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George Lucas Wants to Play Guitar as 'Star Wars' Takes a Vacation

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Well, it may be the same, yet bigger. But hasn't the overhead gotten bigger, too?
[Smiling] Ginourmously.

So, will Skywalker Ranch be expected to generate its own capital?
In theory, that's what the merchandising does. It's not that much money, to be quite honest with you. The ranch is being financed, more or less, with cash. There's not some giant loan we're paying off to do it. The cost is the cost of operation, which probably will be several million dollars a year. At the same time, it's not something that I think the merchandising can't handle, even for the next ten years.

So you're closing a chapter of your life. Is this one of the reasons why you agreed to cooperate on the biography that's been written? [Skywalking: the Life and Films of George Lucas, by Dale Pollock; Harmony Books.]
Yeah, well, I didn't really want the biography to be written. I think it's stupid to write a biography about somebody who's only thirty-nine. But media have certain control over your life whether you want it or not. I've always resisted it, I've always disliked it. But ultimately, it's a pervasive force that you can't ignore. And you either learn to deal with it or not. They were going to write the book whether or not I cooperated. The implied threat is always that the book is going to really trash you if you don't cooperate, and they will use a lot of uninformed sources and have a lot of erroneous information. And you look at that and say, ''Well, it would be nice if you can get something that is semiaccurate, so people would not constantly be printing the wrong thing all the time.'' And there's all these myths that have evolved about me that have never been . . .

What myths? I don't know any myths. Or am I one of the mythmakers?
[Laughs] You're one of the mythmakers, so you're one of those who is creating myths.

I didn't create George Lucas in quotation marks.
There's much less in between the quotation marks. But I decided to do the book interviews to see if I could have some kind of impact on at least getting things as accurate as one possibly could. And I looked at it as, ''This is the end of an era for me, and this book will be a capsule of what my life has been up to this point'' – at least as perceived by 100 of my most intimate friends and relatives [laughs]. And so, I did it. And you know, there's never an interview, be it in a book or a magazine or anything, that turns out well. Somebody always gets upset, no matter what you say or what you do; somebody always gets his feelings hurt.

You're also essentially a private person. Some people enjoy doing interviews.
All it does is bring more kooks and scripts to my door, and waiters in restaurants ask me for jobs. These are the last interviews I'm going to be doing for a long time, and now that I'm not doing movies, hopefully I won't have to do any more interviews. The book is out there. It tries to be accurate with the facts, but it obviously has a pervasive point of view, which may or may not be sympathetic. But certain facts are there, and you can look them up in the book.

What do you see yourself doing when your two-year break is over?
I'm still very interested in film, but who knows? Two years is an arbitrary figure. It may take longer. I'm going to sit down at a point when I feel very good about myself and do a lot of hard thinking. I may move on to something else or find out after a while that the only thing I really love to do is make movies. And I've always been interested in doing my strange little experimental films.

That's what you said after Star Wars. I'm not going to hold my breath.
I haven't had a chance yet [smiles]. I could have a real motion-picture company like Steve's got, where you're doing three or four pictures a year. Then there's the computer end of it, which is videogames and interactive videodisc technology; different kinds of story-telling using educational processes and systems. Other areas are more research than anything else, primarily in social psychology. I may move in that direction completely, or I may just end up being an ex-workaholic sailing a boat around the world.

Could you tell me a bit more about your interest in social psychology?
It's an area that's always fascinated me, and there's a lot more that I need to learn about it. I'm too old to go back and get my master's degree or even worry about having one, but there's a lot of people I'd like to talk to and learn things from, maybe even put a study group together to do research in certain areas. It's fascinating. Large issues loom in our modern society: we're on the brink of a technological breakthrough, and we're living and surviving in the nuclear age. Certain issues should be addressed, I think.

Are we talking about the private Lucas or the public Lucas?
Sort of the in-between Lucas.

Because you're in a position now where you can create a forum if you want to.
Well, I don't want to create a forum. Again, I get letters inviting me to every single conference on everything you can possibly imagine. Part of it is a personal thing, just myself wanting to learn more. Just being curious, a curious social scientist. And part of it is being able to bring in a few other people who might be able to help and, between us, maybe come up with . . . not some answers, but maybe some more coherent revelations that other people with less resources might not have been able to put together. I mean, it's not activism or anything. It's more like trying to find some answers.

In the past, you've stressed the importance of regional and independent filmmakers to the health of the business. A friend of mine recently attended an American Film Institute reception and came back with the dismaying news that all these bright young people with AFI grants could only talk about one thing: how to get a Hollywood deal.
[Smiles] A lot of people complain about film students doing that. I think that the strength of the independent industry is going to rise as the corporate entities begin to get more and more ensconced in the studio system, because the independents are closer to what's happening. Once you get into independent, regional filmmaking, you drop away from deals and it's more of a survival thing. There's always going to be a group that's interested in the money and the power, and then there's going to be a group that cares about making the movies, cares about the stories and the characters, about getting an idea off their chests. Those are going to be the people who are going to end up making the movies and making the money, and the other people are going to end up becoming agents or studio heads.

Well, you've pulled off a neat trick. You've made the stories, you've made the money, and you've also got the power.
Yeah, and now I'm quitting. I don't like any of it. [Laughs.]

This story is from the July 21st, 1983 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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