The choice to direct a "Star Wars" movie couldn't seem like more of a no-brainer, but for any filmmaker taking on the galaxy far, far away, it's an enormous commitment that will no doubt demand years of his or her life.
That was very true for Rian Johnson, who was coming off the biggest success of his career with the phenomenal "Looper." He could have made pretty much any film he wanted when he was faced with the offer. His decision to direct "Star Wars: Episode VIII" was made much easier by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and the creative team there.
Johnson talked generally about his experiences so far on "Episode VIII" and what made him say "yes" with director Terry Gilliam on the TalkHouse podcast.
The exchange began when Gilliam asked Johnson what he was doing next, a question that must thrill the "Looper" director to answer.
The most interesting bit that Johnson had to say about "Star Wars" was the discussion about balancing what he loves as a storyteller with the larger universe.
"I'll have more perspective in a while, but it’s a balance of remembering what inspires you about it, but you can probably go to the wrong place by feeling too responsible to it," Johnson said. "You have to keep your head loose enough to tell a story you actually care about."
Johnson went on to say that that balance falls very much in line with what Lucasfilm wants for the new trilogy.
"Kathleen and her whole creative team have been so insistent on all the filmmakers they’ve been hiring for these new movies. ‘We want you to take it and turn it into something that you really care about.’ And we’ll see how the process plays out, but so far, that’s a big part of the reason I’m in it," he said. "Because that just seems like their attitude towards it. It’s really exciting actually."
You can listen to the entire conversation below.
"Star Wars: Episode VIII" is expected to hit theaters in 2017.