Today we have a prequel update with Rick McCallum.
RICK, ARE YOU IN AUSTRALIA FULL-TIME?
Yes, I just got here. I am here full-time now as we prepare for shooting Episode II. I'll make quick side-trips back to the States every month or so for a couple of days, but basically I am making Australia home now.
We just started our production office and we have our Production Supervisor, Stephen Jones, who just started. I'm very excited about that, because he's a great guy. We have the most amazing group of Australian filmmakers working on Episode II who are also wonderful to work with. They are art directors, designers, etc. They are so talented and dedicated.
[Production Designer] Gavin Bocquet and his design team are working non-stop on designs and drawings for the film. Gavin is working out of England right now, but he will be here in about three weeks. We have Peter Russell, our Supervising Art Director from England, who is here now. We're starting building in the next couple of weeks, and we have new drawings we're looking at constantly. So everything is coming along beautifully!
WHEN DOES SHOOTING BEGIN?
Around the last week of June! We'll be here at Fox Studios Australia, and in some warehouses located around Sydney, for about half the time - and then we go on to location to Italy, Tunisia - and maybe elsewhere.
WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH CASTING?
Robin Gurland has been on the film since the beginning of November. She has been travelling all over the United States meeting actors - and she is coming to Australia to do an intensive Anakin Skywalker search here, too. She will start casting other roles here as well.
DO YOU HAVE A HANDFUL OF ACTORS TO CHOOSE FROM NOW FOR THE ROLE OF ANAKIN?
No, we have a huge list. It really is wide open at this point.
WHEN DO YOU EXPECT TO MAKE A CHOICE FOR THE NEW ANAKIN?
Probably not until a couple of months before we start shooting. We might get lucky - it's hard to say. We might meet the perfect person tomorrow. You must never know.
IN OUR STAR WARS SECTION (PAGE 12) WE HAVE A QUOTE FROM GEORGE SAYING WE WILL SEE YODA FIGHTING AND WIELDING A LIGHTSABER IN EPISODE II. IS THIS TRUE?
That is still the plan.
HAS THE DESIGN WORK BEGUN ON BOBA FETT FOR EPISODE II - AND IS HIS CHARACTER STILL IN THE PLAN TO APPEAR IN THE MOVIE?
They haven't begun sketching his new look yet, but that is really minor at this point. Boba Fett is still in the movie. But since we don't have a script, we're now focusing on trying to find locations that look like the planets we're visiting, and designing costumes. [Costume Designer] Trisha Biggar is working busily now. She has been working with George for the last two weeks at the Ranch coming up with costume ideas, and then she will go back to England, where we start manufacturing the costumes for about two months. Then we'll shift over to Australia for the last three months right up to the start of shooting.
IS THE SCRIPT FINISHED YET?
George is in the midst of writing as we speak. That is his primary task while continuing to oversee the entire production. We're not putting any pressure on him. As he comes up with a scene, he'll tell us the basic backbone of what it is and what takes place there, and we then start to design the sets. But right now we don't need a script - we just need the locations and the actual places where everything takes place. It's better for him to concentrate on the dialogue and themes as he goes along, while we're working on the look.
But you know, this is a virtual world now. it is a different place making movies today than it used to be - we're creating entire worlds on the computer, so our work on Episode II is a combination of actual sets being built and sets being designed on the computer.
WHEN WILL THE SCRIPT BE COMPLETED?
I don't know - whenever George hands it to me! It's like Citizen Kane - the script was finished two days before the film started shooting. This is about serendipity, alchemy - it comes together when it does. For example, the script for Temple of Doom wasn't done until six months before the movie started shooting. Every film is different.
DO YOU EXPECT THERE WILL BE AS MUCH CG WORK ON EPISODE II AS THERE WAS ON EPISODE I - OR EVEN MORE?
Absolutely. There will be as much on this as there was on the last one. But actually, you can't do much more because virtually every shot on Episode I had a CG element to it.
THE FANS ARE REALLY GETTING EXCITED NOW THAT EPISODE II IS GEARING UP.
I'm glad to hear that - everyone at Lucasfilm is, too. Speaking of fans, I'm hoping for the greatest event for Episode II in 2002! I want to go even further than we went on the first Celebration. I loved the last one. The nature of the whole environment is what made it unique. If you had held it in the classic Madison Square Garden kind of place, it wouldn't have had the same emotional response it did. It wouldn't be the same memory for people. We have a lot of people here at Lucasfilm who really care and who loved the last one and are looking forward to doing it again and making it even more special!
WHEN DOES ILM BEGIN WORK ON THE FILM?
Not until we finish shooting - sometime in September or October.
WHAT'S THE BUZZ LIKE DOWN THERE IN AUSTRALIA? ARE PEOPLE EXCITED THAT YOU ARE SHOOTING THE FILMS THERE?
Oh yeah, they love Star Wars here. We're going to have a lot of fun with them while shooting here.
WILL YOU BE SHOOTING ANY SCENES FOR EPISODE III WHILE DOING EPISODE II?
No, not at all. Episode III will be shot completely separately.
CAN YOU TELL US ANYTHING ABOUT THE NEW PLANETS WE'LL BE VISITING IN EPISODE II?
I wish I could - but not just yet. We will be visiting some new worlds in the next film and they are very exciting. You're going to love them!
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