Worked until 4am last night, reviewing interview footage. The usual grind. No Saturday Night Fever for me these days. Woke up on a nice Sunday morning to find this in my inbox:
I disapprove of this entire project and hope it is not successful.
In my opinion, you are parasites.
Okay, fine. Didn’t Rush Limbaugh express similar wishes for the Obama administration? Makes me feel kinda special, actually. I mean, people really do care about this doc, don’t they? If you recently read some of the comments posted in response to our blog, you probably stumbled upon this one as well:
By the way, the people have spoken. George is a billionaire, and money is the bottom line. Period. Go watch Battlefield:Earth if you don’t like SW. And go F yourself too. I hope your movie tanks!
Or perhaps even this:
Go fuck your mother. These movies are shit and you should die for appreciating the taste of shit.
WELCOME TO MY WORLD!! 🙂
Thank goodness, the death threats and insults are easily counterbalanced by the fans’ constant and overwhelming support (we probably receive 50 positive emails for every negative one). I make it a point, however, to post every single comment on our blog–especially the questionable ones. In my opinion, they justify the existence of, and reinforce the need for our documentary. And, yes, they keep us on our toes. So bring on the passion, folks!! But don’t expect us to take it like Brando did in REFLECTIONS IN A GOLDEN EYE. And in case you were wondering, I took the time to respond to Shaun’s email. Here it is, for your reading pleasure (you don’t mind, Shaun, do you..?):
Regardless of how you feel, I sincerely appreciate the fact that you actually had the decency to reveal who you are. Indeed, most of the hate mail we’ve received to date has been anonymous. While I can’t say it’s nice, on a fine Sunday morning, to receive an email from someone you don’t know, telling you they hope you fail at a project you’ve poured your heart, soul and money into for the past couple years; I’ll admit that you are, of course, entitled to your opinion. But I’m curious to know specifically why you disapprove of our project. If you think that our intent is to demonize George Lucas (perhaps because you haven’t taken the time to read what our film is really about), I certainly wouldn’t blame you for wanting us to fail. There would indeed be few redeeming qualities to a parasitic documentary aimed at soiling the good name of an iconic filmmaker beloved by millions. However, if you truly understand our intent, I’d love to know why you think it shouldn’t be successful.
Consider this. If Trey Parker and Matt Stone, not too long ago, felt the urge to dedicate an entire SOUTH PARK episode to the rape of Indiana Jones by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg (four graphic rape scenes, no less), it’s evident that George Lucas fandom remains synonymous with the peculiar struggle of contrary and conflicting emotions. It is, whether we like it or not, a cultural phenomenon without precedent.
Like Robert Mitchum’s love/hate monologue in NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, George Lucas fans are still debating, 26 years after he first gave us the Ewoks, whether their love for the man who has shaped their childhood’s moral universe is indeed stronger than the growing resentment they seem to have developed toward him since then. This, right here, is the heart of what our film is about. And if the mechanisms of this curious relationship aren’t worth documenting, then what is the purpose of non-fiction filmmaking? We might as well dismiss the Alfred Hitchcock-David O. Selznick dynamic as irrelevant to the study of REBECCA or ROPE; or, for that matter, the entire history of entertainment as trivial in a social landscape dominated by economic worries and the uncertainty of our future as a nation.
Obviously, the way people feel about George Lucas is hardly a matter of life or death. But this indisputable fact doesn’t make our documentary any less relevant or significant. Indeed, we are still talking about a dominant cultural debate that refuses to die, and about the single most powerful and influential filmmaker in the history of our medium—a man who defied the system against all odds, who revolutionized the industry, and without whom a film like ours wouldn’t be possible in the first place.
And that’s the thing. We (our crew) are not “the people” mentioned in our title. This isn’t about a ragtag team of Davids bent on taking down the Goliath of the film industry. That wouldn’t be very smart, and frankly, what would be the point? Simply put, THE PEOPLE vs. GEORGE LUCAS is a film dedicated to documenting and understanding the single most peculiar relationship between a popular artist and his fans—an unprecedented cultural spectacle worthy of the medium. We, too, profoundly love and admire George. We’re only too aware of how indebted we are to his genius. And this documentary was born out of the genuine affection that we have for him and his body of work.
Here’s the thing, though: there’s no question that the fans have plenty of valid reasons to complain, and that’s why I’m so passionate about making sure that their voices are clearly heard and understood as well. This is a very complex subject matter, and it goes far deeper than why a great majority of adults seem to hate Jar Jar Binks with a passion. It’s about pop culture. It’s about stardom and fandom. It’s about the right of an artist to alter his work once it’s been legitimized by the public as an integral component of our world heritage. It’s about the transformation of a young, idealistic filmmaker into the most powerful mogul in movie history. It’s about the conversion of a creative genius, the influence of fame and fortune on his work, and the complex relationship between a man who once could do no wrong and his polarized fans. So you can expect a final product that will go much deeper than our catchy title suggests, and I believe it will shed light on the numerous controversies that people around the world seem eager to discuss on a daily basis.
If my explanation helps you change your mind, or reinforces your belief that we should fail in our endeavor, please let me know. In any case, thanks for sharing your thoughts, and for taking the time to read my response. I hope I’ve managed, at the very least, to alleviate some of your concerns about our film.
I wish you all the best.
Can’t we all just… get along..?