Star Wars creator reveals rare romantic side

Star Wars creator reveals rare romantic side
Director George Lucas (R) and wife Mellody Hobson attend the 2014 Ebony Power 100 List event at Avalon on November 19, 2014 in Hollywood, California.

Everyone deserves to be loved.

That is the tagline of George Lucas' new animated movie Strange Magic.

It also takes a page from the veteran Hollywood film-maker's life.

Inspired by William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, the fairy-tale musical revolves around a love potion and its dangerous powers.

The 70-year-old Star Wars creator was promoting Strange Magic, which he produced and wrote, at a press conference at The Sandcrawler in Singapore yesterday.

He revealed how his passion project, that was 15 years in the making, reflected how he found true love the second time around with his current wife when he least expected it.

Who knew the reputedly private Lucas could be so sentimental? Here are the four surprising things we learnt about him:

HE IS A ROMANTIC

In Strange Magic, which opens here Jan 29 and was produced entirely at Lucasfilm Singapore, the heroine Marianne (voiced by Evan Rachel Wood) has her heart broken after discovering that her handsome fiance, Roland (Sam Palladio), has been cheating on her.

The feisty fairy princess swears off love for good - until she meets the grotesque Bog King (Alan Cumming).

Lucas said he never thought he would fall in love again after his divorce from film editor Marcia Lou Griffin in 1983 after 14 years of marriage.

He adopted his eldest daughter Amanda, now 33, with Griffin, and subsequently two more children as a single father - daughter Katie, 26, and son Jett, 21.

"Obviously I wanted to get married again but I couldn't find anybody.

"Basically I'd given up (on love)... and then I met somebody who's very different from me - looks, generation.

"She's in the financial business. We're even from different cities - she's from Chicago and I'm from Los Angeles."

Lucas married Mellody Hobson, 45, chairman of DreamWorks Animation and president of Chicago-based Ariel Investments, in June 2013 at his Skywalker Ranch in California.

They have an 18-month-old daughter Everest using a surrogate.

He gushed: "At first, we didn't see why would we have anything in common, but as we got to know each other, we realised we have everything in common. We're soulmates."

Lucas, who said he was about 60 when he met Hobson, joked how their relationship is "a miracle".

"I just never thought I would (fall in love again), but I did.

"No pixie dust was involved."

HE FANCIES HIMSELF A LOVE COACH

Hey kids, forget infatuation. It will only get your heart broken, cautioned Lucas.

Strange Magic is targeted at 12-year-old girls.

"I did this movie primarily for my daughters," said Lucas, who said the story came about when he was reading The Wizard Of Oz to them when they were younger.

All adolescents, said Lucas, should learn the difference between infatuation and true love.

He said: "Infatuation is like a love potion, a disease.

It'll make you go crazy for a period of time and then you wake up and you go, 'Who's this? What am doing with this person?'

"Or when they leave you and you get the heartaches after that.

"We should focus on what's behind that (sort of love) - the story and not the cover of the book. Each generation needs to be told this story."

HE DOES NOT BELIEVE IN MOVIE STARS

He is all for actors' abilities, not their celebrity status.

"I don't believe in movie stars and have never put one in my movies, except for Sean Connery for Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade," said the Oscar-nominated director who served as producer of the 1989 hit movie.

"I'll never hire a movie star to promote a movie, and I don't know why you need movie stars unless they are great actors."

HE IS NOT ALLERGIC TO STAR WARS REFERENCES

Lucas, who relinquished control of Star Wars when he sold the rights to Disney back in 2012, has not spoken much about Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, which is now under director JJ Abrams.

At the press event, journalists were reminded not to ask any questions related to Star Wars, yet the man himself dropped references to the franchise that made him.

For instance, he said how Strange Magic was one for the girls, just like how he created Star Wars as a mythological adventure for 12-year-old boys, although "it ended up appealing to everyone".

Lucas also said he is not concerned about critical reaction to Strange Magic, as his worst-reviewed movie was the first Star Wars flick back in 1977.


This article was first published on Jan 23, 2015.
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