Austinite Ernie Cline, screenwriter of the long-delayed Star Wars comedy Fanboys, gets unusually candid (but not disrespectful) about the long hard journey it took to get the film into theaters this weekend. It took over 10 years, in fact. Three of which, the film was just sitting on the shelf. He opens up to Marc Savlov for The Austin Chronicle:
Austin Chronicle: So ultimately, thanks to the fans and fan-related test screenings, the Weinsteins got the message that the film was better off the way you had written it and Kyle had directed it, right?
Ernie Cline: Exactly, yeah. Once word got out – and it got out really, really fast – that the Weinsteins were trying to recut the movie, the Star Wars fans started to turn on them in a way that nobody expected. It got to the point where the fans, from all over the world, paralyzed the offices of the Weinstein Company by sending literally thousands of e-mails a day.
Austin Chronicle: How do you feel about the Fanboys that's being released tomorrow? Is it anything like what you first imagined it would be? Are you happy with it?
Ernie Cline: It turned out okay, but it was so ugly there for a while. For a little, low-budget Star Wars fan movie to get all this press, I'm kind of worried that people have been waiting for so long – 10 years – for this movie to come out that it's kind of like The Phantom Menace in a way. It's never going to live up to the hype of being this big Judd Apatow, $30 million comedy, which is how they're marketing it. It's not what I pictured, in both good and bad ways. It's a little more crude in parts, thanks to Harvey, and it's not as sweet or emotional as I had originally hoped it would be. It's kind of uneven because of all the hired hands that were brought in. But the whole thing was a learning experience for me.