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Roger_Christian259 karma

I don't know if I should own up to this.

But on one of the robots in the Sandcrawler interior, where they capture C-3PO, there's actually a gynecological instrument that doctors used for women.

But it looked right, you know?

It was only afterwards that I realized what it was. But by then, it was too late!

Roger_Christian212 karma

And the most iconic thing was the laser sword - now we call it the lightsaber.

Well, when I read the script, I knew that that would be the iconic image of this world.

And I was making everything out of junk - I was using real guns, and adapting them for the film, and I would stick with superglue - I got through BOXES of superglue, sticking things on the barrel, sticking on sights to give them a different look - and it was getting near to the time when everything had to be shipped to Tunisia for the start of the shoot at the end of March.

And I still had not found a lightsaber.

And I couldn't make them. We didn't have the money. And I knew it wouldn't look right. I was trying to find an object to make one out of.

And I made Luke's binoculars myself, in my office, out of an old sixteen mill camera. And I stuck on another piece for the viewing screen. And I needed 2 lenses for the front, so I went to a photography shop, in London, where we used to rent all of our equipment from, for movies.

And I found two lenses. And we bought those. And then I just said to the owner - "Do you have anything interesting in boxes, anything you don't use, that I could take a look at?"

And he said "Oh, under that shelf there, that stuff hasn't been looked at it in 10 years, have a look at it."

So the first box I pulled out - I took the lid off - and there was tissue paper inside - and as I pulled off the tissue paper - now, you have to go in slow-motion, and the music is rising...

And there were these flash-handles.

From an old press camera called a Graflex.

And I pulled one out, and just said "Oh my goodness, this is it."

And I bought the lot, raced back to the studios - and my set decorating room was FILLED with shelves of any bit of junk I found that was interesting, it was like a magpie's nest, and I had some rubber draft-excluder that was in T-shape, which I stuck on the Sterling sub-machine guns for the Stormtrooper weapons, and I stuck that to make it into a handle - I stuck seven of them around the end of it.

And I had an old calculator that I'd broken down, and I found a little strip of bubbles, like lenses, and those I stuck into the old grip of this flash-handle.

And I called George.

And I said "You'd better come to my office."

And he walked in, and I just handed him this lightsaber, and it was quite heavy - because it had batteries inside, and it had a red button, and he just held it and smiled.

He knew I got it.

And then he just asked me to add a little ring on the end - because for Tunisia, it didn't fire up, but we needed to hang it on Luke's belt, and that went out to Tunisia - I made two of them. And that's the one that Obi-Wan Kenobi brings from the trunk, the one that he gives to Luke and says "That was your father's". That's the one I made for eight pounds - about twelve dollars.

And now - there it is - in the STAR WARS 7 trailer - being handed back again.

They re-produced it. But it's Luke's lightsaber, from A NEW HOPE - if you look, there's a lightsaber being handed over, and there it is - all these years later!

It's very cool.

Sorry, that was three. There's a lot more. All these things - all these stories, everything - they're going to be in my book! Because everybody wants to know. So all of those stories are there.

Roger_Christian176 karma

That's interesting. Any contemporary science fiction where they've specially tried to make it look plastic-y and real - they never work! And any dressing, to me, that's not really aged down correctly so that it creates a proper environment that's real - that, to me, never works.

It's got a lot better now. It used to be worse. Now they can do just about most things.

Since Ridley Scott made LEGEND, snow looks really good! It was all artificial in that film. It kind of showed what you can do. But you just have to be very careful with colours and environments - I mean, bright red on set can be very hard because of video cameras, and really stripey wallpaper can play up on camera.

I like colour-coordinated things with patina, so that they take on a feel like life.

The thing I most hate in the world is when they spray things with silver paint to make it look like "science fiction." They used to do that - spray everything silver, and think Oh, it looks space-y!

It looks terrible!

I used to get frightened as a kid by Daleks, and they had a toilet-plunger as an antenna on the front. But they used to spray things silver on Doctor Who in the very early days.

But the things I never thought worked were films like FLASH GORDON, where you had lots of shiny plastic, and guns that were kind of plastic, that went beepbeep! No one was ever scared by that!

Roger_Christian147 karma

I think it would have been more interesting than David Lynch's, to me, because the talent that was arranged on it - and he was a CRAZY - I recently watched Jodorowsky's documentary on the making of DUNE, and it kind of looks fairly impossible, I have to admit.

But the one that got away, on this subject, to me - Ridley Scott was doing DUNE.

And I'd seen the paintings of the worms and things. And I know this would have been the version of DUNE that the world would have loved.

And de Laurentiis for some reason fired Ridley, and they parted ways over "creative differences," and replaced him with David Lynch.

But these paintings - if anyone can find them on the internet - they were just absolutely epic.

It was beautiful.

That's the one that got away, to me.

Roger_Christian133 karma

John Travolta was one of the biggest stars in the world at that time. And he came to me, because they had a budget of $21 million dollars, and it was budgeted at $80 million, so Quentin Tarantino had recommended I do it, and Travolta called George Lucas, and he said "With that amount of money, Roger's the only one that can pull this off for you!"

So Ron Hubbard, who wrote it, was the most prolific pulp writer of the era. He'd written 48 pulp fiction novels. And BATTLEFIELD EARTH has nothing to do with his church - he actually writes an apology at the beginning of the book, stating to the followers of his serious work that he just wanted to write a "rip-roaring science fiction adventure."

And I kind of went out, and we made a pulp science fiction film. And I was trying to be graphic novel-like. And I think I was a bit too early.

And I think it sums it up when I was asked this question in Hungary, on live television, and I said "My enemy is mediocrity. So I'd rather be at the high end of doing what I do, and if we're going to look at box office, then I'd rather be not in the middle, where it's just mediocre. I'd rather be exciting both ends of the spectrum." And they asked about the Raspberry, and I said "Alfred Hitchcock got one. Stanley Kubrick got one. Ridley Scott one."

America haaaaated 2001 when it first came out. Everybody walked out of the cinema! Same in Britain.

So you never know. And the only sad thing for me is that the film was never judged as a film. There's a huge number of anti-Scientologists in the world, and they just went for it. And even to the extent - I mean, the LA critic in the LA Times when it opened said I had buried subliminal messages in the film, and if you dared to go see it, you'd come out of the film a Scientologist!

So I wrote a very honest letter back, saying if I buried subliminal messages, it would be to eat more popcorn.

But the film - Quentin Tarantino came to the premier, and sat between John Travolta and I, and at the end of it, he stood up, hugged us both, and he said "This is the stuff i REALLY want to write, and I know I can't. And you're probably going to be crucified by the religion-haters, so wait 18-20 years, and then it'll be re-evaluated."

And I know that right before he died, Roger Ebert re-evaluated it, and said it was quite an interesting film I was trying to make.

And John Travolta actually had never been on Barbara Walter's show before. And when he went on, and she said "What's the film you're most proud of making, John?"

And he said "Battlefield Earth."

So I felt that was a kind of nice compliment, really.

Given a choice, I would have filmed the book as it was, and I really loved the book, and I couldn't, because John had developed it as a part for him, and so that was playing out.

But I said to them at the time - the book has got something REALLY special. It starts very slowly, and builds, and I thought that was an interesting journey to put on film. I think it would've been more of an art film, but that would've been okay by me.