English-born Richard Marquand's directorial career, which included helming a blockbuster space adventure and a hit courtroom thriller, was sadly cut short when the filmmaker died at the relatively you...
Richard Marquand's son has backed a fan campaign to have a new movie sound stage in the film-maker's hometown named in his honour. The Welsh director, best known for helming 1983 sci-fi classic Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi, passed away in 1987, and fans want to honour his memory by having a wing of the new Pinewood Studios in Cardiff, Wales named after him.
A petition has been set up on Change.org, and the drive has now won the backing of Marquand's director son James.
He tells Walesonline.co.uk, "What makes it particularly appropriate, other than the fact that dad was a Llanishen (Welsh) boy through and through, is the fact that part of Return of the Jedi was shot at Pinewood in Buckinghamshire. So, to have a place as prestigious as that in the world of movie-making set up shop right on his doorstep will be fabulous."
The Welsh branch of the fabled Pinewood studios in Buckinghamshire, England is due to open in Cardiff later this year (14).
Marquand died aged 49 after suffering a stroke.
The son of British director Richard Marquand is hoping to revive one of his father's lost film projects. Marquand was working on a quirky Western set in Wales in the 1970s, but the movie was abandoned after he landed the coveted job of directing Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.
His son, James Marquand, has now revealed he plans to revive the film, described as a Welsh version of movie classic True Grit.
He tells Walesonline.co.uk, "Dad was having his arm twisted by the Hollywood studios to relocate the story across the Atlantic in order to obtain financing. But keeping it Welsh at heart was too important to him and he turned the offer down. Not long after that, in 1982, George Lucas came along and offered him the opportunity to direct the third film in his Star Wars trilogy, after which dad's career really took off and he never got the chance to return to his own pet project... It's a great yarn (story) and it would be a real thrill if I could carry it on where he left off."
Marquand wants to film the movie with a star-studded cast, and he is hoping to attract Sir Anthony Hopkins and Christian Bale, who were both born in Wales, to the production.
He adds, "Sir Anthony Hopkins would be perfect for the older of the two lead roles... Christian Bale would be the other Welshman at the top of my list - he's got the perfect look for that sort of world."
The elder Marquand died aged 49 in 1987 after suffering a stroke.
Returned to UK, began working for BBC as documentary director
Joined Royal Air Force, served in Far East
Worked in Hong Kong as TV host and commercial director
Began working in USA in mid-1970s
English-born Richard Marquand's directorial career, which included helming a blockbuster space adventure and a hit courtroom thriller, was sadly cut short when the filmmaker died at the relatively young age of 49. After working for a period in docudramas for the BBC, he helmed his first major theatrical feature with the occult shocker "The Legacy" (1979). The World War II spy thriller "Eye of the Needle" (1981), while a modest success in theaters, was more importantly the film that attracted the attention of George Lucas, ultimately leading to Marquand's being hired to direct the culminating episode of the "Star Wars" saga, "Return of the Jedi" (1983). Although he hit a lull with the largely forgotten steamy romance "Until September" (1984), Marquand bounced back with the suspenseful courtroom mystery "Jagged Edge" (1985), paving the way for the subgenre that would soon become ubiquitous in film and on television. He made one more cinematic misstep with the rock-themed romantic drama "Hearts of Fire" (1987), which would unfortunately be his last project before his untimely death. In a promising career cut far too short, Marquand nonetheless left behind a number of enduring films which fans of all ages would enjoy over the decades to come.
Born on April, 17, 1938 in Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom, Marquand was the son of Rachel and Hilary Marquand, a member of the British Parliament. He attended the Emanuel School, the Université d'Aix-Marseille in France, and later, King's College in Cambridge, where he studied modern languages. Marquand began his career as a television newscaster in Hong Kong, followed by a stint back home in the documentaries department at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Early projects included the prestigious miniseries "The Search for the Nile" (BBC, 1971), a story of two 19th-Century adventurers' quest to find the source of the great river. Marquand moved into feature film directing, making his debut with the musical biopic "The Birth of the Beatles" (1979), a dramatization of the Fab Four's formative years in Liverpool. That same year saw the wider release of the his sophomore effort "The Legacy" (1979), a bloody, gothic shocker, starring Katharine Ross and Sam Elliott as a couple lured to an English manor as part of a long-lost relative's malevolent pact with the Devil.
Marquand's third feature, "Eye of the Needle" (1981), a WWII thriller based on the novel by Ken Follett, starred Donald Sutherland as Henry Faber, a ruthless German spy embedded on the coast of England. Tautly paced and emotionally affecting, the story of Faber's love for a local housewife (Kate Nelligan) that outweighed his ruthless sense of duty, was deftly handled by the fledgling director. So much so, that it prompted "Star Wars" creator George Lucas to offer directorial duties on the third installment of his epic space opera to Marquand. His relationship with Lucas during the filming of "Return of the Jedi" (1983) was said to have been respectful and collaborative, although at times tense, due to Lucas' near constant presence on the set. Whatever the case may have been, the end result, which capped off the initial trilogy with the triumphant defeat of the evil Empire by the Rebel Forces, was both a critical and box office success, instantly placing Marquand in the upper-echelon of working directors at the time. Perhaps to avoid being pigeon-holed as a genre director, he quickly followed "Jedi" with the romance "Until September" (1984). The story of an American tourist (Karen Allen) who embarks on a torrid affair with a married Parisian (Thierry Lhermitte), the film was barely seen in the States before fading into obscurity.
Marquand bounced back with a vengeance, however, with his next directorial effort, the psycho-sexual thriller "Jagged Edge" (1985). Written with manipulative glee by infamous scribe Joe Eszterhas, the film followed the trial of Jack Forrester (Jeff Bridges), a wealthy newspaperman accused of brutally murdering his wife. Defending him is Teddy Barnes (Glenn Close), an attorney with a spotted past who begins falling in love with her client, even as she harbors doubts about his perceived innocence. Exceptionally well-directed, the movie went on to substantial box office success and garnered an Oscar nomination for supporting actor Robert Loggia. Far less satisfactory was Marquand's follow-up, the rock-n-roll romantic drama "Hearts of Fire" (1987), starring Bob Dylan as a fading rock star and Rupert Everett as his rival in both love and music. Tragically, the film - a dismal failure by most accounts, it was only released on video in the U.S. years later - would be Marquand's final work, as he died from a stroke shortly after shooting was completed. He was 49 years old.