A quick blurb courtesy of the Toronto Sun hit the internet like fire to gasoline yesterday at 9:36am. Seth Rogen (the actor, Green Hornet is his current film in theaters) was reportedly left “stunned” from an encounter with George Lucas (no descriptor necessary) in which Lucas told Rogen during a face-to-face conversation, that the world was coming to an end in 2012, a’la the Mayan calendar nonsense. Steven Spielberg was reportedly in the room with Rogen and Lucas at the time.
Yesterday at 10:12am, Wired.com reported that Lucasfilm, via email, said Lucas’ comments were made in jest.
Well, that didn’t take long.
Yet here we are, a full 24+ hours since the story broke, and the internet is still abuzz over this. A 24 hour-old news report on the internet today is the equivalent of watching a 10-day old news report on TV in 1977. So what’s the big deal?
The answer is actually pretty simple. The names ‘George Lucas’ and ‘Star Wars’ are iconic and culturally ingrained. For myself, Lucas’ rise to iconic stature has never ceased to amaze me. As a big-time fan of the Star Wars genre, I can honestly say that Lucas’ directing and writing skills stink. His greatest accomplishments are the technical advances that have revolutionized the film-making and computer gaming industries, but even more so, I have been amazed with his skills as a brilliant marketer. He is a very forward-thinking man, in terms of technology and the development of his business interests (Luscafilms, Lucasarts, THX, etc.) Travel anywhere in the world, and people know the name George Lucas. His name and the Star Wars franchise are fused at the hip, and together they transcend cultures, economies, politics, and entertainment.
As such, when someone like Lucas speaks of something pseudoscientific, a fawning mass of people (or in this case, one Hollywood actor) are likely to take their words to heart. We don’t know the tenor or tone of the conversation between the three people in the room at the time. Admittedly, Rogen is an awe-struck fan of Lucas, so I have a hard time blaming Rogen for taking Lucas seriously.
Rogen is a comedy actor, so perhaps Lucas was trying to connect with Rogen by being humorous himself. But what an odd way of going about it – talking about the end of the world a’la 2012 and coming off as so serious about it that this professional actor can’t tell the difference between Lucas being serious or Lucas trying to be funny.
And what is with Spielberg in the room? Spielberg is a famous believer in the paranormal. He is a famous friend of Lucas. I can’t imagine that was the first time that Spielberg heard George say this stuff. In fact, Rogen says Spielberg rolled his eyes at times during the conversation. Who knows exactly why and in what context, but when Spielberg is involved in paranormal discussions, you know that any warranted skepticism is absent from his point of view.
Also – shame on Lucas for not sensing that Rogen was left believing him. Or if Lucas did sense it, then shame on him for not letting Rogen off the hook at the end by saying to him “just kidding”, and share in a laugh together. But the history of Lucas and his inability to effectively communicate with actors is well documented in almost every Lucas-directed movie.
Rogen has yet to respond to Lucas’ claim that he was joking the whole time. He will probably be advised by his agents to just let it go.
Wow, that is one dry sense of humor George Lucas has if one of the leading actors in Hollywood can’t tell if he’s being serious or not. Or maybe, just maybe, Rogen’s interpretation of the events were correct, and Lucas does really believe it, and Lucas had to immediately shift into PR mode for the sake of his interests.
Could such a forward-thinking genius such as Lucas really believe a 2012 end of the world? You decide.