Star Wars Uncut: your friend is quite a mercenaryby mo on 11/9/2009
So I’ve always wanted to be Princess Leia.
About a month ago, I was sitting in the ACM office innocently working on some stuff for Reflections | Projections when suddenly I heard something that awakened a truly Pavlovian reaction in me: the Star Wars theme music.
I went to investigate the source, and found Carl watching a trailer for Star Wars Uncut, a project to crazily cloudsource a remake of the original Star Wars film: the movie is cut up into 15-second chunks, you choose a scene that isn’t finished yet, film it (however you want: live action, animation, something crazy), and upload it to Vimeo.
Here’s the trailer Carl was watching that left me no choice but to stop what I was doing and jump on board this project:
After perusing the available scenes left on Star Wars Uncut for about half an hour, I suddenly stumbled across the perfect scene, #383. Remember when Han, Luke, and Leia have finally escaped from the Death Star, tension is high, and Han’s being all “I just want my $$, I’m sure not in this for _you_, princess!” and Leia gets all “fine take your money and leave, bitch”?
Right after that, Leia is ready to storm out, just as Luke is coming in, “Your friend is quite a mercenary – I wonder if he really cares about anything. Or anybody.” And Luke goes, “*I* care!” like a huge dork.
And that’s my 15 seconds.
No one better suited the role for Luke than the biggest Star Wars nerd I know — my brother. (No, he is not actually my twin. But we have been mistaken for each other… don’t ask. Oh, also, I know he’s my brother.) Han Solo doesn’t actually do much of anything, and he doesn’t say any lines, during these 15 seconds. This meant that a cardboard cutout would work perfectly! One phone call later, I was ready to purchase a cardboard cutout of Harrison Ford, albeit from the wrong scene of Star Wars. But when stormtrooper Han Solo is your only option, you GO with stormtrooper Han Solo.
On the evening of Monday, November 1st, I rendezvoused with my brother at what would become the Millennium Falcon; a place that should look very familiar to most UIUC Computer Science Students. One hour and six takes later (which amounts to a grand total of 1.5 minutes of footage), we were done with our scene. Thanks to Dave for helping with the daunting task of pushing the record button those 12 times.
A trivial amount of editing (and some gratuitous sound effects) later:
There was only really one hurdle we had to get over while filming: about 40 minutes into the shooting process, three guys walked into the room, and sat down in the stadium seating. We kind of stared back at them like they had invaded our turf (which they had).
“What are YOU doing here?” Princess Leia asked.
“Ummm… we’re shooting Star Wars. Can you come back later?”
“If I get to keep Han Solo.”
And with that, they were gone long enough for us to finish the shoot.
Of course, now I will never look at those 15 seconds of Star Wars the same way again. When my brother accidentally nudged Han Solo in an all too “come hither” way during filming, we rewatched the scene and noticed something subtle: when Leia leaves, Luke looks back at Han angrily, as if to say, “she’s my potential woman and DO NOT INTERFERE.” But then he looks out the doorway after Leia again, and then before coming into the room he turns back to look at Han, this time locking into what is a distinctly sexy stare. Suddenly, the subtext of this scene has changed. It’s ON. Not competition between Luke and Han over Leia — no, it’s classic sibling rivalry of Luke vs. Leia. Who wouldn’t fight over Harrison Ford?
And that’s how I am going to watch this scene from here on out. No going back.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, I still have Han Solo. (the cutout)