George Lucas On Hollywood Studios: They’ve ‘Always Been The Problem’

From day one, George Lucas has always had a bit of an issue with Hollywood. He did his best to make the first three Star Wars films with as little studio money as possible so as not to lose any creative control. Nearly four decades later, Lucas’ opinion of Hollywood studios hasn’t changed. In an interview with CBS, Lucas discussed Hollywood studios, and what he sees as the big problem with the industry.

“You’re selling creativity. Raw creativity from talented people. Now, the problem has always been the studios. Although 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.”

George Lucas continues his anecdote, detailing the era in which he entered the industry–which was a short-lived period where Hollywood studios realized how little they knew about the business of films. In order to sell creativity as best as they could, they turned to Lucas’ generation of young film school graduates, who they assumed knew how to make films that would sell. Lucas reminisced about a particular Fox executive, and how the conversations between the two are conversations that wouldn’t happen in today’s Hollywood studio climate.

“He said, ‘You’re a talented guy. I’ll do whatever you want to do.’ But you’d never hear that today. 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 you can’t do that today. You just can’t. Certain directors have gotten away with doing kinda crazy things, but they’re very few and far between. And you kinda wonder how they got to do it.”

Original 'Star Wars' concept art from Ralph McQuarrie

George Lucas lamented the fact that over time, Hollywood studio executives gained complete creative control.

“The studios went back to saying, Well we don’t trust you people and we think we know how to make movies. The studios change everything all the time. And, unfortunately, they don’t have any imagination and they don’t have any talent.”

One can’t help but point out the irony as George Lucas went on to sell his own corporations to Disney, one of the largest Hollywood entities in existence. And who also, as The Independent notes, “bled Star Wars dry for thirty years.” Many would also argue that, had Lucas been subjected to more studio intervention, the Star Wars prequel trilogies would have ended up better.

All that aside, with the onset of 40 comic book movies in the next six years (via Screen Rant), one can’t argue with the fact that the system is growing increasingly studio and franchise-based. Like him or not, George Lucas makes a very real and important point on the state of Hollywood.

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