Sunday, August 15, 2010

Gary Kurtz on Star Wars; Putting Your Characters up a Tree

Metafilter recently linked to this entertaining article in which Gary Kurtz, producer of The Empire Strikes Back, talks about toy sales ending up becoming so important that they distorted the Star Wars franchise.

I knew there was a reason those movies went bad, but it's sad to blame it on action figures. I love action figures. The article implies that action figures became the only thing keeping Han Solo alive.

But this article also contained a neat metaphor from Billy Wilder, by way of Kurtz, about writing a story:

“I took a master class with Billy Wilder once and he said that in the first act of a story you put your character up in a tree and the second act you set the tree on fire and then in the third you get him down,” Kurtz said. “ ‘Empire’ was the tree on fire. The first movie was like a comic book, a fantasy, but ‘Empire’ felt darker and more compelling. It’s the one, for me, where everything went right. And it was my goodbye to a big part of my life.”

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