When David Lynch Rejected George Lucas
In his own words, here's how the famed surrealist "almost" directed 'Return of the Jedi'.
As more and more of these institutions begin to pop up around the country, it's important for all film-goers to remember that the most underrated part of the dine-in movie experience is the slew of heavily curated programming which takes place prior to the previews. I don't know who's responsible for unearthing and compiling these gems, but somebody must give them a raise immediately.
That being said, one evening last December as I was taking my seat for a screening of Shoplifters at the brand new Nitehawk Prospect Park, an animation caught my eye. The familiar profile of David Lynch had appeared on screen and in turn all the Brooklynites who had gathered for Hirokazu Kore-eda's Palm d'Or-winning film suddenly ceased their murmuring. The theater space took on a respectful silence. The cartoon below, produced by Sascha Ciezat, played out in all its glory.
The animated recounting of David Lynch's meeting with George Lucas paints a picture that none of us should really be surprised by. You may have heard that Lynch had been offered the director's seat for Return of the Jedi before, and his response is just as hilarious as you'd expect. The original footage of Lynch, who was invited up to Skywalker Ranch to be wooed by Lucas, paints an even fuller picture of Lynch's Wookian nightmare.
It can't be denied that Lucas has good taste. Lynch had somewhat incredibly only directed Eraserhead and The Elephant Man and was being given the keys to wrap up the most successful franchise on the planet. In talking about Sci-Fi,Lynch admits, "I like elements of it, but it needs to be combined with other genres. And, obviously, Star Wars was totally George’s thing.” Perhaps the idea of making a science fiction lingered in Lynch's head a little harder than he gave credit to. A few years later he would make the first feature-length adaptation of Frank Herbert's Dune, a novel widely regarded as the best work of science fiction of all time.
It didn't go too well, and perhaps would've been better suited for Jodorowsky (almost painfully so), but we'll soon be treated to another adaptation of the classic from Denis Villeneuve. The film is shaping up to be pretty stellar with Rebecca Ferguson, Timothée Chalamet, Oscar Issac, Javier Bardem, and Stellan Skarsgard all cast perfectly in their roles.