Friday, April 29, 2011
EXISTENTIAL STAR WARS
Guerres des Étiolles Existentielles is "Star Wars with a french existential twist," and the sole collaborative work of George Lucas and Jean-Paul Sartre. Starting as a 13-page treatment called Star Wars, which was a loose remake of Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress, Lucas experienced writers' block when attempting to expand it to a full screenplay, and the epic space opera franchise would have blown up like the Death Star if not for a certain myopic French philosopher who happened to be vacationing nearby. "Sartre popped in," Lucas says, "and he looked like one of the creatures from the cantina scene on Tatooine--big bug eyes, tiny neck, puffing on a pipe. I don't speak French is the thing. Sartre asked me what I was working on and I handed him the treatment. He wrote a draft in ten minutes." Apocryphal or not, the existential version of the film was never released. "Too heavy," Lucas says. "People don't go to the movies for heavy. They want to be entertained. With the lights out it's less dangerous. They've got their popcorn and they want their special effects and wooden acting." Si ca se trouve.