With director Rian Johnson’s critically-acclaimed, publically divisive Star Wars: The Last Jedi now nearing its home release, the Looper auteur has switched track to promoting Anthony Monke’s documentary The Director and the Jedi about the making of the film, hosting a panel at the SXSW Film Festival yesterday.
The documentary offers unfettered, uncensored access to the making of the latest entry in the Skywalker saga, a decision Johnson made early in the creative process in lieu of the traditional ‘DVD-extra’ mini featurette made of B-roll clips and talking heads self-aggrandising the creative process: “We thought, let’s get a real doc filmmaker who is going to have a perspective.”
When asked about the noted tumultuous difficulties he had experienced with experienced cast members who had inhabited their roles for years, Johnson explained that it was “a conversation – and in this case it’s a very intense conversation. I couldn’t say ‘Screw you, this is my story’. You have to get into the conversation.”
“If you look at any classic hero’s myth that is actually worth its salt, at the beginning of the hero’s journey like with King Arthur, he pulls the sword from the stone and he’s ascendant – he has setbacks but he unites all the kingdoms,” Johnson explained, “But then if you keep reading, when it deals with the hero’s life as they get into middle age and beyond, it always starts to get into darker places. And there’s a reason for that: It’s because myths are not made to sell action figures; myths are made to reflect the most difficult transitions we go through in life.”
Towards the conclusion of the hour-long conversation with fans and journalists, Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill – fresh from receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame – popped up on stage, quipping: “This is just a cameo at the end. I’m good at that.”
Hamill was treated to rapturous applause, and was questioned again on his initial reservations and criticisms of the direction The Last Jedi took his iconic role, “I wish I hadn’t expressed my insecurities publicly. [Rian told me that we] can’t always give the audience what they expect and what they want, [but we]can give them something they don’t expect and that we want. He’s always right.”
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is released on DVD, Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray, and 4K UHD on the 9th of April in the UK. The Director and the Jedi will be a bonus feature on all formats.
Source: Hollywood Reporter