David Cronenberg has earned accolades for directing such critically acclaimed films as “Dead Ringers”, “Videodrome” and “The Fly”, but had things taken a different turn the Canadian-born auteur may have also helmed the final film in the original “Star Wars” trilogy.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, the 75-year-old director recalled receiving an offer to direct “Return of the Jedi” — which he immediately rejected.
“I still recall getting a phone call. Somebody said that they were from, I guess it was Lucasfilm, and asked me if I was interested in — at that point it was called ‘Revenge of the Jedi’, actually, until somebody pointed out that it was against Jedi philosophy to think in terms of revenge,” he revealed.
“But, anyway, I was asked if I would be interested in considering that, and meeting with everybody, and I said, with the arrogance of youth — relative youth, anyway — I said, ‘Well, I’m not used to doing other people’s material.’ And there was like a stunned silence and then ‘Click’ — hang up. Basically, that was as close as I came to that,” he added.
Given the enduring success of the “Star Wars” franchise, does Cronenberg ever ponder what might have been?
“No, not really, because, in a way that’s like doing one episode in a well-established TV series,” Cronenberg explained. “The casting is fixed of the main characters — the look of it, the tone of it, people’s expectations for it, are all fixed. You are not involved in the creating of that. And therefore you’re a little bit more like a traffic cop than you are like, for me, what a creative director can be. So that’s why it wouldn’t have interested me, really.”
He offered an example. “I mean, you have Alfonso Cuaron doing a ‘Harry Potter’ episode, and he did his best to try to make it stand out from the others, but basically, it’s a ‘Harry Potter’ episode,” he continued. “And if you didn’t know that Alfonso directed it, you wouldn’t be able to tell. So, these are not attractive options for me. I mean, there’s the lure of money, and having a big budget, and having excitement around the film you’re making — but on the deep creative level, it would for me be frustrating, I think. Just frustrating.”