DISCUSSES DE PALMA SPARKING THE IDEA FOR OPENING SCRAWL IN 'STAR WARS', & MUCH MORE
In a section of the terrific interview above, Steven Spielberg talks about the way he and his filmmaking friends would help each other out as they were all coming up in the industry:
"We had such a wonderful kind of an incubator in the early '70s. Late '60s/early '70s. I really began directing in '69, that was television, I was 21, but... And I met all these people around that period of time. I met George Lucas in 1967 when we were both in college. I was at Long Beach State, he was at USC. And I met a lot of those fellows in college, and professional life, and it was not a clique, not a 'Brat Pack,' nothing that people claim we were. We were just a bunch of filmmakers that weren't afraid to show our rough cuts to each other, and weren't afraid of that kind of criticism. We weren't afraid of George Lucas or Brian De Palma. I'll never forget the day Brian De Palma and I saw the rough cut of Star Wars. And there were only about six of us in the room. And it was the very first time George had ever showed the picture to anybody, and chose the six of us to show it to. Well, Brian went off the deep end. [Smiling as he playfully imitates De Palma] 'Whaas... Makes no sense! Nonsense! What's this all about?' And through all of the contention of that wild evening where Brian liked the movie, but thought it was sort of mixed up... it was really mixed up, it just didn't have 89 percent of the special effects in them-- who could possibly make head or tails of Star Wars without all those, you know, 500 effects shots? But, Brian's contention did lead to George inventing the now very famous forward, like the old serials, that crawled up the screen. You know, 'A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.' Now that came out of that rough cut screening. You know, and that was exciting to see things like that happen. I sat with Scorsese, in the editing room, heloing him edit the last ten minutes of Taxi Driver. Which is a film totally unlike who I am. But he asked me to come in, and to give my opinion, and to make some comments, and I did. That was fun, you know, we've all helped each other with our movies. The shark blowing up in Jaws was not my idea. It wasn't in the Peter Benchley novel, wasn't in the Peter Benchley screenplay, and the Carl Gottlieb screenplay. It was simply some filmmaker friends of mine who read the script and said, 'The shark's gotta blow up at the end. You've got to find some way to explode it. Not just kill it, it's gotta explode!' And without that kind of, sort of selfless thinking, where the ego is not leading you around by your nostrils, but you're open to pain, and to embarrassment, and to ridicule, and by being open to that with peers that know what it's like to make a movie, that have made movies, that you can respect their word, their critique, so to speak... and it's a great way to work. A great way to make your movies even better."