'Star Wars' Spinoff Director Josh Trank Talks 'Leia's' Short

Long before Trank was hired for a 'Star Wars' project, he made another film set in a galaxy far, far away … for $80

Sunset Boulevard/Corbis
Sunset Boulevard/Corbis
Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in 'Star Wars.'
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Star Wars film production has gone to hyperdrive. Not only has J. J. Abrams begun making Episode VII in England, but Lucasfilm and Disney have announced that they want to release one Star Wars movie a year, including both the new Abrams trilogy and a series of stand-alone spinoff movies. They've even hired two directors for the latter: Gareth Edwards — the gentleman behind this year's Godzilla reboot — and Josh Trank.

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Most people know Trank as the director of 2012's teen-superhero thriller Chronicle (2012) and the upcoming reboot of Fantastic Four — less remembered, however, is the fact that Trank made his name with a Star Wars movie, albeit a short, unauthorized one. Stabbing at Leia's is an 85-second movie from 2007 that showed what might happen at a drunken college party if two guys got belligerent with light sabers. (One of the results: stormtroopers will show up at your house). 

Back in 2012, Trank told Rolling Stone about how the Star Wars short happened at a point in his life when he was watching three movies a day but not making any of his own: "I had big ambitions to borrow money from people to make shorts, but nobody paid money for shorts. One day I said, 'I don't care — I'm just going to borrow a camera and do some weird idea.' I called up a couple of friends and got five people together one weekend. We spent literally $80 on it, borrowing some fake light sabers and some cheap stormtrooper costumes. I did all the rotoscoping myself, drawing every frame of the light saber effects by hand." 

As Trank remembered it, "At that point, YouTube was mainly videos of people doing drunk, stupid shit. I would watch a lot of videos of drunk college kids beating the shit out of each other — I never really had that college experience, so I was obsessed with it." When Trank put the video up on YouTube, it quickly got millions of views; thanks in part to that short, Trank got an agent, signed a deal with Spike TV, and began a career that, seven years later, would give him the opportunity to make a Star Wars movie — one with a budget much bigger than $80.

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