While promoting the release of his upcoming new film Red Tails, George Lucas sat down to give an interview to The New York Times and just came right out and announced that he is retiring from making major motion picture films. Just recently, Lucas gave an interview to Jon Stewart and he revealed that Red Tails (a World War II film about the Tuskegee Airmen that features an entirely African American cast) will be the first film of a 3-part trilogy … but this newer interview with the NYT makes it clear that, save for a few exceptions, George Lucas has decided to retire altogether. Wow. Read on to see what George has to say about his impending retirement.
“I’m retiring,” Lucas said. “I’m moving away from the business, from the company, from all this kind of stuff.” He was careful to leave himself an out clause for a fifth “Indiana Jones” film. But otherwise, “Red Tails” will be the last blockbuster Lucas makes. “Once this is finished, he’s done everything he’s ever wanted to do,” says Rick McCallum, who has been producing Lucas’s films for more than 20 years. “He will have completed his task as a man and a filmmaker.” Lucas has decided to devote the rest of his life to what cineastes in the 1970s used to call personal films. They’ll be small in scope, esoteric in subject and screened mostly in art houses. They’ll be like the experimental movies Lucas made in the 1960s, around the time he was at U.S.C. film school, when he recorded clouds moving over the desert and made a movie based on an E. E. Cummings poem. During that period, Lucas assumed he would spend his career on the fringes. Then “Star Wars” happened — and though Lucas often mused about it, he never committed himself to the uncommercial world until now. Sitting in a sun-drenched office, his voice boyish, Lucas talked about himself as if he were a character in one of his movies. He’s at the end of an epic saga; he’s embracing a new destiny (“Make the art films, George”); he’s battling former acolytes who have become his sworn enemies; and George Lucas is — no kidding — in love. Before he takes his digital camera with him into obscurity, though, Lucas has one last mission. He wants to prove that with “Red Tails,” he can still make the kind of movie everyone in the world will want to see.
Now … let’s be clear … there are HUGE qualifiers in this retirement announcement. First, George Lucas leaves himself the ability to make another Indiana Jones film. Second, altho he says he will no longer make blockbuster films, he will surely continue to make smaller art house films that will very likely see the light of day … in some capacity. Third, the man can change his mind. Just a few days ago, he was talking about a Red Tails trilogy of films … now, he’s talking retirement. I’m not saying that he is spouting this retirement talk just to get attention (because I believe that George Lucas is above such nonsense) but I am saying that the man can change his mind at any time and come out of retirement if he chooses. Still, I must say … any talk of a George Lucas retirement is sad to me. The man has created some of the most important films of our generation. His influence on the world of pop culture is unmatched. While I doubt we will ever see the total end of George Lucas films, I believe him when he says he will no longer focus on making big blockbuster films (er, after the next Indiana Jones installment). Sadness.
What do ya’ll think of this George Lucas retirement talk? Do you take him at his word?