Star Wars may get the Force with JJ Abrams at helm

Yorkshire Post - Culture & The Guide - - FILM - Tony Earn­shaw

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.

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