Star Wars Creator George Lucas: Soviet Directors Had More Artistic Freedom Than I Had

According to filmmaker George Lucas, Russian directors at the height of the Cold War had more artistic freedom than he enjoyed when he was making movies in Hollywood.

"I know a lot of Russian filmmakers and they have a lot more freedom than I have. All they have to do is be careful about criticizing the government. Otherwise, they can do anything they want" while he must "adhere to a very narrow line of commercialism," Lucas told PBS's Charlie Rose on the Christmas night edition of his eponymous interview program.

Perhaps this hasn't gotten a lot of attention in the mainstream media because it aired on Christmas and because Lucas's "white slaver" remark garnered more controversy. And, let's face it, Lucas's comment probably makes a lot of sense to limousine liberals in the media who grouse about the ills of capitalism.

Here's the video and transcript of the relevant comments  (h/t Wall Street Journal's Notable & Quotable feature):

PBS's Charlie Rose, December 25:

GEORGE LUCAS: One of the reasons I retired is so I could make movies that aren't popular. Because in the world we live in, in the system we've created for ourselves in terms of, it's a big industry, you cannot lose money. So, the point is that you have to, you're forced to make a particular kind of movie.

And I used to say this all the time, with people, you know, back when Russia was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and they’d say, "Oh, but aren’t you so glad that you’re in America?" And I’d say, well, I know a lot of Russian filmmakers and they have a lot more freedom than I have. All they have to do is be careful about criticizing the government. Otherwise, they can do anything they want.

CHARLIE ROSE: And so, what do you have to do?

LUCAS: You have to adhere to a very narrow line of commercialism...

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.