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SCI-FI GEEK: On the Trail of 'SW2' Trailer

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Mar 19, 2001 | 11:50am EST

The next "Star Wars" movie is more than a year away, but hey, doesn't that new trailer look excellent? The filming of "Episode II" just began a few weeks ago in Australia, but already the folks at Lucasfilm have produced some impressive visuals, like a mob of warriors running with ignited lightsabers, breathtaking futuristic cityscapes and romantic interludes between the young Darth Vader and Queen Amidala.

But wait, something's not quite right here. Somebody's been pulling the wool over our eyes, wethinks.

It's a fake!

And it's also one of the most impressive feats of flattery ever concocted by a "Star Wars" fan. The "Episode II" trailer that's been circulating via the Internet the past few weeks looks like the real deal.

It looks so real, in fact, that the person who made it has chosen to remain unidentified, for fear of a copyright-infringement lawsuit from Lucasfilm, or from the makers of all the other movies that he borrowed scenes from.

Be careful with that! You'll lose an eye! But, thanks to the wonders of e-mail, Hollywood.com succeeded in tracking down the anonymous director who, by chance, prefers to go by the name Anonymous Director. S/he agreed to answer a few questions so long as we agreed to protect his/her identity (an easy thing to do, since we don't know who this person really is).

If you don't know what we're talking about, go on over to TheForce.net (where more than 1 million people have reportedly downloaded it) and watch the trailer in question. Then come back and read the following interview:

Hollywood.com: Why did you do it?

Anonymous Director: I made this work originally for my own peace of mind. I am an aspiring film editor on the Avid Film Composer System, and I needed a practice project to help refine my skills. I decided to follow my heart and work on something fun and challenging. That was the inspiration for the piece, and the fact that I was a little let down over "Episode 1." I wanted something to help restore my faith in the "Star Wars" movie saga. I initially just shared the work with friends and other "Star Wars" fans I knew. When they loved it, they suggested I put it on the Internet for all the other "Star Wars" fans in the world.

Hollywood.com: Some of the actors, like Gabriel Byrne, weren't yet confirmed in the "Episode II" cast when the trailer first appeared. How did you guess who would be in the movie and who wouldn't?

Anonymous Director: The project started in September of last year, with Leonardo DiCaprio as my choice for Anakin. I had a somewhat finished version of that posted on the Internet last October. About 2,000 people I believe viewed that one. When the new Anakin actor was announced in May, I wanted to refine the work and make it better. So, for about two months, off and on, I worked really hard on finishing this current, final version.

"When do I get to meet Yoda?" Hollywood.com: Aren't you afraid of getting sued? There are film clips from "Dune," Braveheart," "Dark City," "Anywhere But Here," "Last of the Mohicans," "Stephen King's Tommyknockers" and other films, and Hayden Christiansen's TV series "Higher Ground," in addition to the "Star Wars" movies.

Anonymous Director: Lucasfilm has contacted the fan Web site where the trailer is hosted. They have assured me that as long as I am not selling the trailer, then everything is fine.

Hollywood.com: Of all the stuff you did in the trailer -- putting lightsabers in people's hands with CGI, adding suns or moons to a skyline, which is your favorite? And, what do you hope will happen as a result of all this?

Anonymous Director: I think it is pretty neat that I could give the world its first shot of young Anakin Skywalker igniting his lightsaber. That shot is very special! I hope it brings some new opportunities my way, in editing land or "Star Wars" land. I'm so tickled that so many people have enjoyed viewing the work. Again, this project was just for fun. And it turned out to be something I could share with other fans all over the world. The more people who see it, the better.

SCI-FI GEEK is Hollywood.com's weekly report on interesting genre movie news and tidbits.

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