George Lucas

  • Aired:  01/09/12
  •  | Views: 106,811

George Lucas discusses the difficulty of getting the Hollywood studio system to distribute an entirely African-American action movie. (8:13)

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

OH, MY GUEST TONIGHT, THE

DIRECTOR OF SOME OF THE

BIGGEST FILMS IN HISTORY.

HE SERVES AS EXECUTIVE

PRODUCER FOR RED TAIL.

>> I'M BEHIND YOU.

>> MAKE WAY.

>> CONGRATULATIONS, CAPTAIN,

YOU ARE THE FIRST NEGRO TO DO

THAT.

>> Jon: TRUST THE FORCE.

PLEASE WELCOME BACK TO THE

PROGRAM, GEORGE LUCAS.

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

>> Jon: HOW ARE YOU?

>> I'M GOOD.

>> Jon: THE LOOK OF THIS.

THE FILM IS REALLY EXCITING.

HOW DO YOU CAPTURE, IT'S GOT

THE LOOK AND A FEEL OF THE

FILM FROM THE '40s.

>> IT WAS DESIGNED TO BE A

FILM DURING THE WAR.

IT'S VERY PATRIOTIC.

VERY OLD FASHIONED, CORNEY.

IT'S JUST EXACTLY LIKE FLYING

LEATHER NECKS ONLY THIS ONE

WAS HELD UP FOR RELEASE FROM

1942 WHEN IT WAS SHOT AND I'VE

BEEN TRYING TO GET IT RELEASED

EVER SINCE.

>> Jon: YOU HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE

TO GET IT MADE.

MAYBE WHEN YOU GET SOME SWAY

IN HOLLYWOOD YOU'LL BE ABLE TO

GET A CHANCE TO DO THAT.

>> THAT'S WHAT PEOPLE SAY.

>> Jon: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN

WORKING ON THIS.

>> 23 YEARS.

FINANCED IT MYSELF.

I FIGURED IF I COULD GET THE

ADS PAID FOR BY THE STUDIOS

AND THEY WOULD RELEASE IT.

I SHOWED IT TO ALL OF THEM AND

THEY SAID NO.

WE DON'T KNOW HOW TO MARKET A

MOVIE LIKE THIS.

>> Jon: WHY?

>> IT'S NOT GREEN ENOUGH.

THEY ONLY RELEASE GREEN

MOVIES.

>> Jon: THE MESSAGE BECAUSE

THE MESSAGE IS PATRIOTIC AND

JINGOISTIC AND DOESN'T HAVE

ANY RECYCLING IN IT, THAT'S

THE PROBLEM?

>> IT'S BECAUSE IT'S AN ALL

BLACK MOVIE.

THERE'S NO MAJOR WHITE ROLES

IN IT AT ALL.

IT'S ONE OF THE FIRST ALL

BLACK ACTION PICTURES EVER

MADE.

>> Jon: IS THAT TRUE?

>> YEAH.

( APPLAUSE )

>> Jon: BUT THE SCENE IN IT

WHEN HITLER TELLS CUBA GOODING

JR. THAT HE'S HIS FATHER....

>> NO, NO, NO.

>> Jon: WERE YOU TEMPTED AT

ALL TO PUT THAT IN?

HITLER WALKS UP AND LIKE I AM

YOUR FATHER?

>> NO, NO, NO.

CUBA GOODING JR. GOES OUT AND

HE GOES BACK HOME AND IT'S,

YOU KNOW, JAMES EARL JONES

PLAYING HIS FATHER.

DON'T TALK TO ME LIKE THAT.

>> Jon: I AM YOUR FATHER.

IN THIS DAY AND AGE, THAT'S A

DIFFICULT... IS IT BECAUSE OF

THE PEDIGREE OF IT?

THEY DIDN'T WANT TO TAKE A

CHANCE ON IT?

>> YEAH.

REASONABLY EXPENSIVE MOVIE.

NORMALLY BLACK MOVIES, YOU

KNOW, THEY'RE VERY LOW BUDGET.

THEY WON'T EVEN... EVEN THESE

MOVIES IT GOES TO ONE OF THE

LOWER NOT MAJOR DISTRIBUTORS.

THEY DO WELL BUT THEY DO A

CERTAIN AMOUNT OF MONEY.

THEY KNOW WHAT THAT IS.

THIS COSTS MORE THAN WHAT

THOSE MOVIES MAKE.

SO THEY FIGURE, WELL.

AND THEY DON'T BELIEVE THERE'S

ANY FOREIGN MARKET FOR IT.

THAT'S 60% OF THEIR PROFIT.

>> Jon: IT IS DIFFICULT TO

HEAR YOU DISCUSS THIS MOVIE IN

THE PURE ECONOMIC AND

POLITICAL REALITIES OF IT

GETTING MADE.

WHY DIDN'T YOU GET A

DISTRIBUTOR?

THEY JUDGE THE FOREIGN BOX

OFFICE ON IT RATHER THAN LIKE

THEY THOUGHT IT SUCKED.

YOU WISH THEY WOULD EXPRESS A

CULTURAL OR A CRITIQUE IN

TERMS OF HOW THEY WOULD DECIDE

UPON THIS AND NOT BASED ON

PURE BUSINESS MODEL.

>> IT WAS PRESENTED AS, WHICH

IS THE REASON I DID IT

COMPLETELY, I WANTED TO MAKE

AN INSPIRATIONAL FOR TEEN-AGED

BOYS.

I WANTED TO SHOW THAT THEY

HAVE HEROES.

THEY'RE REAL AMERICAN HEROES.

THEY'RE PATRIOTS AND HELPED US

MAKE COUNTRY WHAT IT IS TODAY.

IT'S NOT GOREY WHERE YOU HAVE

A LOT OF WHITE OFFICERS

RUNNING THESE GUYS INTO CANNON

FODDER.

THEY WERE REAL HEROES.

BOMBER PILOT.

>> Jon: YOU ASKED SOME OF THE

AIRMEN TO WORK WITH YOU ON

THIS.

UNFORTUNATELY OVER TIME

OBVIOUSLY AS THEY GET MUCH

OLDER....

>> WE STARTED OUT WITH 40.

WE'RE DOWN TO ABOUT 7.

YOU KNOW, THAT'S THE PRESSURE

ON ME TO GET THIS DONE BEFORE

WE'RE ALL GONE.

I WAS WORKING VERY HARD,

GETTING SCRIPTS.

THE PROBLEM WAS IS IT'S

EXACTLY LIKE STAR WARS WHICH

IS....

>> Jon: WHAT?

>> IT'S EXACTLY LIKE STAR

WARS.

I WROTE THE FIRST SCRIPT.

I TRIED TO GET IT TO WORK.

IT WAS WAY TOO BIG.

THE STORY IS TOO FANTASTIC AND

WONDERFUL TO CRAM INTO TWO

HOURS.

>> Jon: ARE YOU TELLING ME

THERE'S GOING TO BE SIX OF

THESE BAD BOYS?

>> I AM HOPING IF THIS WORKS,

IF WE GET A GOOD FIRST WEEKEND

THERE IS A PREQUEL AND A

SEQUEL.

>> Jon: IS THAT TRUE?

>> AND THEY'RE BETTER THAN

THIS MOVIE BY A LONG SHOT.

( APPLAUSE )

>> Jon: (LAUGHING).

OH, THAT IS FUNNY.

>> I TOOK THE SOFT CENTER.

I SAID I'LL GIVE YOU THE

REALLY GOOD ONES IF WE CAN GET

THIS ONE TO GET MADE.

>> Jon: DO YOU ALWAYS THINK IN

TERMS OF OPUSS?

>> NO.

THAT'S WHY I TOOK SO LONG.

I'M GOING TO SQUEEZE THIS DOWN

AND MAKE THIS WORK.

EVERY TIME WE DO A SCRIPT,

WELL, WE HAVE TO DO A LITTLE

BIT ABOUT THE TRAINING AND

TUSKEGEE AND ALL THE PROBLEMS

AND THE RACISM.

THEN WHEN THEY CAME BACK AFTER

THE WAR THEY BASICALLY, YOU

KNOW, BOYCOTTED AN OFFICERS'

CLUB AND STARTED THE CIVIL

RIGHTS MOVEMENT.

>> Jon: THAT IS ONE OF THE

MOST DIFFICULT THINGS TO

SWALLOW ABOUT WORLD WAR II IS

THE SOLDIERS AND THE

AMERICANS' MILITARY HISTORY IN

GENERAL, THE BLACK SOLDIERS

FIGHTING HEROICALLY OVERSEAS

AND THEN COMING HOME TO SECOND

CLASS TREATMENT, TO NOT BEING

ABLE TO EAT IN CERTAIN PLACES.

THAT IS SEEMINGLY ONE OF THE

MORE OFFENSIVE MOMENTS.

>> WELL, THIS IS NOT A MOVIE

ABOUT VICTIMS.

THIS IS A MOVIE ABOUT HEROES.

SO WE HAVE IT BURIED DEEP IN

OUR HEAD TO SAY, LOOK, THESE

GUYS ARE HEROES.

>> Jon: HOW DID THEY FEEL

WATCHING IT?

WHAT WAS THE RESPONSE OF THE

GUYS?

I IMAGINE THAT IS THE AUDIENCE

THAT IS MOST DIFFICULT FOR YOU

TO PLEASE AND THE ONE THAT

MEANS THE MOST TO YOU.

>> I WAS WORRIED.

I WAS REALLY WORRIED BECAUSE

THEY WERE THERE.

THEY DID IT.

DON'T FORGET TO INCLUDE THIS

AND THAT.

I SAID, I'M TAKING A VERY

NARROW SWATH.

I'M JUST TALKING ABOUT A BUNCH

OF GUYS, KIDS, 19, 20 YEARS

OLD, FLYING THE FASTEST PROP

PLANE EVER BUILT AND GOING UP

AGAINST THE NEW-FANGLED JETS.

IT'S A COMBAT MOVIE.

YOU KNOW, IT'S VERY HONESTLY

DONE.

THIS IS AS CLOSE AS YOU'LL

EVER GET TO EPISODE 7.

( APPLAUSE )

>> Jon: WHAT WAS THEIR

RESPONSE?

YOU CAN'T LEAVE ME HANGING

LIKE THIS.

DID THEY COME UP TO YOU WITH

TEARS IN YOUR EYES AND SAY,

YOU CAPTURED MY LIFE.

I LOVE YOU.

OR DID THEY....

>> THEY WERE TEARS IN THE

EYES.

THEY'RE OVERWHELMED BECAUSE

THEY'VE BEEN WAITING SO LONG

TO BE RECOGNIZED.

MOST PEOPLE DON'T KNOW WHO

THEY ARE.

THEY ARE REALLY TRUE HEROES.

I WORKED WITH ALL THESE GUYS.

THEY'RE GREAT GREAT GUYS.

JUST TO BE RECOGNIZED.

THE TUSKEGEE AIRMEN, I KNOW

WHO THEY ARE.

WE HAVE HAD BOMBER PILOTS SEE

THE FILM AND STUFF AND THEY

WOULD TEAR UP.

THOSE GUYS SAVED MY LIFE.

THEY FOLLOWED US ALL THE WAY

BACK TO THE BASE.

THEY'RE THE TRUE HEROES OF

WORLD WAR II.

>> Jon: I LOOK FORWARD TO THE

CONVENTIONS 20 YEARS DOWN THE

LINE WHERE THEY ALL COME.

>> (LAUGHING).

>> Jon: IN THE THEATERS ON

JANUARY 20.

GEORGE LUCAS, EVERYBODY.

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

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