An oldish tidbit, certainly, but David Lynch talks about meeting with George Lucas and why he turned down Return of the Jedi, in which he had “next-door to zero interest,” in an interview clip from a chat at the Russian Tea Room in New York City in November of last year. I think he means Ewoks instead of Wookies, though.
Over at the Los Angeles Times, Geoff Boucher has an interview with director Joe Johnston regarding The Wolfman, which I skipped earlier this week for Please Give. My first thought was in regards to the accompanying picture: “Jesus, that guy looks old and more than a bit beaten down. Is this the same guy who so capably put audiences through the paces in Jurassic Park III?”
Getting into the meat of the piece, though, it’s clear this is a fairly rah-rah thing; there’s the obligatory, cursory mention of Mark Romanek’s departure three weeks before shooting, but not much detail. We’re told editor Dennis Virkler and composer Danny Elfman were also swapped out — for Walter Murch and Paul Haslinger respectively — and that Johnston “discovered” a startling and different cut of the movie in the editing room, especially after an upgrade in some 200 visual effects scenes were spliced in. Still, the lack of answers, or specific edifying information, hangs over the entire interview.
If Universal really pushed the budget upwards, toward $120 million (ironic, given that their reticence over going much past $100 million was cited as being at the root of creative differences with Romanek) what does this realistically say about their expectations for the film? Is it covering a short bet, essentially, a box office grab? Is Anthony Hopkins — lured back to the movie with promises of reinserted scenes now back on the cutting room floor — really so happy with the finished product? Is it really reasonable to harbor any ideas of sequels given the historical mismanagement of Universal’s monster movie library? And is the film going to be able to out-gross, per screen, Avatar in the latter’s ninth week of release?