George Lucas on 'Star Wars,' Indiana Jones

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Was there anything in Francis Ford Coppola's experience on Youth Without Youth [which received poor reviews and made just $244,397 in a very limited domestic release] that made you think about your plans to do your own movies?
GEORGE LUCAS: No, I mean, we both had our plans. He's actually executing his now — and thumbing his nose at me. Because he's always been saying, ''When are you going to do those movies? When are you going to do those movies?'' [Chuckles] He's been saying that ever since I started working for him, back 40 years ago. And I've said, ''I will, I will.'' I think part of it is he's just doing it to shame me, saying [affects snarky tone] ''I'm doing it, what are you doing? You're still making all those.''

Have you talked about it with each other?
Yeah, we talk about it. And I said, ''I have fun doing this, and I'm going to do it for a while, and then I'm going to go off and do these weird things.'' Because when you're doing personal films, they disappear real fast — I don't care who you are. There's a world of personal films and then there's a world of popular films, and occasionally one will cross over, but 99 percent of the time it's not going to do that. And you just have to accept the fact that you're going into a different kind of moviemaking and [will] probably lose all of the money that you put into it. A few people, esoteric fans, will enjoy it, [but] that'll be it. Especially if you've been successful, you're suddenly faced with: ''Oh, well, he can't do it anymore, he's a has-been.'' All that kind of stuff. What was interesting about watching Francis [was that he] did the closest thing to what I'm going to do, and I can see what the response is. I mean, I liked his film, but people don't rush out and say, ''Oh my God, he's made a new movie and it's so wonderful!'' They're just not going to do it. They aren't going to do it. No matter what you do.

How are you feeling about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? Feeling good?
Oh, yeah, we had a great time making it.

Are you nervous about it in any way?
No, no, it's a great film. Will it beat [The Dark Knight]? I don't know. But we'll certainly give Batman a run for their money.

Are you going to do another Indiana Jones movie after this one?
That I don't know. We do these one at a time and we do them purely for the fun of it, which means that if we've got too many other things going on — Steve [Spielberg]'s got a couple more movies, he's got Chicago Seven, he's got all this stuff backed up for years — who knows? At least I'm at a point now where I can just enjoy myself and be creative and not have to worry about people getting crazy or trying to make decisions around me or anything. And I'm to a point now where if it isn't successful, it's not the end of the world. It's always a disappointment when it doesn't turn out, but sometimes you know it's not going to turn out. I've [also]] seen other people's movies that I had really high hopes for — I said, ''Oh, this is going to be great'' — and I'd see it and it is great, but it falls flat and nobody goes to see it. You know, I loved Across the Universe, it's a brilliant film. I wish I had made it — I don't think I'm talented enough to do that. But at the same time, it just [motions like it blew away] pffffff. It's too bad. That's the saddest part right there: Something that you think is really good and should work and people should enjoy it, and they don't.

But you're confident that Indiana Jones will work?
Yeah, well, this one, we know that for the fans it won't be the movie that they have been making in their minds for the last 19 years, so they all get bent out of shape. A lot of the critics forget that they didn't like the first three, and so they get off on this one, too — or it's not the Second Coming. And, yeah, we didn't make it bigger and better, we made it exactly the same. So if you loved the other ones, you'll love this one. But if you expect to have F-14s flying under freeways — that isn't there. It's just another period adventure movie with this wacky archaeologist. It's funny. I think it's funnier than the other ones, and it's exciting. So it's got all the stuff that all the other ones have. And Harrison's great in it.

Originally posted Mar 17, 2008