Writer/director Chris Weitz has proven that he can handle fantasy, with films like The Twilight Saga: New Moon and The Golden Compass, he’s proven that he can handle spectacle, with his work on the script for Cinderella, and he’s proven that he can handle small human stories, like A Better Life and About a Boy. All of that considered, it will be very interesting to see what he brings to the script for Gareth Edwards’ Untitled Star Wars Project.
At the press day for Disney’s live-action version of the classic fairy tale Cinderella, in theaters March 13th, Collider sat down with screenwriter Chris Weitz to talk about his work on that film (and we will share the full interview soon), so of course, we also asked him about being brought on to rewrite the script by Gary Whitta for the first stand-alone movie in the Star Wars franchise. While he can’t talk specifics because it’s all very top secret, Weitz did say that working on the film is “a total dream job” because the reason he makes movies now has a lot to do with having seen Star Wars when he was seven years old. He also said that it’s still early days in the process, but that everybody involved “feels such a sense of duty and responsibility to the franchise” that they’re all on the same page with the project. Oh, and Star Wars: Episode IV is his favorite of the films.
Collider: I know that you can’t talk specifics because it’s all very top secret, but what’s it like to be a part of Star Wars and to have a hand in creating a new Star Wars film? Could you ever have imagined, when you set out on this career, that you would be able to say that you had a hand in bringing a Star Wars film to life?
CHRIS WEITZ: I couldn’t have imagined it. It’s a total dream job. The reason I make movies now has a lot to do with having seen Star Wars when I was seven years old. That’s the formative movie-going experience of my life. But, I don’t think I’m unique in that. Everybody who’s working on the movie was affected, in that way. I think it’s so incredibly special to be able to try to recapitulate that feeling I had when I was sitting in that theater, as a 7-year-old. It’s an extraordinary job. I’m incredibly lucky.
Is it totally mind-blowing to add that to your resume?
WEITZ: Yeah. I wouldn’t have [thought that would happen]. If you would have asked me, “What are the top 5 things you might ever want to do in your career?,” this would be one of them, for sure.
With Cinderella, the studio stayed out of it and let you do what you wanted with the script. Are they much more involved with Star Wars? Do they tell you what you can and can’t do, or do you feel that same sense of freedom?
WEITZ: It’s early days yet, I’d say. But, I think that everybody involved feels such a sense of duty and responsibility to the franchise and to their own childhood memories that everybody is heading in the same direction.
What’s your favorite Star Wars film?
While at the Cinderella junket, Weitz also spoke to /Film about how his script relates to the one previously penned by Gary Whitta.
Um…I mean it all eventually comes down to understanding the nature of what a given film is and making the characters people who you want to be as invested in as possible. I think in this case I’m not working from a whole cloth, right? So there’s a very strong structure from Gary’s work and that’s a huge advantage to me. But just like with Cinderella, it’s a director’s medium so it’s really about my making what Gareth needs to do his film.
He also talked about staying away from fan theories and speculation.
I try not to read it because I don’t know how it would help me do the job that I have to do, which is to make the very best version of this movie possible. I think it was good to know a bit of what fans are hoping for but then again, I’m a fan as well so I know what I’m hoping for and I try to sort of take that as my lead and not get my head too occupied with what’s on the Internet.
Additional reporting by Haleigh Foutch.