MARRAKESH (CBS SF) — Famed filmmaker and longtime Napa fixture Francis Ford Coppola lamented that friend and fellow director George Lucas became so caught up in his ‘Star Wars’ franchise that he turned his back on making more experimental films in a recent interview.
The 76-year-old Coppola was speaking at the Marrakesh Film Festival earlier this week, where he is heading the jury at the festival’s 15th edition. It was during comments about the lack of experimentation in mainstream cinema as reported by British film website ScreenDaily.com that the “Godfather” trilogy director spoke about Lucas and the affect the “Star Wars” films had on him.
“I think “Star Wars,” it’s a pity, because George Lucas was a very experimental crazy guy and he got lost in this big production and never got out of it,” Coppola said, according to ScreenDaily.com.
“I still hope that he made so much money out of it that he will just make some little movies. He promises me that he will,” Coppola continued.
The two directors have been friends and creative partners for decades, having co-founded the independent San Francisco-based American Zoetrope Studios in the late 1960s.
The studio produced the first feature-length film Lucas made, the dystopic science fiction thriller “THX 1138” in 1971, and his breakthrough “American Graffiti” two years later. The studio also produced several of Coppola’s greatest movies — “The Godfather, Part II,” “The Conversation” and “Apocalypse Now” — in addition to films by such creative international directors as Akira Kurosawa, Jean-Luc Godard and Wim Wenders.
Lucas had announced his retirement from making major blockbuster films in 2012, saying he would focus on smaller, more modestly budgeted independent movies. That same year, his company Lucasfilm was acquired by the Walt Disney Company, making Lucas the second largest single shareholder in Disney stock.
Lucas is currently serving as a creative consultant on the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy which launches on December 18th with the anticipated release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” directed by J.J. Abrams.