When thinking of Star Wars, we invariably think of a single name: George Lucas. And while Lucas is a natural-born world builder, many will tell you the influence that gave the franchise its pace and tone of romantic, swashbuckling fun was co-editor, and Lucas’ then-wife, Marcia Lucas. She did so along with editors Richard Chew and Paul Hirsch, and with the release of Hirsch’s autobiography A Long Time Ago in a Cutting Room Far, Far Away, we’re finally getting another perspective on Star Wars’ production.
The terrible time principal photography in England is well known. “He was unhappy with his UK editor [John Jympson], a solid and experienced pro,” Hirsch said. “He never got the spirit of the piece and apparently made his scorn for the project known. George was very unhappy with the first cut and decided to replace him at the end of principal photography.”
Lucas knew and liked Hirsch’s work for friend Brian De Palma (Phantom of the Paradise), so when he got back to the U.S. to work on post-production with his nascent effects house Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), he asked Hirsch to join Marcia Lucas and Chew when he was done working on De Palma’s current project, an adaptation of Stephen King’s smash debut novel Carrie.
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