Thursday, November 10, 2005

George Lucas . . . prepare to be toormahnated.

I am not a cyborg from the future. Honest. And I wish nothing but light and goodness for George. I swear. But all the pics from the Austin pitch competition suggest that behind those glowing red eyes, lurking beneath that grainy facade, is the endoskeleton of a T-101 (or is it T-800?). Of course, the script Thomas and I pitched, American Jedi, is about an obsessed fan who sets out to kill George for ruining Star Wars. You know, a light assassination comedy.

In fact, as Thomas I were wrapping up the fourth draft last spring, we received a curious phone call. Seems Lucasfilm had hired a local private investigator to make sure we were on the up and up. The short we had made to promote the script had worked its way around Los Angeles. The letter we sent George about the short had not yet been returned to us unopened -- that would happen a few days later. So within the hour our intrepid gumshoe arrived at Thomas's house and we had a nice chat in the living room.

We played the video for her on Thomas's widescreen TV, and she laughed. She pointed out her favorite part. We agreed. She admitted that she wasn't really into the whole Star Wars thing, but that her son really dug the video. We pointed out that the web site's URL was displayed in the video's background and that anyone in the target audience would be in on the joke.

Of course, she expressed Lucasfilm's desire for us to take down the web site, cease distributing the video file, and presumably move on to more George-friendly subject matter. Of course, none of this was in writing. Now, admittedly, we were slightly intimidated, not knowing how far this would go, so we did take the video down -- for awhile. But the site itself stayed up, and in a matter of days we had thousands of hits from within the Lucasfilm empire: LucasArts, Skywalker Sound, ILM. Someone was watching and not just a bunch of lawyers.

Time passed and we never once noticed armed thugs trailing us. Our P.I. did call us once more -- this time to request that we take down my pen-and-ink wash of George (which incidentally was part of a dream journal I did for an art class nine years prior) and that we change the name of the web site and presumably the script. But again, nothing in writing.

Several months later, at the Minnesota Men's Conference, I had the good fortune of meeting the amazing Doug von Koss. He worked in the art department on several of George's movies. I told him about our project and how we were interested in holding a mirror up to fan culture. I relayed how our protagonist was a firm believer in the widespread AICN Talkback-type sentiment "George Lucas raped my childhood. " Doug was appalled: "That's the most awful thing I've ever heard." I asked him about George. And he said that George is one of the most genuine people he's ever met. An inspiration.

And that's what I had hoped to hear. That's why we wrote American Jedi. So, yeah, I'm not a cyborg from the future. And I'm pretty sure Thomas isn't one, either.

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Blogger MaryAn Batchellor said...

Dyin' to read this! And, hey. George knows your name.

10:02 AM  

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