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Uncommon 1999 JW Interview

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I just found (if it isn't fake) the probably most open and interesting of all JW's Starwars interviews. There he was extremely open in answering all sort of questions which is very uncommon for JW and makes me wonder if that's truly him speaking there :)

I found the interview on the Italian JW page http://jwmusic.jw-music.net/jw-interview-starfix99.htm and put it through google translator. Enjoy...

Which appeared in the magazine Starfix in November 1999

John Williams has released only a few statements before the U.S. of "Episode I - The Phantom Menace", which were then reported by the international press in the months ahead. We at Starfix we are interested in interviewing the composer out of that kind of limitations. When the album of the soundtrack appeared, we noticed some "discrepancies" between the presentation of music on the disc, and its presence in films, as well as the conflicting views of where we wanted to ask for clarification to the composer. For the first time for Episode I, John Williams reflects freely, with humility and wisdom, on his work and his artistic relationship with George Lucas. Through exhaustive explanations and justifications, he speaks of his music, its choices and its limitations, in a galaxy far, far away music.

Q: What was involved in the development of Star Wars?

JW: After working it Jaws, Steven Spielberg and I became great friends. At that time I did not know George Lucas and knew nothing at the time of a project called "The Star Wars." But before you start working on CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, Steven was involved in the project at some stage, as a consultant and friend of Lucas. As the scenes were filmed and that the assembly phase and post-production progressed, Steven saw the movie come to light. At a business meeting between George and Steve, at one point George began to talk about what kind of music you would use in the film. He thought to make a collage of excerpts from classical pieces and film music from the Golden Age Hollywood. He cited some names Steven: Holst, Wagner and Prokofiev for the first category, and Korngold for second. As I always told Steven, he replied: "But George, there is a composer can do all this: John Williams." So Steven arranged a meeting between myself, George and Marcia, the former wife of Lucas. For the first time I heard about STAR WARS. George gave me a detailed description of every scene and talked for several hours even the composers I mentioned. Three weeks later, Steven Spielberg invited me into his office and told me that George Lucas had decided to sign them as a composer for the film.

Q: So in your opinion, who motivated this decision in Lucas?

JW: Steven! (Laughs)

Q. How did your first day working for STAR WARS?

JW: I met George Lucas yet, and he showed me an almost final version of the film. Many scenes were still incomplete, especially those requiring special effects, but in my mind I could complete pictures. This first installation took about 140 minutes, so it was already very close to the final version. Then it took two days to see and review the film, to soak his magic and essence. Then again reincontrai Lucas. In an afternoon dissected the entire movie, choose where the music would have been necessary, and discussing the style of the subjects and their importance within the film. George kept saying, "I want a musical theme for each element, which is associated with situations or characters to create complete musical setting." E 'in this direction that I composed the score for Star Wars, including the two symphonic suites drawn from it. I had to sit down and begin to compose trying to reinvent and reimagine the musical universe of Prokofiev, Korngold ... but also Stravinsky, Holst, Walton, Wagner, Elgar ... I had to rethink my entire music education culture in terms of "star wars" and that's how I started working on the soundtrack.

Q: You mentioned several times the name of Korngold. In this regard, we ask you: is there a real link between the opening theme of Star Wars and the main theme of KINGS ROW written by Korngold?

JW: Bond? Mm, rather than to define similarity link. Personally, I feel very connected to the music of Korngold. Musically speaking, however, the term similarity is more appropriate. Not wishing to deny the similarities that exist between all the musical themes of SW and "education" that allowed me to write, but a clarification seems necessary. Without this music education, I could never write Star Wars in the same way that, without Beethoven, Wagner could never be Wagner and without Bach, Mozart or Brahms, no one would ever become a great composer. All this forms a chain in which, sometimes, we can represent a bond. I feel this kinship with Korngold, Hindemith, Elgar prorprio because, over education, they are composers who represent an artistic ideal that is very close to me. When George Lucas asked me to write a theme for Luke that was both heroic and idealistic in its essence, and it was presented in the form of fanfare, the associai in my mind to Korngold's heroism, idealism to Holst and fanfares to Elgar. All this of course implies an inevitable resemblance KINGS ROW and certainly with a lot of other compositions, but from a thematic point of view, harmonic and melodic all the notes are "meal of my bag."

Q: What are your best memories of working of all three movies?

JW: For the first film, no doubt recording sessions in London. I remember I saw George Lucas gradually losing his composure as he approached the release date of the film. We worked together a lot during post-production and as the weeks went by I saw him lose weight and become more uncertain the fate of the film. When I finished writing the score, the film was almost finished. At that time, reviewing the movie other times, I bought confidence in myself and in my work and beginning to understand what impact we intended to create, I asked the music director George with a large symphony orchestra. He was on the brink of the precipice, and he confessed: "John, we have no more money. All that remains to be invested in special effects." He felt defeated, I think, because he knew that the type of music I wanted to absolutely require very large orchestra. I replied: "My dear friend Andre Previn is the artistic director of the London Symphony Orchestra.'m Sure we groped to give something with him." I called Lionel Newman (then director of the music department at Fox, NDT), Alan Ladd Jr and I talked with Steven Spielberg, of course. Then I called Andre Previn. It was a very long conversation where I explained in detail what was on film. I remember Andre said: "What does all this history of the Force, space battles, Darth Vader? Oh, sure you can come here." Andre organized everything and so I found myself on the podium to conduct the prestigious London Symphony Orchestra! So the best moment was the birth of my music performed by one of the greatest orchestras in the world. George Lucas was still working on special effects for the film, but was in London, in studies of Denham, to attend the sessions. As he listened, he was struck by the power of music and the power exercised in the film. After a grueling first day of practice, I remember that I began to run "The Throne Room. The LSO was superb. It was really a great time and when I turned, I saw George jump up and appaludire alone. She hugged me and I remember I saw a light in her eyes then I never revised. I will never forget that moment. Even today, years later, is a thing that touches me.

The Empire Strikes Back was a different experience, as were the means at our disposal. I think the composition of the "Imperial March" was the most intense moment. But it was also the composition of the theme associated with the romance between Han Solo and Princess Leia. In STAR WARS, as regards the music associated with Leia, George wanted something very sweet and romantic, something ... the Chaikovskij. And even if, in a sense, this approach seemed to go a bit against the character of the character, who throughout the film we see resitere combat and torture, George did not want to lose sight of the fact that basically it was a princess like Sleeping Beauty, although in a context of war rather unromantic. So wrote a melody very languid, feminine, almost a 'theme of love ". For the Empire, George asked me the same thing: "Get the theme Leia e. .. Chaikovskij." Not having written a theme for Han Solo, I had to rework the thematic approach I used for Princess Leia and married to the character of the character of Harrison Ford. And since we're talking about romance, I must mention also the theme of Yoda. This issue, compared the evolutionary arc of the themes of love between the first and second film is developed and settled in contrast to the theme for Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Force theme. So you can understand that the best moment of my experience in The Empire was the phase of actual writing, because I had to mix what I did for the first film and all new inspiration Irvin Kershner brought in the new movie .

Q: Consider then "The Empire Strikes Back" as the most complex from a musical point of view?

JW: The work was more complex than THE RETURN OF THE JEDI THE EMPIRE. Jedi had the disadvantage of being the final chapter of the trilogy and then allowed less freedom "than the Empire. Were already well-written four hours of music and though George had added new elements, the film could never be as innovative as the second episode. Musically speaking, there was a lot of work, both harmonically and from the orchestra, especially in regard to the "Imperial March" and all the work of thematic derivation from the previous films. The theme of the Emperor is an example. George did not think that all the mysticism of the character was translated in the music. So, again, my education "prokofieviana" was important, as that type of male voice choir was practically invented by this Russian composer, especially in his works. George was so delighted with the result that his approach to the final battle scenes of Luke and Vader changed in this direction. The theme of Jabba was built in this way through opposition chromatic orchestration between the tube and the rest of the instruments. I love that mass of flesh! (Laughs). But my favorite theme is the one for Luke and Leia, precisely because I had to differentiate much from the previous themes of love, trying to still maintain the same kind of atmosphere. The recording of this song was the best moment of The Return of the Jedi, just because I had the orchestra together reinterprets the spirit of the love theme of the second film. And this gives the idea of a cycle of three consecutive acts.

Q: Were there other inspirations like during the trilogy?

JW: Especially for the music for the Jawas in the first film. Do you think George initially fitted the sequences on "Bolero" by Ravel! Ah, the Jawas and their fluorescent eyes ... (Laughs). I imagined something more comical, like the duck march of "Peter and the Wolf" by Prokofiev, for example, or his gear caustic, that from "The Love of Three Oranges." I wrote a melody, but George pushed. Now I give you the scoop! (Laughs) I kept the melody, which became the "March of the Villains" Superman. Lucas was still right, as a kind of music would make the scene all too ridiculous. So I said: "I'll listen to marches composed by Igor Stravinsky as I think it is that the direction in which we go." I remember my words pale but accepted the idea. Indeed, the weight and thickness of many ritual dances written by Stravinsky well counterpoint to the comic situations of Jawas. And so I wrote the piece that you know, "The Little People Work", imitating the orchestration stravinskijana those marches. I am very fond of that song.

Q: How was the birth of the "Imperial March"?

JW: Much more spontaneous (laughs). The militaristic musical structure is very old. In film music, all the gears like they always had more or less the same trajectory harmonica and what differentiates them from each other is just the melody, which is often based on only a few notes. The "Imperial March" is constructed in two parts, in which the second describes the character of Darth Vader. This was my chance to break that kind of pre-established pattern I mentioned a moment ago, introducing the melody and counterpoint in the woods so the theme executed martial brass. In the song as we know, Imperial March reaches the goal that I set to achieve, for Darth Vader and the myth that he represents. In musical terms, is no more or less "bad" than it has been heard in the musical literature of recent centuries, but George Lucas has managed to transform and condense all the modern mythology to create a character, and finally a whole human being. In the first film did not have to develop so that the thematic material of the Empire, since neither the character nor the Tarkin Vader needed a similar theme.

Q: How would you describe his artistic relationship with George Lucas during the first trilogy?

JW: There were two main phases. The first was to Star Wars, where our meetings were much less structured, more free. In The Empire and especially in JEDI, became much more distant. We had our meetings, but then I had to be careful not to forget anything that I had said as early as minutes after it was no longer available to talk about music. Nevertheless, the most pleasing was that during those meetings, those phases of work, was present and concentrate 200%. I used to listen to some demos on preparing and discussing his emotional reaction, what he thought. Only in very few cases had to completely rewrite a theme or a melody. One advantage of working with him is that he is a director and then a creative mind. The other advantage is that the producer of his films and therefore knows better than anyone the importance of budgeting, the concept of time, money and trust. We must also say that, as Steven Spielberg, George checks his films from first to last moment. Without calling into question the work done by Irvin Kershner and Richard Marquand who were two brilliant directors, George Lucas' decision "practically everything. No great amount of money and no computer will ever write a fanfare opening. I know how he knows. Thus, if the equation is easy to understand "trust, money, talent, everything will go the right way with George. It always has been.

Q: There have been cases where the choices of Lucas took priority over his?

JW: Some 99% of the music in the trilogy is the result of "our" choices. We had many more compromises that fixes firing on our initial choices. But I never had to write something that went against my taste I've never had to change radically the themes that I suggested. Like I said before, everything is very professional with George, the errors are virtually prohibited from making a mistake and in fact if there are mistaken for two! (Laughs). The famous scene in the cellar of Mos Eisley, for example, was a choice of George. He shot almost the whole scene without saying anything, although it was obvious that we needed the music "scene". When he showed me I was shocked because I could not foresee a way to settle anything without "ruin" the score I had in mind to write. Initially, George asked me "We need your music in this scene?". Since the sequence were visibly present extraterrestrial musicians, I could not answer anything but yes. Then he looked at me and asked me, 'John, what kind of music do you prefer the classic apart? ". I replied "I like jazz, but this has nothing to do with ...". He interrupted me and said "Now we have one. Back in a week with jazz extraterrestrial. " At first I was taken aback but then taste. I wrote two pieces: the first, "Cantina Band" in a style to Benny Goodman and the second, "Cantina Band # 2", a style of Duke Ellington. I called together the best clarinet, percussion, trumpet Jazz ... and so we recorded the songs. George listened to them and then asked "How did you transcribe the jazz of Duke Ellington in an alien language? We have to store it. " Six years later, when we began to talk about the scenes in Jabba's palace, gave me confidence again when, at one point, he thought only of rock artists could compose something suitable for those scenes.

Q: What do you think the score written for the project SHADOWS OF THE EMPIRE?

JW: Hmm, let's say I wanted the project was implemented differently. I was faced with a product made and finished, and although the compositions are the property of Lucasfilm, as are mine, my music was somehow taken away and placed in the hands of a talented composer (Joel McNeely, ed) with whom I would have liked to have some discussions. Some passages I like, others are not, do not follow well as the "cycle" mentioned in the trilogy. If the music itself is still well written and enjoyable, I can also say that there was a lack of tact by Lucasfilm, which is much less pleasant. However it seems that fans have not appreciated.

Q: And that disagreement has been resolved in Episode I?

JW: George Lucas has done everything possible because things were going well. We were not working on products. We were back on Star Wars, the real one, I like George as a director and composer.

Q: So he was very eager to return to the saga of the Skywalker!

JW: Sure, I was excited and impatient. George Lucas was much less talkative on the episode from the first trilogy. We talked several times in some circumstances, but George always remained vague. We made many riunoni and then, in October 1998, when George was ready, the first thing he said was "get me a copy of The Phantom Menace and then talk about it." So I watched the movie and from that moment on, I began to really work on it thoroughly. As you probably know I almost never read the screenplay in question, since it is rarely what then is translated into visual language. Only few times before I wrote the themes to see some images of the film and thus also for Episode I've followed my natural process. Then George and I crossed the stage of decision on writing music, as well as we did 22 years ago. Dissected the film in the same way: "At this point I would like this kind of music, in that moment I wish that other type ..." and so on. Although George never uses precise terms, all such information is extremely valuable and, over time, I learned to decipher them easily. Most of the time, his claims are "Here we must have a very fast music, with lots of brass instruments ... Here, I need a great melody to 'Luke and Leia' ... in that point we would need a choir ... "and so on. But the icing on the cake are scenes of space combat. In these moments, the film runs at the speed of light, the scenes alternate quickly and thus becomes more difficult for him to express his musical ideas. In these cases, George gets up and begins to whisper strange verses as "Zuuuup, vraaaamm, gesturing with his hands. This is amazing how informative and I swear that at the end of our meetings musical style Episode I was perfectly established. We had many meetings like that, then I returned to my office at Amblin, where I saw the film for two consecutive days. In all, I saw The Phantom Menace about 50 times before starting to compose even a single note on the staff. I wrote more than 900 pages in total score. John Neufeld and his team have done their work simultaneously orchestration and transcription of the parties.

Q: You recorded the score in February 1999. As the sessions went?

JW: Incredibly well. As with Star Wars began to listen to George most of the themes to see his first reaction. They were very positive, and so we began with record opening fanfare. We were again used for the purpose of both agree. I could not imagine starting a new trilogy with a different theme!

Q: We want to tell some story about these recording sessions?

JW: There are always some surprises or events that we can not predict. Since George was discovering the score at that time, his reactions were very instinctive. When I made "The Arrival at Tatooine," "The Flag Parade" or "Qui-Gon's Noble End", I could see his emotion, there studying with us. From my desk I saw him make the sign of thumbs up. In total, we had only two or three problems on the composition itself, particularly the scenes of the character of Queen Amidala, which put much more emphasis on music of George does not want much. "She is young, sad and romantic ... very Chaikovskij "I said initially. But George still had his ideas about. Let me explain the difference and I understood much better what it meant to him and Amidala, while his aspirations for the character in Episode 2. Even the song "He Is The Chosen One" was changed, because George wanted more emphasis on the Force. So I rewrote the song and everyone was satisfied. And then there was "Duel of the Fates," the song with the great chorus. The scenes of the Emperor had such an impact on JEDI to the point that adding a chorus during the duel between Darth Maul and Qui-Gon seemed indispensable. I wrote a first ground, about ten notes and then began to develop five different variations, of which I kept three. In this case, one can speak of similarity with some compositions by Benjamin Britten and Igor Stravinsky, because my part was certainly intended. I discovered an ancient Celtic poem while reading the writings of Robert Graves. There were two ways that particularly struck me: "Under the root of the tongue, that's the most horrible fighting, while another fury, is hidden in the head ..." and then "behind the mind, the will is hidden behind the will, the strength or the misery of existence "(* The original is" under the tongue-root, to fight Most dread, while Another Rages, behind in the head ... "and" Behind the Mind, the Will is hiding, behind the will, the force or the misery of an Existence "). Indirectly, these words I found the spirit of Star Wars, no doubt because the fighting both physical and moral characters of George Lucas' face resemble a form of ritual. Faeces translate the poem in different languages: Latin, greek, Russian, Slavic ... but still did not work, as certain sounds seemed too familiar. At that point, I thought hesitant to invent a language alien, as we did in "Jedi." But I could not stop thinking that this mythology had to be somehow connected with our human culture, although very old. So we tried to translate the text in Sanskrit and the mixture of sounds Western / orchestral one hand, and Eastern Europe / choral part, has created the life force of a song like "Duel of the Fates." The orchestral part has its function and importance, but the choral part that brings with it all spirituality and mysticism that surrounds the characters of George. George Lucas when he saw the choir in the recording studio, he definitely thought something like Latin or English. When I told him we were recording the song in Sanskrit, he winced and said: "In Sanskrit? But John, is an incomprehensible language, people will be confused and disoriented. " Everyone then took his place in the orchestra and chorus. I wanted to record a test track, I turned and said to George: "Listen to a kind of ancient Mass where two men clash in battle, where good and evil will fight to the death to forge a destiny." The song was recorded and George was amazed. I went into the control room and said "John is magnificent. Will keep it as it is for the credits. We recorded several versions of the song, some songs for the final fight, others long for the credits and for the album.

Q: Some of our readers have commented on being disappointed by the lack of ambition orchestral "Duel of the Fates."

JW: The orchestral part is secondary, I admit. If I had taken any decisions, I only recorded part choir, no orchestra. But for the film, and in terms of film music, it was impossible to do such a thing as the "sound" too particular have attracted the attention of the viewer. You see, it's like a break in form, but we always remained the spiritual universe of Star Wars. And your readers should be less impatient. "Duel of the Fates" is a theme that returns in the future. The restriction of the orchestral part for the benefit of the choir, in this film, asservirà function very differently in the next two episodes. Although not yet know precisely the ideas of George for the next movie, I can assure you that it will. Here, the problem is that the old trilogy is very well stored and above is stored as a single entity. Redo what has already been done in the past is impossible, but please make an effort trying to look ahead in the long term. Remember that "The Phantom Menace" is only the first part of new adventures, with advantages and disadvantages of thematic restrictions that entails. In other words, you still have six years to "understand" good music of the new trilogy.

Q: The last minutes of "The Throne Room" and credits is absent from 'The Phantom Menace. An episode that ends without fanfare is almost like an orphan!

JW: His reaction is that of a purist in film music. George Lucas had other needs in this case and, given the sequence order of the credits, a fanfare to follow Anakin's theme was far too mechanical and forced from the first trilogy. In "The Empire Strikes Back" was I to decide in this case does not. Instead, "Augie's Great Municipal Band," as the celebration of the Ewok, was thought so by George Lucas. I have not had to do was write his directions in music. You can not have regrets, because the signs of music were very precise and George Lucas came directly from him. I know that many would still prefer a fanfare.

Q: The song is inspired by case "Powaqqatsi" by Philip Glass?

JW: Yes, this was essentially the "thinking" by George Lucas. This became the skeleton of the last minutes of the movie and I had to adapt to it. Maybe things will be different for Episode II, or maybe not.

Q: Some sequences of "The Phantom Menace", especially the final battle, do not follow exactly the writing and its partition.

JW: There were circumstances that I could not control. I composed the score on the first cut of the film. Then George Lucas showed the film to some people, including Ron Howard and Steven Spielberg ... and so a second version was installed. I made the necessary changes to adapt score, though this meant removing steps and complete entire lines. My consistency was somewhat affected even during the recording sessions in February, we made sure that everything ran as straight as possible. At that moment, I had no problem with George's Music also because to me, it was now impossible to rewrite and impact of new music. So ricalibrai and riadattai my score on the new assembly. After the recording session, George again showed the film to his friends who suggested other changes, and obviously, this ruin my second "coherence." George chose to take some steps that I wrote for certain sequences and mix them elsewhere, rather than asking me to write the music, which now I could not do anymore. Here we risk falling into fatalism sharper, although as a musician I wanted that things had been different. George Lucas knows this very well, because my first reaction, as an artist was to convey a sense of disapproval, I think he understood. He made a choice that was probably necessary but that bothers me artistically, even if only briefly. I'm not a controversial person because I can not deny that this experience has been extraordinary. Nevertheless, it is a pity that those decisions were taken between February, March and April of 1999 and not six months earlier. Now that "The Phantom Menace" was released in the U.S., I can afford to give this little reticence.

Q: What were your reactions to negative reviews the film received on its release?

JW: You see, the appreciation of critical interest me much less than the public. "The Phantom Menace" has grossed $ 450 million so far in the U.S.. This certainly means something. Rather it is for George Lucas to give the necessary explanations, if ever there is to it! For me, I say that the disc of the soundtrack has sold over 2 million copies around the world and I think even reach 3 million. These figures are higher than both "The Empire" that "Jedi", but less than "Star Wars." I do not want to pull any conclusions, since these figures are still incredible. I hope that our debate has dispelled the doubts of those who was disappointed from the album. The popularity should not exclude criticism. I think I did the best I have been granted to "The Phantom Menace." Now it is for readers to understand and watch the movie from the perspective of George Lucas, over the years may be different from theirs. But I hope that their skepticism may fade over time.

Q: What about Episode II?

JW: I'm waiting for the green light from George.

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This is a great interview! I too wonder if it's legitimate, although I can't imagine anyone forging a John Williams interview... Interesting that "March of the Villians" was written for the Jawas. And it's nice to hear a more aggressive, honest, but still polite JW.

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Yes this interview was presented many years ago, wasn't KM the one who originally found it?

I believe it's been discredited by several people as not being correct, including a few record producers.

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Wasn't there actually a fake Horner interview in the same magazine? With something about him dating Goldsmith's daughter?

ETA: I have a link to a thread about the magazine at FSM... but it's broken. Anybody know how to fix it? Turns out I had linked to it when writing the Shadows of the Empire soundtrack article on Wookieepedia (to to discredit the claim about Williams), so I need to fix that link anyway.

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I manually translated this article here back in the days. I still have the StarFix issue .The original article is in French and I don't make translation mistakes(the above is not my translation)

No this is not very legitimate, the great Miguel Andrade told us some time ago.

I think this was just conjecture on Miguel's part based on his personal feelings towards the interviewer (Didier Lepretre). That doesn't discredit the interview. There might be slight change of wording in the original translation but that wouldn't change the contents of the interview that much. The questions are pretty straighforward

He might have caught Williams on a day where he was less diplomatic and since this was a French magazine maybe William didn't care as much .Anyways this is not a random internet interview ,it's from a fancy printed magazine about sci-fi movies ( the kind of magazines that cost more than normal ones)

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I dunno ,there's even a cool exclusive Episode 1 poster in that issue and exclusive production pictures . Also interviews with Joe Johnston and Frank Oz. Doesn't seem like "bullshit" magazine that's what I'm saying and Lucasfilm must have approved it in a way

Ricard never said there was anything "fishy" about the interview when I posted it back then (he even posted it on the main page) and he's the only one I think would know.

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Ricard never said there was anything "fishy" about the interview when I posted it back then (he even posted it on the main page) and he's the only one I think would know.

The only thing which sounds fishy are the details, like Williams remembering certain names and dates like never before.

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Yeah, that's what stands out to me. Williams never goes into great detail about things like that.

If the interview ever was conducted for real, then it seems that what was printed was only half authentic and that a great deal of 'artistic license' was used for reasons unknown. There's no way this is 100% authentic.

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The interview seems unconventional but i don't think Lucasfilm would have allowed this interview to be printed in a large French sci fi magazine if it was fabricated in parts. Maybe JW was more open because he wasn't asked standard questions. I can't remember an other interviewer asking him about controversial things in the production process, or for more detail of JW's experience especially on TESB or ROTJ.

I think the interviewer just asked the right questions and probably asked further when Williams finished his "standard" answers/stories. So he probably seemed somehow more open because he was asked in more detail.

King Mark do you mind posting or sending me your original translation (if you still have it)

Is your translation different? I just put the (from french to italian translated) article into google translator as i don't speak italian. That's why there are

many mistakes.

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I think the interviewer just asked the right questions and probably asked further when Williams finished his "standard" answers/stories. So he probably seemed somehow more open because he was asked in more detail.

Is that really so? I found most of the questions pretty standard, only that Williams seems to bubble with answers not usually given(i. e., see his ramblings about JEDI after being asked about EMPIRE).

I don't think it is not legit - there are no particularly scnadalous insights - just a bit curious.

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I manually translated this article here back in the days. I still have the StarFix issue .The original article is in French and I don't make translation mistakes(the above is not my translation)

No this is not very legitimate, the great Miguel Andrade told us some time ago.

I think this was just conjecture on Miguel's part based on his personal feelings towards the interviewer (Didier Lepretre). That doesn't discredit the interview. There might be slight change of wording in the original translation but that wouldn't change the contents of the interview that much. The questions are pretty straighforward

He might have caught Williams on a day where he was less diplomatic and since this was a French magazine maybe William didn't care as much .Anyways this is not a random internet interview ,it's from a fancy printed magazine about sci-fi movies ( the kind of magazines that cost more than normal ones)

Neither the fact that the magazine is print, or its prize, or the photos is gets from a movie studio's PR department does not say anything about the magazine's journalistic ambitions. I could very well envision the author of the interview re-writing Williams' words to fit either the magazine's style or his idea of a worthwhile read.

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Yeah ,well again it's "it seems that Williams wouldn't answer that way" blah blah blah. Who knows, Williams didn't say anything that's too controversial either,he just elaborated more than usual probably because how the questions were asked. But I think the interview is probably close to what Williams said .

No I don't have my translation,it's in the internet twilight zone. Anyways my first language is French so I can attest the interview is well written as it appears in the magazine and nothing looks too suspicious about it.

Who else ever asked Williams anything about Shadows of the Empire?

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I was going to say that I know a beefed up interview when I see one (and have some basic notions of the interviewee's speech), but smugness doesn't count as fact. So, shall we agree to disagree since none of us has any way to know better?

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That's right. But the chances are still higher that the interview is mostly real than mostly fabricated.Maybe it's "beefed up" as you say.Who knows.

I'm not sure what's the point of fabricating a Williams interview though ,it's not like that many people care and StarFix wouldn't have sold less copies if Williams answers had been more boring

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It's not all about sales. Maybe the interviewer was a contributor outside the staff and had to impress his editors in order to sell them this interview, maybe he felt too much pressure in the newsroom to pack a punch, maybe it was a matter of simple ego... There's many factors we don't know about.

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I dont remember any interview where he was asked about the bad reception TPM has faced when it was released. So to defend the movie and his own work it isnt so unrealistic that he

reminds th readers/ the interviewer that the sales of his soundtrack were amazing.

And by the way JW was right with the fact that nowadays TPM is regarded a lot better than in 1999 and many Star Wars fans put it before AOTC, some even regard it as the best movie of the Prequel trilogy (which in my opinion is ROTS, but well)

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I think this was just conjecture on Miguel's part based on his personal feelings towards the interviewer (Didier Lepretre). That doesn't discredit the interview. There might be slight change of wording in the original translation but that wouldn't change the contents of the interview that much. The questions are pretty straighforward

First of all, I think we must be gratefull that Mark was kind in making this available to everyone, despite the fact that this is unlike to be a faithful representation of the actual interview.

For the record, while I did mede some conjectures based on things that we know to be facts, and things that only came up in this interview, that to the least sound weird, I did some serious investigation on the interviewer. I should say for starters, I have no feeling toward him whatsoever: never met him, never talked to him, nothing.

But I do know people who know him, and none of them had a nice word about him. What I was able to get from at the time, he is just a weird fan, who claims to be able to get interviews with everyone in the business (funny, FSM, a major thing on the film music scene waited years to be able to interview Williams), and when he publish this interviews, composers and musicians always make the most unexpected revelations. Furthermore, several of the people I talked about this, say to be sure that he does change the actual replies on some of this interviews (the ones to be known to have happened, and never with big names... aparently, the Williams and Horners only are interviewed by him alone...)

He might have caught Williams on a day where he was less diplomatic and since this was a French magazine maybe William didn't care as much .Anyways this is not a random internet interview ,it's from a fancy printed magazine about sci-fi movies ( the kind of magazines that cost more than normal ones)

That would be the only time anyone would have found Williams on a less diplomatic manner... at least on interview. Back in 1984, during the time he quited from his Pops job, he had all reason to be pissed, and never had a bad word torward the orchestra. At the time, all the info leaked throught orchestra musicians and personel, not Williams.

Also, other funny things... March of the Villains was originally done for the Jawas... Williams always claimed he don't pick on material from previous projects. Complaining on McNeely work, when he was one of the people who reportedly helped the younger composer on his early years in Hollywood... All sound totally unlike Williams. But yes, those are conjectures on my part. And Regarding the comments on Episode I, it said what many fans wanted to hear, not necessarily what Williams thinks.

As for being printed on a fancy magazine, that doesn't makes anything true. This interview ran originally on the interviewers fanzine, and was later added to Starfix, or so I found out through my investigation.

Just my two cents. Believe on what you will, but I don't trust one word of this one.

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Why is it that hard for FSM to get a lenghty interview with John Williams? I think i read sometime ago on this forum that JW was not happy with something FSM wrote back then and that

he then refused to give further interviews...is that true?

When were the most recent Wiliams interviews done by FSM?

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Why is it that hard for FSM to get a lenghty interview with John Williams? I think i read sometime ago on this forum that JW was not happy with something FSM wrote back then and that

he then refused to give further interviews...is that true?

When were the most recent Wiliams interviews done by FSM?

I believe it was published in January 2003. Before that there was one they published, in the late 90's I think, but I'm not sure if it was made by them, or published with the permission of the interviewer. I don't think that in all this years FSM has been around, they had any other interview with Williams.

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Why is it that hard for FSM to get a lenghty interview with John Williams? I think i read sometime ago on this forum that JW was not happy with something FSM wrote back then and that

he then refused to give further interviews...is that true?

That was Goldsmith. I heavily doubt that Williams knew what FSM was prior to Jeff Bond's interview. Maybe his secretary staff found the whole rakish attitude of FSM bothering. It was not uncommon to curse James Horner with herpes or compare Media Ventures with the mafia in the older days. It sure was fun to read back then.

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But I do know people who know him, and none of them had a nice word about him. What I was able to get from at the time, he is just a weird fan, who claims to be able to get interviews with everyone in the business (funny, FSM, a major thing on the film music scene waited years to be able to interview Williams), and when he publish this interviews, composers and musicians always make the most unexpected revelations.

Ok,so I get what type this guy is. But how could a "weird fan" get an interview published that might not have happened at all? It must have been at least confirmed that Williams participated or StarFix might have been sued especially since it's Lucasfilm were talking about. And at the time Lucas Kendal and FSM weren't exactly well known either

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But I do know people who know him, and none of them had a nice word about him. What I was able to get from at the time, he is just a weird fan, who claims to be able to get interviews with everyone in the business (funny, FSM, a major thing on the film music scene waited years to be able to interview Williams), and when he publish this interviews, composers and musicians always make the most unexpected revelations.

Ok,so I get what type this guy is. But how could a "weird fan" get an interview published that might not have happened at all? It must have been at least confirmed that Williams participated or StarFix might have been sued especially since it's Lucasfilm were talking about. And at the time Lucas Kendal and FSM weren't exactly well known either

Maybe Starfix saw the interview on his fanzine and asked to re-print it. Maybe Lucasfilm wasn't paying too much atention... I really can't say, but I agree that it's strange no one got into trouble over that one.

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What was it that was said about Goldsmith?

Someone (Ford Thaxton?? :lol: ) faxed bad reviews to Goldsmith's office while Jeff Bond conducted some interviews with him for his STAR TREK book. Goldsmith reportedly was royally pissed and cancelled further appointments. Forever.

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Resolving this interview mystery is exactly like trying to prove that John Williams re-wrote all of William Ross music for CoS. My deep down conviction of what genuine Williams composed music sounds like + circumstantial evidence Vs what Helgi said.

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Maybe Starfix saw the interview on his fanzine and asked to re-print it. Maybe Lucasfilm wasn't paying too much atention... I really can't say, but I agree that it's strange no one got into trouble over that one.

Williams went through so many interviews that summer for media all over the world, including some then-obscure websites, that it's all too plausible it went past Lucasfilm's agents.

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Hey, I remember this! I translated the interview in Italian from KM's english transaltion when he posted it here. Time flies! :)

I too always had some suspects about the reliability of this interview. I guess something was certainly "added" in the translation from English to French. Williams is never so outspoken in interviews.

Also, I second Miguel's feelings about Didier Lepretre (the guy who conducted this interview): me and my fellow colleagues at ColonneSonore.net had some exchanges with him in the past and he appeared to be quite a strange guy. He was obsessed with James Horner and, believe it or not, he forced the collaborators of his own fan magazine (formerly a Horner fan magazine, but later transformed into a general magazine about film music and movies called "Cinefonia") to put Horner's scores at the top of their "Best of the Year" lists.

However, I guess it's hard now to sift through this interview and see what was true and what was probably spiced up in translation. There are a couple of things that corresponds with some information I had (i.e. Williams' opinion about Shadows of the Empire), others that are now considered quite proved in the "behind the scenes mythology" of the creation of the scores, but a whole lot of others that seem genuinely cooked up by the interviewer.

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