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William Friedkin Says He Passed On Producing 'Star Wars,' Warns Fans Not To Buy 'Sorcerer' DVD

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist April 23, 2014 at 10:22AM

"Star Wars" lore goes that when George Lucas was putting his film together, no one could have guessed just how big it would become. Indeed, the space fantasy turned into a pop culture phenomenon, that even decades on, has rarely been matched. When Disney paid $4 billion just for the rights to the franchise, it spoke to the ongoing appeal and longevity of Lucas' creation, which makes it all the sobering to realize that Lucas initially had trouble finding a home for the project. And even his filmmaking friends Francis Ford Coppola and William Friedkin turned him down.
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Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope Mark Hamill

"Star Wars" lore goes that when George Lucas was putting his film together, no one could have guessed just how big it would become. Indeed, the space fantasy turned into a pop culture phenomenon, that even decades on, has rarely been matched. When Disney paid $4 billion just for the rights to the franchise, it spoke to the ongoing appeal and longevity of Lucas' creation, which makes it all the sobering to realize that Lucas initially had trouble finding a home for the project. And even his filmmaking friends Francis Ford Coppola and William Friedkin turned him down.

Speaking with Vanity Fair, Friedkin reveals that he was approached by Lucas about "Star Wars," and wound up passing on it. "None of us could see the tsunami of 'Star Wars.' It happened rather quickly. You know, virtually every studio passed on 'Star Wars.' I had a company with Coppola and [Peter] Bogdanovich then called The Directors Company, it was financed by Paramount and we had the right to green-light any films we wanted, outside of our own, at a certain budget," the director explained. "Francis brought us the script of 'Star Wars' and Peter and I looked at it and said, 'What the hell is this? Who’s going to direct this?' And he said, 'George.' And I said, 'I don’t think so.' I couldn’t believe George could pull it off, and I was wrong."

It might be easy to assume that Friedkin was being shortsighted, but his opinion was shared by many at the time. However, it must have stung that the same year "Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope" arrived, "Sorcerer" landed in theaters and bombed. But time has been very kind to the film, and this week it arrived on Blu-ray freshly restored. But it would seem that WB have fucked up. The studio has also put out a new DVD version of "Sorcerer" at the same time, albeit one not using the latest master. And Friedkin is telling people not to buy the disc, hitting Amazon to declare: "This is William Friedkin. I did not authorize ANY dvd's. Only the blu ray. The DVD is just awful. Avoid." And he's also taken his concerns to Twitter as well:

So fair warning, but perhaps now's the time to buy a Blu-ray player if you don't already have one.

This article is related to: William Friedkin, Star Wars, Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, Sorcerer


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