I attended the Strange Magic press event at Skywalker Ranch in Northern California. Skywalker Ranch is not open to the general public so being able to attend the press event was a once in a life time experience.
While there I had the opportunity to screen Strange Magic and attend an interview session with George Lucas.
The screening and interview took place inside the Stag Theater at Skywalker Sound.
The theater is a 300 seat-state of the art private screening room and is pretty much the only place you’d ever want to see a movie.
The movie sounded so clear and crisp, the sound effects were incredible. The seats in the theater were so comfy, they rocked (literally) and had speaker located under it. It was a pretty amazing way to see a movie and I really felt like I was IN the movie.
Strange Magic is a fun love story filled with fairies, fun creatures, music, action and adventure. It is great film for the entire family and the songs were great too. I wanted to get up and dance during the movie and so will you. There will be a more in-depth review of Strange Magic will be on my blog coming soon. But for now, here is the interview with George Lucas about Strange Magic which opens on January 23rd.
After the screening of the movie George moved to the front of the room (oh by the way, he screened the movie with us) where he was interviewed by Rayne Roberts as well as our group.
Question: Why Make the Film Strange Magic?
Work on the film started 15 years ago and he got the idea that it would be fun to make a musical with his favorite music. He wanted to make a film for tween girls, because in his mind when he made Star Wars it was more for tween boys. Even though when all was said and done Stars Wars appealed to all ages.
While Strange Magic is tween girl centric he hopes it will engage boys as well and everyone will like it. Strange Magic is upbeat, fun, and a simple movie that appealed to him
Once Mr. Lucas finished production on Star Wars he was producing other films but he wanted to get his hands dirty again. A small team started working on Strange Magic on the side while working on other projects.
They were busy designing elements and doing animation tests, this process when on for many years. The project kept growing and growing until soon it became one of those fun movies that he enjoyed working on.
Question: How did the theme of Strange Magic emerge?
The theme of Strange Magic is that everyone deserves to be loved. Mr. Lucas knew he wanted to make a movie about the difference between being infatuated with someone and truly in love with them. You aren’t going to have a serious deep relationship with someone you are infatuated with because it won’t last very long.
The message for young girls who are prone to infatuations is that it’s not always the cutest guy in the class that you want to be out with.
Mr. Lucas had been a bachelor for 20 years and thought he’d never fall in love again. He felt like he was the old cranky Bog as portrayed in the movie. But then he feel in love with someone who wasn’t like him at all. He ended up meeting a woman who was the head of an investment management firm and thought she’d be the last person that would fall in love with him.
Adolescents need to be told why their friendships are important, why some things in the world are bigger than them and why there are complicated feelings with their parents. Stories in Strange Magic let them know that everyone goes through these issues. Kids need to hear these types of lessons about love and these stories need to be told over and again even though as adults we know all of this already.
Question: What attracts you to popular music as a filmmaker?
The inspiration for the movie was to tell a love story using love songs by stringing them together to tell the story. Mr. Lucas loves music, it plays a huge part in his life and he enjoys all kinds of music.
During production, the movie was twice as long as it is now because it had twice as much music! Mr. Lucas had to cut the film for time but he joyfully said he could make a 5 hour musical out of all the music he wanted in the film.
He reminisced about his movie American Graffiti and how he wanted to have a movie where he could sit in the editing room all day and have a good time listening to the music.
A lot of the songs in Strange Magic have to do with telling the story, the characters are telling the story through the lyrics in the song. This meant that the songs in the movie needed to be able to set the musical mood of the moment and the lyrics needed to be able to move the story along. Even though the songs are from different eras they work well stitching the story together.
Question: Did you start with a set of songs in mind?
Yes, some of the songs are in the movie that I originally wanted. Once we started putting the storyboards together and weaving it all together some of the songs needed to be cut for time. We needed songs that would be able to move the story along.
About Strange Magic
Strange Magic is a new animated film from Lucasfilm Ltd. and is a madcap fairy tale musical inspired by “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Popular songs from the past six decades help tell the tale of a colorful cast of goblins, elves, fairies and imps, and their hilarious misadventures sparked by the battle over a powerful potion.
But wait…there’s more.
- Review of Touchstone Pictures’ STRANGE MAGIC
- Interview with Director Gary Rydstrom
- Interview with Elijah Kelley
- Tour of Skywalker Ranch
Disney invited me to San Francisco to attend a media event for Strange Magic. All expenses have been paid by Disney, but all opinions are always 100% my own.