Han Solo makes a welcome return
Lucasfilm and visionary director J.J. Abrams join forces to take you back again to a galaxy far, far away as Star Wars returns to the big screen with Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The film stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Max Von Sydow. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk are producing with Tommy Harper and Jason McGatlin serving as executive producers. The screenplay is by J.J. Abrams & Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Arndt.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens on 16 December 2015 (South Africa).
Q: Is this the first interview since the Jedi days?
A: It’s certainly a part of almost every general interview. But specific to the “Star Wars” films, I probably haven’t talked about it for something like twenty-five years.
Q: Did you need persuading to come back?
A: I had a degree of self-interest. I was very gratified when I first saw the script and thought there were some amazing ideas; interesting things to do. Then I was very excited for the opportunity to work with J.J. Abrams, whom I’ve known for a long time.
Q: You’ve known Kathleen Kennedy for a long time. Was her involvement part of the attraction?
A: It’s the story; it’s the movie that’s going to be made. Of course, people are a very important part of the mix and you have relationships with people that are very important. I have a very long and fruitful relationship with Kathy Kennedy, so I was glad to be able to work with her again. I thought it was going to be fun. I knew that the film would be in good hands, but that wasn’t the only attraction to the project for me.
Q: What did J.J. Abrams tell you about his vision?
A: We had discussions about development of that character and his relationship to other characters in the story. They were very interesting and encouraging conversations. Then there was some work done in respect of the questions I had or input that I had with J.J. Abrams and I was pleased with that. But I’m a ‘get on at the beginning’ and ‘off at the end’ kind of guy, so I don’t really remember the street signs along the way.
Q: Was it enjoyable to be able to give more input?
A: We all had a certain amount of input once we got started. Over the course of making the “Star Wars” films, we worked with three different directors and each of them had a different style and different attitude towards the process. I would say that the relationship with those three different directors was different but I always felt that there was a degree of collaboration that was comfortable for everybody involved.
Q: What does J.J. Abrams bring to the table as a director?
A: He’s very thoughtful and very wise about human nature and the development of character and relationships. He brings a real sincerity and emotional understanding to relationships, which is something I was very pleased to see. He’s an enormously skilled filmmaker and very efficient director and producer. So it has been a real pleasure to work with him and all of the members of his team as this film has gone on.
Q: What is it like working with Daisy Ridley and John Boyega?
A: They are both very engaging personalities; both in their real lives and in their screen characters. I think the audiences will be delighted to make their acquaintance and follow them through the story. They’re both very inventive and spirited presences. Their characters are very interesting and go through some interesting changes. The casting has been brilliant, in both cases.
Q: Are relatable characters important?
A: The genius has always been this science fiction, fantasy context but underpinned by an emotionally recognizable human story that we all relate to by degree. We all recognize the power of these relationships, and the complications in people’s lives, and it’s made these films so important to pass on from generation to generation. You can call them family films, but they are iconic representations of what we know about the complications of our lives.