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LUCAS No, no, no, it's not. People don't remember that every time you have a digital character, you have an actor. There's an actor doing the voice, or there's an actor on the set doing the performance with the other actors. He takes the place of the digital character. But you're still dealing with another human being, you're still trying to get a performance out of him, you're still doing that part of directing. I work with actors. I've always worked with actors. Francis Coppola taught me how to work with actors. Now, Francis takes them home to dinner. He lives with them. I'm a different kind of guy.
But I know a lot of directors who are far less communicative than I am. Am I less comfortable on set working with actors than I am in the editing room trying to put it all together? Yes, I would say that's probably true. Am I by nature a shy person? Yes. Have I kind of overcome my shyness to do things that a shy person shouldn't be able to do? Yes, of course I have. But people think of me as a sort of pathological, Howard Hughes-type guy sitting in a hotel room, which is definitely not so. I mean, you've known me for years. It ain't even close to that.
TIME No, but everybody says, "Well, he's up there on the mountaintop, and he's all by himself--Mr. Mystery."
LUCAS Yeah, but there's thousands of people here. I wish I worked by myself--it would mean the overhead's much less. But part of that comes from not being in a media center. I'm not in L.A., I'm not in New York, and therefore I must be out in the wilderness, sort of sitting in the Himalayas somewhere. San Francisco is not the wilderness. We have a nice little film community here. We make movies we're very proud of. We're not alone, and we may be liberal, but we're not completely crazy.
TIME All right now, George, I've been hearing about these movies you're going to make since I first met you. In 1977 you said, "I'm gonna go off and make my little art films." What will they be?
LUCAS I've got a whole binder full of stuff. Which one I'm going to take on first, I have no idea ... I know I'm going to produce a film about the African-American fighter pilots--the Tuskegee Airmen--during WW II. I've been working on that for 15 years. I've been having a very difficult time getting a script on it.
LUCAS I'm going to go off in the direction that I was really interested in going off in when I was in film school--films like Koyaanisqatsi, films that are a little more abstract in nature. It's vaguely in the land of music videos, I guess, but I don't even know how to describe them. I'm going to deal with themes that have always interested me and are vaguely esoteric in nature. But I'm going to try to make them dramatic. I'm going to try to make them emotional. How they're gonna turn out, I don't know. I know they won't be mainstream movies. Fortunately, I have built my facility here to work in. I've set aside a chunk of money to do my movies--that I figure will last me for 10 years, when I'll be seventysomething and I should probably quit. I'm sure they'll be just as criticized as Star Wars films are. I'm sure some people will be just as devoted to them as the Star Wars films.