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Chat With Rick McCallum

A note I'd like to say that i was in this chat, and my questions didn't go through, so you won't see my name on there(QunAmidala) but look at all the other questions.

ltjsk8a asks: How does the 2nd trailer differ from the original one?
StarWars_McCallum: The second trailer first of all is much more plot oriented. It tells you the larger scope of the movie. It's all new footage, I love it. It's exciting and fantistic.

MichaelTGrace asks: Yoda looks strange in the trailer. Has his appareance been altered for the actual film?
StarWars_McCallum: He's just 40 years younger.

motionsuggests asks: Mr. McCallum, What was the most remarkable thing about the production of this movie?
StarWars_McCallum: The privledge of working with George. It's just big and epic. I love the crew that we work with in Tunisia, Italy and England. It was a challenge every day and we're breaking new ground.

pack_aok asks: When will the 2nd Trailer be released and will it be on starwars.com within the first 24 hours, like the "teaser" trailer?
StarWars_McCallum: The trailer will be released in March. There is no exact date yet, just keep checking the web site.

Jedi_Hermit asks: What was it like working with George Lucas? What kind of guy is he?
StarWars_McCallum: How much time do we have? He's such a consumate filmmaker. There is no aspect that he is not keenly aware off. He has great knowledge. He's a wonderful leader. It's very very easy to work with him.

Marty2634 asks: Hello Rick, How is Liam Neeson's performance in this movie?
StarWars_McCallum: Awesome!

gfunk26 asks: Is it true that Phantom menace is just a decoy name?
StarWars_McCallum: Absolutely not. That is the title of the movie.

Izzo84 asks: Where you intimated by working on a Star Wars movie?
StarWars_McCallum: I was much more intimidated working on the Special Edition because it was just weird working on a set of movies that were made 20 years ago. On Episode One , I wasn't. I've worked with George over 10 years on Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, and Radioland Murders. We get along well.

Mattpurcell asks: how was it working with Samuel L. Jackson, a huge Star Wars fan?
StarWars_McCallum: It was great to work with Sam. I don't know if you know the story of how he was cast. Robin Gurland, our casting director, was watching a news talk show in England. One question asked of Sam, was what movie would you love to be in. He said Star Wars. We called his bluff and called him. We wrote a part for him and he spent about 3 days working with us.

delphicaX asks: When you were working on the restoration of the trilogy, how did the production team determine the line between enhancing and altering the films?
StarWars_McCallum: George knew exactly what he wanted to change in all three films. They had to do with schedules and comprimises of sequences and shots that he wanted to change.

Treader2 asks: Do you have a favorite SW character, old or new?
StarWars_McCallum: Yes, my favorite character overall in the first 3 is Boba Fett. I identify with him. Physically I resemble Jabba.

dusty18412 asks: when will boba fett enter the films
StarWars_McCallum: Sometime in the future, definitely soon.

rsnahra asks: What are your post prequel-trilogy plans?
StarWars_McCallum: Take a very very long vacation. I have a secret dream to visit every country in the world. I've only done 60.

Rage_Commander074089 asks: What do you believe is the most defining trait of the original Star Wars trilogy, and does this trait still hold true in the prequils?
StarWars_McCallum: The single most defining moment was in Ep IV A New Hope. When Luke looks at the two suns setting, the yearning to discover the world and explore is a theme through all 6 films.

bryholf asks: What kind of stress have you been under producing one of the most highly anticipated movies of all time?
StarWars_McCallum: Let me put it this way, I have purchased land in Bulgaria. It's been such a big experience, but it's been so much fun that it hasn't been painful at all.

MichaelTGrace asks: How would you compare this film to the original trilogy? Which one is it most similar to?
StarWars_McCallum: None.

Marty2634 asks: Hello Rick, Which actor or actresses perfomance in this film stand out in your opinion?
StarWars_McCallum: It's really an ensemble piece. Everyone stands out.

Thrawn_24 asks: How did Ewan MacGregor get involved? I think he looks great as Obi Wan!
StarWars_McCallum: We'll when we were casting the movie, George was adament that we find someone that could be a younger Obi-Wan. We took a whole bunch of Alec Guinness films from when he was younger and looked at current actors. We thought Ewan was great as a diverse actor for Trainspotting and Emma in one year. Once we met him we knew.

Izzo84 asks: What was the most challenging thing about working on a star wars movie?
StarWars_McCallum: I think the coordination of the most complicated special effects movie ever done. Shooting in three counties. The ability to do it on budget and to achieve that .

gt9340b asks: Do you believe that the movie can live up to the expectations? Honestly?
StarWars_McCallum: That's why I purchased the land in Bulgaria.

jtd_5 asks: Any information about the next two movies?
StarWars_McCallum: Yes. The next film we shoot in Tunisia, Australia and Italy in the year 2000. It will be released in 2002.

ryrish asks: Any chance on seeing a Jawa's face?
StarWars_McCallum: LOL -- If you look really hard. You'll have to see the film many times.

Bigwampa asks: What will be your biggest obstacle in the next 2 movies?
StarWars_McCallum: We'll the first one we pushed the envelope. The second one we're licking it.

Riddle_18 asks: is this movie something to take the kids to?
StarWars_McCallum: Over and over and over.

Marc5629 asks: Compared to Titanic's Number of Special Effects, How does Episode I rate in terms of quantity and cost?
StarWars_McCallum: Well we're doing 5x the effects of Titanic, and it is considerably cheaper.

miperrone asks: How do you feel the web affected the production of the film, if at all?
StarWars_McCallum: It didn't affect the production of the film. I get a lot of info from the web each day. It amuses me. I love the speculation and the rampant untrue rumors. I find it very interesting.

ChatYahoo_Lisa: What's your favorite untrue rumor?
StarWars_McCallum: Charlton Heston playing Yoda.

corren23 asks: Is it true that Lucas will not make episodes 7, 8, and9? If it is why won't he? Thanks
StarWars_McCallum: It's definitely true. These films are so complex and time consuming and he has other projects that he wants to do.

raab00 asks: How would you rate Jake Lloyd's performance?
StarWars_McCallum: He brought everything to Anakin. He had all the right combinations and qualities. He's also a great great kid.

dcdylan asks: WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THOSE OF US WAITING IN LINE FOR A MONTH?
StarWars_McCallum: Why only 1 month?

Marty2634 asks: Hello Rick, Why do you think the Star Wars films have such a fan interest around the world?
StarWars_McCallum: I think it really gets down to just the story and the characters. George has created a universe with so many themes and it's rooted in the basic drama. It has resonance all over the world.

Morphius1 asks: What affect has Star Wars had on your life?
StarWars_McCallum: I haven't had a life since I started working with George.

Hexcaliber_71 asks: Mr. McCallum, is it true that Mr. Lucas plan on filming episode three entirely digitally, without film?
StarWars_McCallum: Right now the plan is that Episode II and III will be filmed with a digital camera.

TMRFE asks: What is a more enjoyable for you: the actual filming of the picture or the post-production work?
StarWars_McCallum: On a normal film, it's filming. On this kind of film, I love the challenges of working with ILM as they create some of the most extrodinary stuff I've ever seen. It's been a great experience working with them.

binkster_the_first asks: Is the first movie hard to follow if you're not somewhat in tuned with the underlying story?
StarWars_McCallum: Absolutely, not. Remember it's Episode One.

Digiting asks: Stylistically, how does John Williams' Phantom Menace score compare to the existing Star Wars music?
StarWars_McCallum: We'll it has a lot of familiar themes. Both George and I just got back from London from 3 weeks of working with the London Symphony. It's new and rich and everybody is going to be thrilled with it.

ChrisB8199 asks: Has the Episode II and III scripts been completed?
StarWars_McCallum: Episode Two, George is writing now.

Digiting asks: How long is The Phantom Menace in its current form (final cut)?
StarWars_McCallum: The total film will be 2 hours and 10 minutes.

S_Xodiak asks: Was there any idea to have different coloured lightsabers, other than red, green and blue?
StarWars_McCallum: No.

alexjbigal007 asks: What's the hardest part in making the prequel?
StarWars_McCallum: When 23 years ago when George wrote Star Wars, he did a considerable amount of work on the back story. When he completed his master script, he took the easiest section to film. He always knew where they came from and who the characters were. I think his overall idea is hopefully, soon, you'll see this extrodinary saga of a family over 6 parts or chapters.Hopefully, it will be one big 12 hour film.

stevek24_1999 asks: Can you tell us about the new sound system that "TPM" will utilize and how it will be different then most sound systems?
StarWars_McCallum: It's a sound system developed by THX and Dolby based on an idea by our principal mixer. You put a center speaker in the back and isolates a sound to move in an arc. It doesn' go from left to right, but rather fills the back of a screen. If you have a spaceship or lightsaber, you can actually here it go from left to center to right.

Vader_DLOTS asks: will there be anything abourt Han or Leia in the prequels?
StarWars_McCallum: Not in Episode One.I have to say guys that these are better questions than I've gotten from any journalists! We're chatting live from the Skywalker Ranch.

darklord_327 asks: Why did Lucas wait so long before doing this trilogy?
StarWars_McCallum: The basic answer is he didn't feel the technology was good enough to achieve the vision he had for the film. The turning point for George was when he was supervising the postproduction on Jurrasic Park. I was in Prague for Young Indy. George just saw handheld shot of Jeff Goldblum being chased by the T-Rex in the Jeep. It was a turning point in that you couldn't achieve that before. He finally felt that everything was coming together.

ChatYahoo_Lisa: Didn't you want to add a fully digital character?
StarWars_McCallum: Up to that point, it was possible to do with other methods, but never cost effiecient.

Bishop14_1999 asks: WILL WOOKIEES BE IN EPISODE I?
StarWars_McCallum: They have a cameo and it's not Chewbacca, and again you'll have to see the film many times to spot them.

ken955 asks: What was your background before you got this cool gig?
StarWars_McCallum: Catering... I've been making films since 1980. I was living and working in England in 1990 when I met George and he outlined his ideas for Young Indy. We got along really well and it just went from there.

ORIONSAINT asks: Will there be a making of special for Phantom Menace?
StarWars_McCallum: There already is one on the web. Updated every other week.

billdet asks: How do you keep things secret on a movie involving hundreds of people?
StarWars_McCallum: With the threat of death by drowning. It's hard, but if you have a crew that you've worked with for a long time they understand it's important to keep it a secret for the fans.

Maverick_at_UNC asks: Did Ewan and Liam make convincing swordsmen?
StarWars_McCallum: They worked so hard and rehearsed for such a long time. They both give truly convincing performances while fighting. The stuntmaster was Nick Gillard. He also taught the swords.

AMPAS5 asks: Will Jabba appear in any of the prequels?
StarWars_McCallum: Yes.

seanm asks: How has Star Wars been able to avoid the budget problems that plagued oter big shows like 'Titanic'?
StarWars_McCallum: We prepped for a very long time and as I said before we've had a crew that's worked together. We also take a lot of pride in doing it right for the money. That's a very important aspect for us.

externkoz asks: What is the biggest difference between Episode I and Episodes IV-VI, and in what way are they most similar?
StarWars_McCallum: The design is totally different and yet in the same time there are echoes and similarities in the original three. The costumes are much more elaborate. It's much more epic in scale.

ironparrot asks: Will there be a third trailer within the last few weeks before the prequel's release on May 21?
StarWars_McCallum: NO! Emphatically, NO. We're working to hard to get the film done as it is.

Hexcaliber_71 asks: Mr. McCallum, how would you say Mr. Lucas views of his Star Wars story has changed over the last twenty plus years?
StarWars_McCallum: I don't think it's changed that much. I think it's just taken a long time for the tools and the opportunity to make his vision. He's always known what the Saga was about.

waylen1138 asks: Was there anything George wanted to attempt with this flim that simply could not be done?
StarWars_McCallum: Everyday!

agrbatti asks: in your opinion..is this the best star wars film to date?
StarWars_McCallum: In my opinion, absolutely.

the1stMule asks: How many hours of film did you end up with before editing?
StarWars_McCallum: We shot 1.3 million feet of film. 2500 setups on first , 1200 on second and all in 65 days.

jaybuangan asks: Was it tough working with Yoda?
StarWars_McCallum: No because, Yoda's played by Frank Oz, one of the most decent, gentle, talented men I've ever met.

motionsuggests asks: Do you believe there is a breakthrough in storytelling similar to the one Lucas created in American Grafitti?
StarWars_McCallum: The breakthrough for us is digital animation. We spent so much time working on realistic alien characters who interact seamlessly.

cphartman asks: Did the actors on the set seem nervous about the pleasing the fans?
StarWars_McCallum: No. I think they were nervous about shooting in front of a lot of blue screen. After a week or two they got very used to it.

shell0919 asks: How many hours did you spend filming per day
StarWars_McCallum: We would normally shoot a 12 to 13 hour day.

Marty2634 asks: Hello Rick, How was the name "The Phantom Menace" chosen as the title of this film?
StarWars_McCallum: You'll have to see the movie to understand that.

Ethan_Be asks: Is there one particular movie that made you want to get into filmmaking? if so, what is it?
StarWars_McCallum: Yes it was a film by Ingmar Bergman called Persona.

ChatYahoo_Lisa: Was there something specific about that film?
StarWars_McCallum: Liv Ullman and Dee Dee Anderson when they were 20.

Rage_Commander074089 asks: Why didn't shooting occur at Elstree studios as in the original films?
StarWars_McCallum: Unfortunely, Elstree was cut up in the '90s and it's a much smaller studio now. We needed an area 5 or 6 times the size of Elstree. I didn't want to shoot in a tradition studio, we shot and left our sets standing. We rented a large warehouse outside of London. We also build over 65 sets on 800,000 sq. feet of warehouse space. No studio really has that capability.

Strider21m asks: What was the biggest problem encountered in the making of this movie, and what was the biggest learning experience for you?
StarWars_McCallum: Nothing was major problem. We did have a big storm our second day in Tunisia that completely destroyed all our sets. We were very lucky in that one set managed to survive to storm and allowed us enough time to rebuild in shifts for 24hours. That was a difficult 2-3 weeks. I learned how extrodinarily talented the people at ILM are. They're a phenomonal group of artists.

DarthJake asks: How do you choose such diverse names for your characters in Star Wars? Does George do all of the naming?
StarWars_McCallum: George does everything. He designs every object and names all the names. Obviously he created the world that we're all lucky enough to be a part of.

MorgusTheMagnificent asks: With the mountain of leaked plot info, are there any surprises left to "The Phantom Menace?"
StarWars_McCallum: We'll luckily most of the rumors are so ridiculous that there is so much that people still don't know.

Hexcaliber_71 asks: Mr. McCallum, after episode three, what is left for us to look forward to?!!
StarWars_McCallum: George has other projects that I think are going to be truly experimental and really exciting. Thanks for all the great questions and thank you for all the outragous rumors on the internet. Now that's entertainment.