Award winner Sir Alec Guinness. For an actor still learning his craft, Hamill told us that getting to work with a legend like Guinness was an incomparable experience, one that still resonates with him four decades later. (Click on the media bar below to hear Mark Hamill)
How big was the Star Wars phenomenon? Well, it put the London Symphony Orchestra on the pop chart! The original soundtrack recording of the Star Wars Main Theme reached Number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1977, and Meco’s disco arrangement topped the chart that very same month. Credit that to the magic of John Williams, who created a piece of music that’s as much a part of the movie as any of the characters. Just ask Lucas, who says the importance of Williams’ work should not be overlooked. (Click on the media bar below to hear George Lucas)
So, on behalf of every little kid who ever pretended to wield a light sabre, the movie buffs who can recite every single line, and every filmmaker who’s benefited from the way it’s changed the way movies are made, happy 40th anniversary, Star Wars!
He’s brought lots of joy to the big screen, but one day you’ll be able to screen some of George Lucas‘ works in a museum. Lucas has chosen Los Angeles’ Exposition Park as the site for his Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. The billion dollar museum is expected to generate 1,500 new construction jobs and 350 permanent jobs with no cost to taxpayers.
Details are starting to come together for the next Avengers film, titled Avengers: Infinity War. According to Screen Rant, actor Tom Holland told Vogue Italia that Spider-Man will appear in the upcoming film. The film is expected to shoot in Scotland. Other actors who are reportedly associated with the film include Zoe Saldana as Gamora and Liv Tyler as Betty Ross.
Matt Damon‘s busy schedule has forced his hand. According to Deadline, Damon was planning to direct his first film, Father Daughter Time: A Tale of Armed Robbery and Eskimo Kisses, but has now given up his directing duties to The Accountant director Gavin O’Connor. Damon will remain associated with the film, taking a producer’s credit. As you might gather by the title, the movie centers on a man who goes on the lam with his young daughter in tow as he takes part in a three-state spree.
Academy Award winning film composer John Williams, the mastermind behind the iconic scores E.T., Superman (1977), The Indiana Jonesfranchise, and all the Star Wars films including the newest Star Wars: The Force Awakens which comes out December will be the recipient of the 44th AFI Life Achievement Award recipient, which will held June 9, 2016 in Los Angeles.
Over his seven decade spanning career, Williams has won five Academy Awards and 22 Grammys. He has garnered 49 Oscar nominations, making him the second-most-nominated artist after Walt Disney.
Over the years we have spoken with a healthy share of cinema’s greatest directors. A few years back we spoke to George Lucas, the man who created the Star Wars franchise, and he said Williams is very important to the Star Wars films. (Click on the media bar to hear George Lucas)
Who could ever forget the Theme from Superman, the 1978 film which turned Christopher Reeve into an A-list star? We spoke to director Richard Donner and his good friend, the late Tom Mankiewicz, who helped write the film. They explained the behind the scenes story of how they got John Williams to write the score and theme to Superman. (Click on the media bar to hear Richard Donner)