Any director is likely to watch their own movie about 100 times before showing it to the general public, so it makes sense that George Lucas would have wanted to show Star Wars to some of his filmmaking buddies to get some fresh eyes on the ’70s sci-fi movie. But, legendary director Brian De Palma gave Lucas quite the grilling after seeing the cut, with some very honest feedback about the ways of The Force.
The screening in question, which also had the likes of Steven Spielberg in attendance, was a way for Lucas to iron out any creases in his beloved project, before the first Star Wars movie hit general audiences. It has long been rumoured that Spielberg was the only one to appreciate what Lucas was going for, but De Palma revealed in a recent interview on the Light the Fuse Podcast, that this is simply not true.
De Palma admits to having a fair few notes for Lucas after watching the movie but explained that they were all meant in good spirit, and that was the whole reason he was invited to the screening in the first place.
“Everybody who was involved in that meeting has a different version of what happened. They always portray me as the guy that says the worst thing that drives everybody crazy, but if you’re gonna show me something I’m gonna tell you what I think about it,” De Palma explained. “Why am I there unless I’m gonna give an honest appraisal of what I’ve seen?”
“We all saw it as a terrific thing that George had done. But I did make a joke about The Force, that’s true,” De Palma admits. “I just thought the idea of The Force, it doesn’t seem like a great name for this kind of spiritual guidance. Obviously, I was terribly wrong.”
We’re sure George Lucas didn’t take the comments and questioning to heart though. And, he even returned the favour years later, when De Palma was making Mission: Impossible.
“When George saw Mission: Impossible, he said, ‘There’s no setup to this thing. You’ve gotta set this thing up! You’ve gotta have that scene where they’re all sitting around the table and everybody gets their instructions about what’s gonna happen,” De Palma recalled.
Clearly, everything worked out for the best for both directors on these projects, and it’s nice to hear about filmmakers helping each other out.