Stars And Wars

Art direc­tor draws on past ex­pe­ri­ences

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Books -

Re­lease Date: 1 June

167 pages | Hard­back Au­thor: Alan Tomkins Pub­lisher: The His­tory Press

In a ca­reer span­ning 50

years, Alan Tomkins served as art direc­tor on more than 100 films, in­clud­ing Lawrence Of Ara­bia, Cleopa­tra, six Bonds, two Bat­mans and one Star Wars ( the best one).

Of the 20 or so movies high­lighted in this mem­oir – com­plete with Tomkins’s own on- set pho­to­graphs – around half a dozen pass the SFX test, in­clud­ing a mem­o­rable chap­ter on 2001: A Space Odyssey, in which Stan­ley Kubrick proves to be as ex­act­ing a taskmas­ter as you’d ex­pect. In­deed, it’s thanks to Kubrick there are no pro­duc­tion draw­ings to ac­com­pany the text, as the direc­tor or­dered them all to be de­stroyed on the film’s com­ple­tion. Of his work on The Em­pire Strikes Back, mean­while, Tomkins re­calls a mem­o­rable trip to Nor­way – dou­bling for Hoth – where the weather was so bad they ended up shoot­ing scenes in a snow­drift at the ho­tel.

Light on any­thing you might call gos­sip ( in a typ­i­cally devil­ish fore­word, Oliver Stone re­bukes the au­thor for his but­toned- up English­ness), this is nev­er­the­less an en­gag­ing, hand­somely il­lus­trated peek be­hind the flats of some of the most iconic movies ever made. Paul Kirkley Film­ing Em­pire, a snow­plough driver was bribed with vodka to col­lect Har­ri­son Ford, who was trudg­ing to the lo­ca­tion on foot.

A snowspeeder un­der con­struc­tion in Nor­way.

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