Monday, May 14, 2007

A Long Time Ago, In a Galaxy Far, Far Away…

George Lucas was born on this day in 1944. Creator of the Star Wars franchise, he is also responsible, in partner with Steven Spielberg, for the Indiana Jones movies (Indy 4 is on its way!). He also created Industrial Light & Magic (otherwise know as ILM – one of the first special-effects houses) and Skywalker Sound under the Lucasfilm banner, LucasArts (his video-game wing), and the THX sound-system (named after one of Lucas’ student films).

A pioneer independent producer/director, he co-founded the studio American Zoetrope with Francis Ford Coppola to help filmmakers create outside the confines of the studio system. He also was the first filmmaker to hold rights to the licensing of his film (while waiving his director’s fee), making millions on sales of Star Wars merchandise. His second professional film, American Graffiti, won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture (Musical/Comedy).

He recently was in the news for calling Spider-Man 3 “silly.” Um… Okay, George, it’s a good thing I only choose to remember key visuals from your work on the Star Wars prequels over the last ten years...

Read more about him at Wikipedia or at

While I’m at it, happy birthday also to producer-director-writer Robert Zemeckis, who turns 55 today. He made a small movie called Back to the Future in 1985, which, incidentally, is the first movie I ever saw more than once in a movie theater and the first I ever watched in the front row. In addition to the three Back to the Future movies (all of which he wrote and directed), he’s also directed Romancing the Stone, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Forrest Gump, Contact, Cast Away, and The Polar Express (which he also wrote).

He is the executive producer and director of his latest movie, Beowulf. It is being created using motion-capture technology similar to what was used to create The Polar Express (though hopefully, it will turn out cooler than that), and stars Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins, Robin Wright Penn, Crispin Glover, and John Malkovich. It’s due to be released November 16, 2007.

By the way, does anybody think that he and Drew Carey were separated at birth?

And since I’m on my caffeine high and have this sci-fi movie thing going on, happy 46th birthday to Tim Roth, who will be starring opposite Edward Norton and Liv Tyler in the new Hulk movie that Marvel Comics is producing. He’ll play Emil Blonsky, a KGB agent who tries to re-create the accident that led to the Hulk, resulting in the birth of a stronger, meaner, and nastier creature called the Abomination.

In case you’re wondering what else you’ve seen him in, he’s probably best recognized in Pulp Fiction, as one of the bumbling robbers in the scene that frames the movie. He’ll star next in My Blueberry Nights, the first English-language film by the acclaimed Asian filmmaker Wang Kar Wai and also starring Norah Jones, Jude Law, David Strathairn, Natalie Portman, and Rachel Weisz. It’s due to be released sometime in 2007.

I'll tell you, though... He should've signed on to be Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series instead of doing Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes remake. He would've made a great Snape, especially in the last three films of the series.

Oh, and it was nine –NINE– years ago today that Seinfeld ended its run on NBC.

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