Star Wars may get the Force with JJ Abrams at helm
and your career. And at the same time it’s one of those things that just sticks with you and people will always talk about. You have to just find a way of enjoying that. It’s the same with Mamma Mia! with me. It’s always mentioned on a daily basis.”
Playing Munnings meant Cooper, perhaps inevitably, tried his hand at art. “You’re desperate to be remotely good at it, which I wasn’t. We had lessons. It was important for us to look like we knew what we were doing. We all aspire to be good. I was always dreadful at it and still am.”
Did he go down the Method route and practice until his hands bled? Cooper smiles.
“Not a great deal but just enough to make it look like you understood the distance and the relationship between the brush and the canvas. Unlike most films we were all in this one particular area – this beautiful part of Cornwall, Lamorna Cove.
“There was this old country pub that they actually drank in, called The Wink. There was only ever one customer sitting at the end of the bar. We sat there every evening and discussed the issues of the day and the project exactly as they would have done. It was wonderful to have that companionship.”
Summer in February (15) is on nationwide release. THE mighty shadow of Star Wars looms as the seventh movie is readied for a 2015 release. The movie, to be made by fanboy turned manof-the-moment JJ Abrams, will be shot in England just as the original trilogy was in the late 70s and early 80s. And that’s good news for the UK film industry.
So my heart skips a beat whenever I read a report. It’s like being 12 again and knowing that Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie and the droids are out there, deep in the cosmos, battling evil on an intergalactic scale.
Yet I cannot help but feel cautious at what may yet happen to the memories of my teenage years.
When George Lucas announced his special editions in the 1990s there were mutterings that he was messing with the purity of his vision – putting right things that only he cared about.
Thus the tinkering that “tidied up” Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi made many fans nervous. And thousands of them claimed their fears had been realised when Lucas unveiled his prequels.
Dodgy acting, childlike, underwritten scenarios, clumsy direction… all these claims were made against Lucas, the man who had conceived the Star Wars universe in the first place.
Many were justified. Some were not. And to movie buffs for whom Star Wars represented the preserved innocence of childhood, Lucas appeared to have lost the plot.
Yet every one of them – every one of us – wanted more. In the case of George Lucas it was a case of “You’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t”.
There is a global audience with a built-in claim on Star Wars, Luke Skywalker and co. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone adopts a feeling of territoriality.
Step up JJ Abrams. After Super 8, Star Trek and its sequel Abrams is the man with his finger on the pulse of Star Wars. He’s the man who can – the fortysomething who grew up amidst Lucas’s sci-fantasy universe. Surely it’s in good hands with him?
One would assume so. Yet even Abrams is playing a cautious game. He has said that the new film will honour but not revere what went before, leaving open the possibility that those old characters may make fleeting appearances – or may not be seen at all.
He makes good, logical, pragmatic sense. It’s now almost 40 years since Star Wars went into production. It was groundbreaking at the time; but in movie terms 1976 is ancient history. And cinema has changed.
Should Abrams be shackled to our collective past?
Should fan pressure be exerted upon him, forcing the inclusion of superannuated stars to sate our sense of nostalgia? Or should he be free to fly beyond the boundaries of the existing Star Wars universe – to explore brave news, to seek out new life and new civilisations…?
If Star Trek can undergo constant re-invention, so can Star Wars. Purists will howl their opposition but I for one don’t want to see a creaky 73-year-old Han Solo attempting to recapture the swashbuckling dash of his former self.
Star Wars is a museum piece. George Lucas recognised that when he sold it to Disney. It needs reenergising. It needs the Force. With JJ Abrams it might just get it.
MAN OF THE MOMENT: Director JJ Abrams could well be the right man for the job of revitalising the StarWars brand.