Rian Johnson discusses the films that have influenced The Last Jedi
With the title of Episode VIII finally revealed, director Rian Johnson has taken some time to discuss the films that have influenced The Last Jedi.
Believe it or not, we're just 11 months out from the release of The Last Jedi. Principal photography for the film wrapped last July, Johnson is already deep into post-production, and the film will be here before you know it.
At last year's Star Wars Celebration, Johnson revealed the six films that he made the cast and crew watch in preparation for making The Last Jedi. (You can read my analysis of those films — and what they might mean for The Last Jedi — here.)
Now, in an interview with Empire, he's opened up a little more about how two of those films — Twelve O'Clock High and Three Outlaw Samurai — will play into The Last Jedi, and he's added a new one to the mix.
"Twelve O'Clock High was a big touchstone, for the feel and look of the aerial combat as well as the dynamic between the pilots," Johnson said.
"Three Outlaw Samurai for the feel of the sword-fighting, and the general sense of pulpy fun.
"And To Catch A Thief was a great film to rewatch, for the romantic scale and grandeur."
It's a brief, but exciting, update — in my earlier piece on Johnson's film camp, I wrote about how the aerial combat in Twelve O'Clock High and swordplay in Three Outlaw Samurai could influence The Last Jedi, and it looks like those are the aspects of those films that appealed to Johnson.
To Catch A Thief is an interesting addition to Johnson's list of influences — Alfred Hitchcock's film, about a retired cat burgler (Cary Grant) who has to catch a new burgler (Grace Kelly) in order to save his reputation, makes excellent use of its French Riviera setting as Grant and Kelly play their cat-and-cat game.
The Last Jedi was partially filmed in the stunning city of Dubrovnik in Croatia, so perhaps it will serve as a backdrop for a romance to develop between (at least) two of our leads.
Finally, Johnson told Empire that he was surprised by the "intimacy of the process", which is good news for those hoping for Johnson — who has traditionally made much smaller films than Star Wars — to put his auteurist stamp on the film.
"It's huge, sure, and it's filled with pressures great and small," he said.
"But at the end of the day, it boils down to the same things as the smaller films we've made: telling a story we care about with a camera and some actors. And a Wookie."