When George Lucas is talking about fantasy movies, you don’t need many other interviewees. Or any other.
So found Laurent Bouzereau, a veteran maker of behind-the-scenes film documentaries. The latest of his “A Night at the Movies” specials for Turner Classic Movies — “George Lucas & the World of Fantasy Cinema,” debuting Tuesday (Nov. 25) — has Lucas as the sole person talking to writer-producer-director Bouzereau (who’s unseen) about the genre in which he’s made such a name for himself, thanks largely to “a galaxy far, far away.”
Of course, “Star Wars” is referenced, but so are choices including “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” Bouzereau tells Zap2it that an extensive interview with Lucas was “a fantasy that came true” for him, “to sit across from George and talk movies for several hours and shape the show based on that discussion.”
Having done documentaries on the Lucas-directed “American Graffiti” and Indiana Jones adventures, Bouzereau says he was “very comfortable” with him, “but there is a story that we’re telling. I was really interested in a definition of the genre, and I just loved his take on it, how it started as two separate things and the lines became blurred.
“It gets harder to define what a genre is today, and I love that [Lucas] uses very specific examples … and also that he defines ‘Star Wars’ as a fantasy, where most people define it as science fiction. This really is an appreciation of a genre as seen through the eyes of one of the greatest filmmakers of our time. He’s someone who basically changed and revolutionized the genre, so I thought it was important to get him to talk about it.”
Some earlier “A Night at the Movies” programs have offered Stephen King’s take on horror films and crime writers’ perspectives on — what else? — crime movies. TCM will give a seasonally themed edition, appropriately subtitled “Merry Christmas!,” a replay on Christmas Eve.
While it serves an immediate purpose as an “A Night at the Movies” entry, Bouzereau hopes the Lucas program will have even greater meaning over time. He says, “If the piece does what I think it does, or what I tried to do, it’s an important speech by George Lucas about cinema.”