Recently at Chicago Ideas Week, an event that brings together the world’s brightest thought leaders to inspire and activate the city of Chicago, legendary film director George Lucas spoke to CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose about what is currently wrong with the movie industry.
“The problem has always been the studios,” he said. “Although at the beginning of the studios, the entrepreneurs who ran the studios were sort of creative guys. They would just take books and turn them into movies and do things like that. Suddenly all these corporations were coming in. They didn’t know anything about the movie business.”
The 70-year-old talked about how the industry would hire “kids” from film schools, getting them jobs, which was a “fantastic thing.” Forty years ago, Lucas was one of the fortunate who got to work with a studio executive at Fox who let him take the reins with Star Wars.
“He believed in me because he loved American Graffiti. ‘You’re a talented guy. I’ll do whatever you want to do.’ But you’d never hear that today,” Lucas said. “He said, ‘You know, I don’t understand what this thing is about big dogs flying spaceships around. It doesn’t make any sense to me. Are you sure this is going to work?’ And I said, ‘Well, I know it’s different but, you know, I believe in it.'”
But Lucas complains that the studios soon went back to saying, “We don’t trust you people and we think we know how to make movies.”
He adds, “The studios change everything all the time. And, unfortunately, they don’t have any imagination and they don’t have any talent.”
Although certain directors have gotten away with with doing “crazy things” nowadays, they are “few and far between,” Lucas states. “You kind of wonder how they got to do it.”
Lucas was recently in Chicago to fill in details on his planned art and movie memorabilia museum, an idea which his wife decided on.
Mellody Hobson, a Chicago native and businesswoman and Lucas’ wife since 2013, told her husband that she would talk to the mayor about the idea. “I’m sure he’ll love it,” she said.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel did love it and embraced the idea.
The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will be built on Museum Campus on the lakefront and will include popular art, including illustrations by Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish and N.C. Wyeth as well as works by Lucas’s visual effects company, Industrial Light and Magic, and other companies. The facility will also include a theater that will screen films and host lectures and workshops.
“It’s going to be organic architecture, connected to the ground,” Lucas said. “And it will look like a living thing.”
Although the city of Chicago will provide the land, Lucas will bankroll construction and the endowment to maintain it.
“You can afford a museum?” Charlie Rose asked.
“Yeah, I can,” Lucas answered.