Sunday, July 25, 2010

December 17, 2009: The Lost World: David Lynch’s ‘Return of the Jedi’

Developing a movie project is such a convoluted process that it’s amazing any films ever get made at all. There are the budgetary problems, and the casting difficulties, and the conflicts between directors and producers that have caused more than a few projects to be aborted before reaching term. In this on-going series I’ve dubbed “The Lost World”, I’ll be looking at some of these sweet abortions.

David Lynch’s Return of the Jedi

I try to reserve The Lost World for those projects rich in juicy details, history, and possibilities, but some projects were so patently doomed that there really isn’t much to say about them, no matter how intriguing they may be. Case in point: the never-gonna-happen collaboration between experimental dream-weaver David Lynch and bearded money-machine George Lucas. That Lucas once had Lynch in mind to direct the third installment of his Star Wars saga, Return of the Jedi, is a pretty open secret. Lucas set his sights on Lynch after being mightily impressed by Lynch’s mightily impressive first venture into mainstream filmmaking, The Elephant Man. Lynch turned down the lucrative opportunity because he knew he’d only be a hired hand on the project (instead he opted to make another sci-fi picture: an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune. Ummm, that worked out real well for him). Thus, the world was deprived of a Jabba the Hutt with sucking skin lesions, a black coffee-guzzling Han Solo, and a gas-huffing Darth Vader incessantly telling Luke Skywalker that “Daddy’s coming home.” Instead, directorial duties went to Richard Marquand, and we got Ewoks and other cutesy pie rubbish primed for the shelves of Toys ‘R Us.

During a recent Q & A at the Hudson Union Society, Lynch finally spoke publicly about the Lucas offer. The following clip of his brief but hilarious recount of a rather stressful visit to Skywalker Ranch has been making the Internet rounds this week, but for the few of you who’ve yet to see it, it bears reposting. So, without further falderal, I hand the baton to Mr. Lynch, himself, who will now take us on an entertaining little jaunt to The Lost World

Stay tuned for Lynch’s upcoming documentary about the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Perhaps we’ll soon discover that Lynch was also originally slotted to direct Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
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