As many fans know, seeing a Star Wars film for the first time can dramatically change your life. In the case of director-screenwriter Patrick Read Johnson, the experience of viewing A New Hope as a young teenager triggered his imagination and quest to join the ranks of Industrial Light & Magic.
In his upcoming film 5/25/77, produced by Star Wars legendary producer Gary Kurtz, Johnson recaptures his love for Star Wars and the magic of filmmaking in general. Starring John Francis Daley (“Freaks and Geeks”), Austin Pendleton (The Notorious Bettie Page), Colleen Camp (Running with Scissors) and Neil Flynn (“Scrubs”), 5/25/77 shows a young Pat Johnson as he struggles to convince his friends and family how important his budding special effects career actually is. If you’ve ever been that misunderstood kid who takes over the bathroom to film with makeshift models, painted backdrops and a Super-8 camera for hours on end, then you’ll understand all too well the hero of this film.
Director Patrick Read Johnson and Producer Gary Kurtz introduced had a few things to say before they debuted the rough cut of the film to fans attending.
“We had a test screening for the film in San Francisco for a formal audience, and in addition to that we had a couple of private screenings of unfinished work and that’s like this screening, so this is the story of someone who did see Star Wars quite a few months before 5-25-77,” Kurtz says. “On an aside, on that day 5-22-77, I was in the East Coast in Boston, New York and Washington D.C. doing all the morning television talk shows to help promote the film. And by the end of the day, I did a radio call in show in Washington D.C. and some college kid called in and said what a great movie Star Wars was and I asked him if he saw the first screening that morning, and he said, ‘No I’ve seen it six times already today. So I had some idea that maybe just maybe it was going to be a hit.”
“We decided awhile ago since we were in the final stages of finishing the film that we should show the whole darn thing,” Johnson says. “Let’s show them the film the way I first saw Star Wars. The way I saw Star Wars was before it was complete and the only sounds R2-D2 made were Servo sounds, and none of the blue screens were composited and you could see the grips outside the Millennium Falcon and only a couple of Ben Burtt sound effects they were trying out, no music, 10 matte paintings — so roughly like our film is. But we thought if anyone is going to get it, you guys will. We wanted to show it to you before the final coat of paint goes on it.”
Stay tuned to the Star Wars Celebration blog to learn more about what was said at the upcoming panel with Johnson and Kurtz. Those fans at CIV can attend the panel at 6pm at Theater 408 AB.
For more information about 5/25/77, click on the official site here.