Sunday, 28 September 2014

Rian Johnson discusses his Star Wars experience so far

Back in June it was announced that Looper (2012) and Breaking Bad director Rian Johnson had been chosen to craft Star Wars: Episode VIII and, most likely, Episode IX. From the sounds of his recent reports on the new job, his experience working within the revitalised franchise is more positive than even he expected. While we don't have much in the way of new information about the films, unsurprisingly, a recent interview with TalkHouse Film should reassure people that Johnson feels creatively inspired by Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm's vision.

A lifelong Star Wars fan, Johnson is enthusiastic about the work, which helps assuage some worries that directors with vision are being hired and then yoked into a system that negates what they can bring to the work. Chatting to Terry Gilliam (The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus) on the TalkHouse Film Podcast, Johnson was positive about his time so far, even though it's early days.

"I'm just starting into it, but so far it's the most fun I've ever had writing. It's just joyous," he says. "The first movies I was making in my head were part of this world, so part of it is a direct connection – it's almost like an automatic jacking-in into childhood in a weird way."

And what has he faced so far? "I'm figuring it out as I go. I'm dancing on top of the avalanche a little bit. But it's a challenge of remembering what inspires you about the original films, but I think you can probably go to the wrong place by feeling too responsible to it. You have to keep your head loose enough to tell a story you actually care about."

He also has nothing but praise for his collaborators on this mammoth endeavour. "Kathleen and her whole creative team have been so insistent on all the filmmakers they've been hiring for these new movies: 'We want you to take it and turn it into something that you really care about.' And we'll see how the process plays out. Because that just seems like their attitude towards it. It's really exciting actually."

For more from Johnson (and Gilliam), check out the first part of the podcast below.

J.J. Abrams (Star Trek Into Darkness) is currently shooting Episode VII, which features John Boyega (Attack The Block), Daisy Ridley (Silent Witness), Adam Driver (Girls), Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis), Andy Serkis (Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes), Domhnall Gleeson (About Time) and Max von Sydow (Shutter Island), plus saga veterans Harrison Ford (who will be back at work once his broken leg heals), Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker, will be out on 18 December 2015. If Disney keeps to its planned schedule, Episode VIII is set for 2017.

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