Never in a million years did I think I would have the chance to be in the same room as George Lucas! Not to mention interview him! Just last week, I joined 24 other amazing bloggers to Skywalker Ranch to screen STRANGE MAGIC and interview Executive Producer George Lucas, Elijah Kelley (voice of Sunny), and Producer Gary Rydstrom.
Today, I want to take you on a journey inside the mind of George Lucas!
First of all I want to thank George Lucas for taking the time to not only sit down and speak with us, but watch the movie with us as well! We were told the night before that we would have the chance to interview George Lucas… and at that moment every single blogger shared on Facebook and Twitter… social media sites exploded with our excitement! Then sitting in the screening room and turning around to see George Lucas sitting only a few rows behind me, I thought I might be dreaming! I took a selfie and sent it to my mom and sister (the quality was horrible, so I won’t share it here… just know that my heart stopped for just a second).
George and Gary did a little switcharoo on us and we got to hear from George right after Elijah. George just got off the phone with one of his daughter’s and began talking to us.
The idea of STRANGE MAGIC actually began about 15 years ago. It all started with an idea… George Lucas‘ love for musicals inspired him to to work on a film that was upbeat and fun. He stated that “I thought it would be fun to make a film that was more for tween girls than Star Wars, which is for tween boys, even though in the end everybody loved it and girls love it… it all worked out.”
George Lucas started this project after he completed STAR WARS. He “wanted to do [a film] that [he] could actually get [his] hands dirty.”
STRANGE MAGIC started with just a small group right here at Skywalker Ranch! It took years designing and doing animation tests. It kept growing and growing! You could see how much George LOVES this movie. He continued to tell us about his love for music and how it inspired him to want to work on this project. It surprised me to hear that music was such a big part of his life. He informed us that he loved listening to music every day and it was his inspiration for wanting to tell a love story using love songs. The original challenge was stringing love songs together cohesively to tell a story, but once they got started the new challenge was deciding which ones to cut and which ones to use. It pained George to have to cut some of the music. (In the back of the theater you could hear Elijah Kelley shouting out “sequel.”)
STRANGE MAGIC is a movie about the “difference between being infatuated and being truly in love.” George talked to us about how being “infatuated ultimately is about surface value” and real “love is about interior issues.” He wanted to make a movie that shows how very easy it is to be infatuated with someone, but in the end everyone deserves to be loved… truly loved.
George used parts of his life to inspire the tale in STRANGE MAGIC. He played with the idea of young girls who are prone to infatuation (with a 3 daughters you can tell he had plenty of experience). I have to agree. In high school I was infatuated with the “hot guy” in school. It wasn’t love, but it was something meaningful to me (so I thought).
George spoke about his life as a bachelor and how he thought he would never fall in love again. He said, “I was the old cranky Bog King.” [The bloggers laughed.] He thought that he wouldn’t find anyone, but in the end he found someone who didn’t look like him. He said, “I’m a 60’s radical, government unhappy, Wall Street-hating, person from San Francisco, and I ended up meeting a woman who’s a head of a big investment management firm on Wall Street.” They fell in love because they were the same on the inside!
George believes that adolescence is a key period in a child’s life. He wanted his movie to focus on issues that would help kids build friendships, understand that feelings are complicated, and that this is something everybody goes through. True, as a parent many of us have had to deal with these issues…what better way to help kids understand than watching a wonderfully told story to MUSIC!
Love is “a story that needs to be told every generation.” Kids grow up fast and by the time they are 12 they can become confused and don’t understand the difference between infatuation and love. George told us that even though this is a topic that’s “been told over and over and over again, it needs to continue to be told over and over again.”
Another issue George wants viewers to get out of this movie is that you can be brave! He uses the character Marianne and transforms her from a princess who is afraid of the dark, to someone who is strong and brave. She learns to face her fears.
Back to the music… I didn’t catch Steve’s last name, but George referenced him during the interview as the man who help find the right love songs. George would ask Steve to find a particular song with certain words and he would find three or four songs that they could go through. They would discuss which ones told the story and had the right musical mood. He wanted the songs to actually say the words that the characters were supposed to say. This was where music producer Marius de Vries came into play. Marius helped stitch the music together — taking different genres and making them sound like they all belonged together. Gary Rydstrom was the voice of reason and reminded everyone that even though George loved all of the music, they needed to cut it down to a reasonable length.
George is extremely happy with the way the movie turned out.
- “I Can’t Help Falling In Love” was the first song George Lucas picked for this movie!
- They started off with 100+ songs, and got it down to 25 or so songs to tell a cohesive love story.
- George has 3 girls (ages 33, 26, and 18 month old) and a 21 year-old son.
- George was previously married, then a bachelor for 20 years before finding his true love!
“Like” Strange Magic on Facebook
Follow @StrangeMagic on Twitter #StrangeMagic #StrangeMagicEvent
Follow Strange Magic Movie on Instagram
STRANGE MAGIC will be in theaters this Friday (1/23)!
See you at the movies!
Disclosure: Disney sent me on an all expense paid press event. All opinions are my own.