Rian Johnson has been making a name for himself in the directing and screenwriting realms. He first drew attention when his debut film Brick won the Special Jury Prize for Originality of Vision in 2005. Since then he’s tackled the sci-fi genre and the comedy genre with films like Looper and The Brothers Bloom. When it was revealed that Rian Johnson would be directing and writing Star Wars: The Last Jedi, fans everywhere freaked out. Now the time has come for him to reveal the latest chapter in the Star Wars saga, which premieres in theaters on December 15, 2017.
Screen Rant got a chance to director Rian Johnson on press day, where we discussed his thoughts on all the fan theories surround Last Jedi, his fondest memory with the late Carrie Fisher on set, and what inspiration he drew from other stories that ended up influencing his direction on Last Jedi.
SR: First of all Rian, I’m super excited about this movie. I have to ask, right off the bat, have you read any fan theories that have actually been right about anything?
Rian Johnson: I mean. nothing that’s really nailed big stuff. No, which… I love reading the fan theories, you know, having been a Star Wars fan myself and been on the other side of the curtain most of my life it’s pretty cool to be back behind, like peeking through saying seeing like I would have people guessing.
SR: Since you’re taking… Not taking over, but since you’re doing The Last Jedi and J.J. (Abrams) obviously did The Force Awakens, are you guys building the world of the new trilogy together, or are you jumping off his story, and in the next one he’s jumping off your story?
Rian Johnson: Well, No. So, he’s going to do the next episode, so do the final chapter of this trilogy, and then I’m just completely, separately going to be coming up with a whole new trilogy so won’t be connected to this at all and yeah. I’m just going to come up with something new and do it.
SR: A lot your cast that really surprised with the direction some of their characters were taken. What are you most surprised about with their reactions to that?
Rian Johnson: I was just, I don’t know about surprise. I was just nervous. I was like I hope they like. It was because you know, they put so much into it they work so hard on it. Their trust in you to make it and make them look good and so, for me, it was you know, the most gratifying thing. Those are two things I was nervous about. The cast seeing it and now the fans seeing it, so we’re over one hump.
SR: We sadly lost Carrie Fisher obviously. The question I had for you was what is your most fond memory of this film that she was a part of.
Rian Johnson: I mean my favorite memory of Carrie is actually before we started shooting. When we were still in pre-shoot and then in L.A. I went to visit her home and just we sat on her bed for like four hours in her amazing bedroom that’s like a projection of her psyche. Into interior design, and just you know, B.S.ing, and telling jokes, and gossiping, and just hanging out with Carrie. She was a one of a kind lady. I feel really lucky I got even the small amount of time I did with her, you know.
SR: I’m really excited to see her in this film.
Rian Johnson: Can’t wait for you to see her. She’s so good in the film, and she gives such a beautiful performance.
SR: I’m excited about that.
Rian Johnson: Yeah. Yeah.
SR: The next question I have was what inspirations did you take for The Last Jedi from other films, other stories?
Rian Johnson: Yeah. Well, we watch a bunch I watch a bunch of movies with kind of like the folks at Lucasfilm. I picked a bunch of films and Twelve O’Clock High, which is one of the Great World War II movies with Gregory Peck. There’s some direct inspiration from that in the film, but also we watch some samurai films. We watch some, you know, Bridge On The River Kwai. We watched Gunga Din. We watch a bunch of, kind of adventure films. And, you know, Star Wars is like, the original Star Wars it’s so ubiquitous now. It’s easy to forget how weird the original one was and what a weird genre mash-up it was. Western inside and sci-fi, there’s soap opera, and so, it makes sense to draw from a bunch of different seemingly disparate you know sources of inspiration for it.
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