'Star Wars' Ep. 5 Director Irvin Kershner: 'If I Believe It While I'm Doing It, the Audience Tends to Believe It'
While Hollywood is attempting to dive back into a franchise whose best movies were arguably over 30 years ago, the approach taken by The Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner can apply not just to future Star Wars films, but to anyone making anything that requires a suspension of disbelief. A French journalist named Michael Parbot had virtually limitless access to the production, and it’s only now that we have a more complete version of the documentary he produced in 1980. There are some fantastic and candid moments from some of the cast as well as the crew, and even if you are not a Star Wars fan, there are plenty of tidbits about storytelling and filmmaking that apply just as equally today.
This particular film remains my favorite of the series, but it would have been tough to put a finger on why until I understood more about filmmaking. Kershner has some terrific quotes from the documentary, especially the one that is the title of this post. If you’re going to be making something that takes place in a fantastical universe, the actors and the crew have to believe it is real, and if they are convincing enough, usually the audience will follow along.
Kershner is very candid about the movie not being a science fiction film, that it is really a fairytale, and is therefore treated as such. As he says, they removed as much of the scientific jargon as possible. Of course there are spaceships and battle scenes, but they aren’t the focus of the movie. The interactions and the relationships between the characters is very strong in Empire, and I think that’s one of the reasons it stands out so clearly. It’s easy to use spectacle as a way to distract an audience from an almost non-existent story, but if your plot and characters are well-crafted and believable, it’s much easier to make an audience forget they are watching fantasy.
What do you think?
[via Geek Tyrant]