René Manzor and Rick McCallum: “‘Jurassic Park’ changed everything for everybody”

French-born filmmaker, screenwriter and author René Manzon (feature image, left) and German-born producer Rick McCallum (right) were the guests of honor at the latest Waterloo Historical Film Festival in Belgium last month.

Mr. Manzon (b. 1959) directed several films in his native country, and with his first two features, “Le passage” (1986, a.k.a. “The Passage”) and “3615 code Père Noël” (1989, a.k.a. “Game Over”), he caught the attention of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.

Rick McCallum (b. 1954) may not be a high-profile name to most people, but as a producer of the highly successful “Star Wars” prequel trilogy that grossed approximately three billion dollars worldwide, he’s a very renowned and passionate craftsman who loves filmmaking. The trilogy, with “Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace” (1999), “Star Wars: Episode II—Attack of the Clones” (2002) and “Star Wars: Episode III—Revenge of the Sith” (2005), was set before the original “Star Wars” trilogy that was released from 1977 to 1983.

What brings René Manzon and Rick McCallum together is the ambitious live-action TV show “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles” that aired on ABC from March 1992 to July 1994 and was created, executive produced, and co-written by George Lucas. In the late 1990s, the series was re-edited into twenty-two television movies and enjoyed a second career as “The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones.” Corey Carrier (age 8-10), Sean Patrick Flanery (age 16-21), Harrison Ford (age 50) and George Hall (age 93-94) played the character of Indiana Jones. The TV series expanded the franchise of Indy in his childhood and youth, and included adventures with his parents. From 2007-2008, “The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones Documentaries” covered the historical events and figures that Indiana Jones met in the series.

Rick McCallum produced all of the twenty-eight episodes of “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles,” and a few episodes from the second season were directed by René Manzor, such as “Verdun, September 1916″ and “Paris, May 1919.” At the time, Mr. Manzon also lived and worked in Hollywood for several years.

Introduction to the Q&A with Rick McCallum and René Manzor

Both men were reunited at the Waterloo Historical Film Festival last month to discuss their work and collaboration during a Q&A at Waterloo’s Wellington Cinema.

This article has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Rick, the first film you produced was “Pennies from Heaven” [1981], and after that, you started working with Dennis Potter in Great Britain. Is that correct?

[RICK McCALLUM] Yes. My first film, when I was twenty-five, was such a financial disaster. Dennis Potter, the writer, was English, and he told me, ‘Why don’t you come to England where failure is a way of life? You’ll do really well.’ I remember the day when “Pennies from Heaven” opened, I was in New York, and I went back to Los Angeles on a Saturday. And they were already painting my name out of my parking space. So I knew my days were numbered.

Then you produced a lot with Dennis Potter, who was working for the BBC. You were an American in Great Britain. What was that like?

[RICK McCALLUM] It was a golden time to be in England. I made ten films back to back; none of them were successful, but they were good, so as long as you work with a good director and with great actors, you can continue to work. You didn’t want to be too successful because then you wouldn’t be able to work again.

René, you were successful with your first feature film, “Le passage” [1986] with Alain Delon. That was your break?

[RENÉ MANZOR] Yes, and Alain Delon gave me that break. I wrote the screenplay, and I was looking for a producer for six years. Finally, Delon loved the script, and he wanted to produce it, so the film was made. It was supposed to be a film d’auteur, not a commercial movie, but it broke every record. And because of that, because it was a commercial movie—and in France, it was really bad to make a commercial movie in the 1980s—I didn’t work for three years. It took me three years before I could make another film.

And that next film was “3615 code Père Noël” [1989], a.k.a. “Home Alone” [1990], right?

[RENÉ MANZOR] That’s another story. Basically, it was rebuffed by John Hughes into “Home Alone” and that became a huge, incredible success around the world. Because of that, my career in the States took off. Everybody could see that the film was done before, and at the studios, they said, ‘Let’s hire that guy and he can write for us.’
[RICK McCALLUM] That’s how I got to meet René. Steven Spielberg was the executive producer of the series, and he asked me, ‘Do you know any French director?’ I said to him, ‘We have been trying to find one.’ We had a Dutch director, Australian, English, Indian—we had a lot of really interesting, great directors. So he asked, ‘Yeah, but do you have anybody French?’ And I said, ‘I can’t find a French director who speaks English and who wants to do it.’ Then he said, ‘I think we got a guy.’ And he sent me “Le passage.” I looked at it and thought, ‘Problem solved!’
[RENÉ MANZOR] Steven was a fan of “Le passage” but also of “Père Noël” which he had watched with his children, so basically he became very important in my career, just like Alain Delon had been—Alain was an actor, and Steven was a fantastic storyteller and director—and those two men were my mentors. I was very lucky to have one in each world.

‘Steven Spielberg became very important in my career, just like Alain Delon had been,’ René Manzor says | Film Talk

In 1985, you produced “Dreamchild.” That’s where you met George Lucas for the first time?

[RICK McCALLUM] Yes, that’s where I met George. I was shooting at Elstree Studios and he was helping a director [Walter Murch] on a huge movie called “Return to Oz” [1985]. I had a small office at Elstree where we were shooting this very low-budget film in a warehouse, and I was working with the Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. And George came over to take a look, I think that was the first time I met him. I think he wanted to be more on our set more than on the set of his big, huge film.

When did he first talk to you about the series?

[RICK McCALLUM] About five years later, we met again when he was interviewing people to do the series. We met, we got along really well and spent a couple of hours together. He outlined his dream of what his vision of digital cinema would be. He wanted to use Indiana Jones as a platform, a blueprint, to eventually make the “Star Wars” prequels, which he was going to finance. He wanted to figure out the cheapest way and shoot in a kind of guerilla fashion, all over the world, and do it for very little money because he was going to finance everything. “Young Indy” was the first television series to use digital technology—digital matte paintings—so we wanted to explore that through Industrial, Light and Magic, his effects company, which basically at that time was an analog company with a small group of digital artists that were doing fifty, sixty shots of each episode. It was a big learning curve for everybody. The ability to literally shoot around the world in thirty-six countries made it easier for us to start planning “Star Wars.”

You say “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles” was a low-budget series, but George Lucas had already made the first three “Star Wars” films. Everybody would think that he’d have unlimited budgets to work with.

[RICK McCALLUM] When you’re financing a film yourself, you want to make it for as little money as humanly possible. It’s true, when he made the first series of “Star Wars,” they were so successful that it was kind of a curse and a blessing because he’s actually a very small filmmaker. He had a great time making “THX 1138” [1971] and had a great time making “American Graffiti” [1973], except that the studios took both films away from him, so he was determined to make a successful film that he could own the rights to, be able to finance his own films, and never had to work for a studio again. That was his master plan from the beginning as a young filmmaker.
[RENÉ MANZOR] The series was shot on a tight budget. George was producing it with his own money, but he hoped it would be big in production value, so he hired only movie directors. There were no TV directors, there were no American directors. All directors were from foreign countries. When I first arrived on the set, Rick took me aside and said, ‘René, I have to tell you something because I know you guys, I know you directors. You read the script, there are battle scenes in the script. For those scenes, we are going to use stock shots.’ I said, ‘What?’ ‘We’re going to use stock shots for those scenes.’ Stock shots are shots that were already shot by somebody else…
[RICK McCALLUM] … already existing shots from other movies…
[RENÉ MANZOR] …and he said, ‘Don’t overreact. Look at the tape. It comes from an Oscar-winning movie “All Quiet on the Western Front” [1930].’ So I went to the hotel and watched it on VHS. I tried to be very open-minded. I tried hard, and when I watched it, it was beautiful. But it was very different from what I had in mind. They used high-angle shots, everything was like from above, and they had plenty of extras, more than I could ever have. But for me, the camera should be very low, on the sand. The sand was at the level of the dead; in Verdun, they used to say, ‘Rise and shine, dead people.’ That’s what they used to say to the people before going to the trenches. So I had to find a way to go back to see Rick. He was the producer of the show. I was a for-hire director, so I explained to him what I had in mind. I went to the Barrandov Studios in Prague and met the first AD—the first assistant director—and asked him to give me the schedule, and on the schedule, you could see there was a travel day. They were in Prague and had to go out to do Verdun. I pulled out my compass—I always have a compass on the set—I looked at it and walked around the studio lot. I saw that Prague was in front of me; behind me was the studio building; on the left side, there was an electric pillar, and on the right side was the freeway. I went back inside and asked Rick to come outside. I said to him, ‘This is Verdun.’ ‘What?’ ‘This is Verdun. We can shoot here.’ ‘Are you kidding me? Prague is in front of us, and there’s an electric pillar and the highway…’ I said, ‘The building is north. I never shoot north because there the light is terrible.’ ‘Okay, but what about Prague, the highway, the electric pole?’ I said to Rick, ‘Put your eye at the level of the dead: that’s Verdun. And that’s where the camera should be, at the level of the dead, so you will never see Prague or the highway or the pole or the studio building.’ And it also meant that we didn’t have to drive to the location. We’d save money by not traveling for a day, we’d save money on gasoline, trucks, etc. ‘And you can use my footage as stock footage for the rest of the episodes,’ I added. Rick asked, ‘What about the extras?’ I told him, ‘I need one hundred extras and two hundred costumes. I’ll shoot the French side and then the German side, so the extras change costumes in between. And we shoot here at the studio, one day.’ ‘Here? One day?’ He shook hands, and we had a deal. That’s Rick. I realized that I had a producer by my side, a real producer, someone who sees the end of the show and not only the money. Of course, he knew about the money—look at the questions he asked. But the quality of what you’d get to see, that’s Rick because of what he decided to do.
[RICK McCALLUM] We used huge truck tires that we put on fire and it blocked out the whole city for a week.

‘George Lucas was determined to make a successful film that he could own the rights to,’ Rick McCallum says | Film Talk

Prague is now a favorite city if you want to shoot scenes set in Paris, but what was it like in the early 1990s?

[RICK McCALLUM] There was a great culture of filmmaking in the Chech Republic, but during the last part of the 1980s, the government had no money to support the film industry. There were about 2,500 people at the Barrandov Studios who had nothing to do. My idea was that I wouldn’t use anybody from feature films. I would only use people in their twenties that had no families and that could be away for a year. The first year, we shot six-day-weeks, in seventeen countries, so it was a huge sacrifice. The idea was to get people who were just learning their craft and who would do anything in the world to do the best job they possibly could. And I was able to go to Prague two days after the Velvet Revolution [November 1989]. I could see there was no way that they could keep that many people because they went from a Communist to a Capitalist country overnight, and I thought it was a perfect place for us to be based. And it became our base for four or five years.

Did the Barrandov Studios go bancrupt?

[RICK McCALLUM] No. It was just that everyone was given notice; they lost their jobs on January 1. We needed a space to have workshops and whatever sets we had to build. We didn’t use a lot of soundstages; we needed an office and a complex for wardrobe and all the other necessary things. So it was the perfect place: it was empty, and we were the first people from the West to shoot there. It was a huge learning curve for the Chech crew and for us.

You worked with many young people so they would be available for a long time. There were very talented people, including Simon Crane.

[RICK McCALLUM] He was our stunt coordinator for three years, and he was on every episode where we had stunts.
[RENÉ MANZOR] He became the most well-known and best stunt coordinator in Hollywood. When he worked with us, he was only beginning. Later he did films like “Braveheart” [1995], “Titanic” [1997], “Saving Private Ryan” [1998]. There’s a scene we did that wasn’t actually planned. He arrived two days earlier at the hotel, and we met at the bar. He asked, ‘What do you have in mind, René?’ I said, ‘I want to shoot scene sequences and don’t want to just cut-cut-cut. I want to be at the level of the dead with the camera. I want people to feel that they’re on a battlefield and shoot twenty-seconds or thirty-seconds-shots.’ He said, ‘Well, René, if we do that, you have to realize that you must wait twenty minutes to get rid of the explosives and stuff before you move on to the next shot.’ ‘Yes, I know, but I prefer to shoot in scene sequence so everybody can feel that they’re in danger, in a way, even the cameraman.’ So that’s what we did. He invented a shot that didn’t even exist. There are no special effects, no CGI; everything is real, even the explosions. He invented a system where people are on a trampoline. The stuntmen knew where the explosives were, of course, but they didn’t know precisely when they would blow up, and they were running around. In the meantime, someone was taking care of the trampoline; he was watching the scene and all the extras. Everything was designed to be as real as possible. And we had only one day to shoot.

René Manzor and Rick McCallum during the Q&A | Film Talk

What about the casting of the series? Four people played Indiana Jones. How did you find Sean Patrick Flanery?

[RICK McCALLUM] Casting is one of the most bizarre experiences because you go through hundreds and hundreds of people that are coming in. We try not to cast all day because at the end of the day, you’re exhausted and you’re afraid you’re gonna miss someone because you’re so tired. For about six weeks, we met close to two hundred and fifty young actors; then we narrowed it down to about ten. Then we did screentests, and we thought Sean Patrick Flanery was the best, and he got the job.

What were the criteria? Did you look for a Harrison Ford lookalike?

[RICK McCALLUM] No, not really. We wanted somebody athletic and coordinated. And Sean could do anything. He can ride horses, he’s a master of martial arts, and he is a good guy. And he was prepared to sacrifice of being away from home for three or four years.
[RENÉ MANZOR] He had already done several episodes with other directors prior to me, so he was used to a different type of directing—everyone has his own style—but he was a professional. He never complained about anything. He never said to me that he was doubting me, but Rick sent me an article a few months ago, and Flanery said in that article that our episode “Demons of Deception” [1999] was his favorite. I could never imagine that he liked this episode so much.

Why did you have so many different directors?

[RICK McCALLUM] Because we had such a young crew. It was their first big job to prove themselves. The idea was to get as many interesting European film directors who may have done television when they were younger. I was very lucky; I had done two films with Nicolas Roeg and a few films with David Hare, a very famous playwright in England, and also two films with a guy named Gavin Miller. I couldn’t get a director in the very beginning. To all the agencies, I said, ‘Look, we’re doing this TV show, but we can’t pay a lot for the director. We’re making this for like six or seven hundred thousand dollars an episode, and there’s going to be a lot of traveling. But we are using digital effects, and we’re able to edit with George Lucas at Skywalker Ranch.’ So I tried everything, but nobody wanted to do it. I finally convinced Nicolas Roeg and David and Gavin to do it, and once I did that, ICM—the biggest agency—started sending directors over. Those were very famous directors. I was a friend of Bille August, a wonderful Danish director, and I asked him out of the blue, never thinking he would accept it. But he said, ‘Yeah, I would love to.’ He did two episodes for us. Then everybody wanted to work on it, and we had this incredible raster of great, incredible directors.

There was also a cameo from Harrison Ford with a beard because he was doing “The Fugitive” [1993] at the time.

[RICK McCALLUM] He was interested in the series, and we just asked him if he would do it. He said, ‘Yeah, if you come to Jackson, Wyoming. If you come to me, we’ll do it.’ So we went there and shot for a couple of days. It was great, it was great fun.

There’s a Belgian actor, Ronny Coutteure, who played Remy Baudouin, a friend of Indiana Jones. How did he end up in the cast?

[RICK McCALLUM] We had a whole bunch of tapes from France, from Belgium—from everywhere. And I’ll never forget, it was the second or third day when we were just watching tapes of people because we could not figure out the character exactly. But the minute Ronny came on, George and I said, ‘That’s him.’ He was such a special, wonderful, decent, kind guy. It was such a treat to have him on the set, so we kept writing more and more for him. He was great with the rest of the cast; he made such an effort to meet everybody on the crew. He was a very lovely human being.

“The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles” (1992-1994, series trailer)

There’s an episode where Indiana Jones wants to enlist in the Belgian army during the First World War, and there’s also an episode about the Belgian Congo and how people were treated there. Why those references to Belgium?

[RICK McCALLUM] The chocolates [laughs]. Part of the problem that we had with the series overall was that Paramount expected us to make twenty episodes every year of Indiana Jones the film, and that they were going to get this incredible film franchise for nothing. Even though we were very straight and upfront at the beginning, we said, ‘No, this is an educational series.’ You have to understand that in the United States, only ten percent of the country has a passport, and five or six percent of the people who have a passport go only to Mexico or Canada. And you can tell by the fact that Trump became president that most people don’t know a lot about history as well. So this was George’s dream of the series. This is why he wanted to make it. If the studio was dumb enough to think that we would make a television film every week about Indiana Jones, they were wrong. The idea was that when Indy was eight years old, he was traveling with his father and his nanny, and they would go and meet really famous people who would tell him about the world, about love, about philosophy, about medicine—all the things that a young boy needed to learn. And then the episode the following week would be with the seventeen-year-old who is faced with moral choices based on what he has learned as a boy. That was the idea, but it was not a very successful idea for a series. So we had a real problem with Paramount and ABC the first couple of years. In fact, they canceled the show after the second year. But we still found people who were desperate to see us continuing to make it. So we ended up doing forty-four one-hour shows and twenty-two two-hour movies of the week, and it was a fantastic four or five-year period. But in the United States it didn’t do as well as we originally hoped. What did happen was that every major school in the United States bought the VHS because for history teachers—teaching ten, twelve, fourteen-year-old kids—this was a fantastic way to keep them involved, teaching them about historical characters, and also, at the same time, it was great for the kids because they didn’t have to listen to a lecture. We also did more than ninety documentaries [“The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones Documentaries”] about every one of the characters, all the historical figures, so one day they’d watch an episode at school, and the next day the documentary. As an educational tool, it was very successful and in the end, it all worked out for us.

But still, why Belgium?

[RICK McCALLUM] Well, we’ll have to talk about that afterward [laughs]. It’s just how the story went. Indy had serious problems in other countries, so the only place where he could actually enlist was in Belgium.

Ronny Coutteure’s character Remy Baudouin reminded us of Captain Haddock. Was that a coincidence? 

[RICK McCALLUM] It was definitely an ode. It was definitely a way of saying, ‘Thank you.’

In the series, there are many actors who became stars later on, like Daniel Craig, Catherina Zeta-Jones, Elizabeth Hurley… It was a platform to launch young actors, wasn’t it?

[RICK McCALLUM] Once we were on a rollercoaster, people could see the episodes, and actors had the chance to work with Bille August, Nicolas Roeg, Mike Newell, and all the other wonderful directors, so they jumped at it. Most of them were still young and emerging stars, so everything just worked out.

René, you were the youngest director on the series. You already had success in France with “Le passage” and “3615 code Père Noël,” but an American production in Prague must have been very special.

[RENÉ MANZOR] They used to call me ‘the kid.’ When I arrived in Prague the first time, I saw the list of directors. All those names… I knew every one of them. I had seen their movies. So Rick was there, he looked at me and asked, ‘What’s wrong, René?’ Well, what’s wrong? The directors’ list, that was wrong. I asked him, ‘Don’t you think you made a mistake somewhere? I know every one of them, except René Manzor. Who’s that guy?’ He said to me, ‘Who do you think drew up that list? George Lucas drew up that list. So if George trusts you, can’t you do the same?’ That’s basically what we, as directors, do with our actors, to pump them up. And the producer does the same with his directors. He pampers them and protects them from the politics. Otherwise, the director does ten percent of filmmaking and ninety percent of politics. When you have Rick by your side, it’s like every one can be the sailor man, like Popeye. He’s like an can of spinach: he’s with you, and suddenly you turn out to be the biggest director you can be because he’s there with you. So I may have been the kid to the other ones, but I was not because my producer told me I should trust myself.

Rick McCallum | Film Talk

Could we go back to Paramount? What did they complain about?

[RICK McCALLUM] When it first came out, we had twenty-five million people watching, but they wanted forty million. The world was changing then. HBO had just come out; there were other services that people could go to, and they didn’t want to be tied to classic network television programming.
[RENÉ MANZOR] I have an interesting story about this. It can be an advantage for a director to have a producer like Rick. The show will not be the same with another type of producer, and I’ll tell you why. Rick can give you the choice of how to shoot a scene, and that’s very rare. Producers always look at numbers and not at the result. Did Rick look at numbers? Of course, he did. He knew that whatever we would choose and how we’d shoot a scene, it would cost money. So he does his job. But he does more than his job because he gives me the choice. That may sound logical, but it’s not. It sounds logical to the director to put the camera there and ask the actors to do it or not do it, you know. By doing that, he helps me, and that’s something the audience doesn’t know because it happens behind the scenes. If he were to come up to me and say, ‘We’ll do it that way,’ that’s how most producers work. So imagine that man making “Star Wars I, II and II”… George is a great director, but he had Rick at his side, you know. I know.

You also did crowd replication?

[RICK McCALLUM] Yes, we did a lot of crowd replication and digital matte paintings. It was also the first TV series ever to be edited on the editory. We started to develop pro tools for all of our sound work, so it was a learning experience for all of us. The turning point for most of the visual effects companies was during the late 1980s. There was “Young Sherlock Holmes” [1985], “Willow” [1988], “The Abyss” [1989], “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” [1991], “Forest Gump” [1994], but the big one was “Jurassic Park” [1993]. That film changed everything for everybody who cared about visual effects. The world opened up for everyone. It allowed writers to finally write whatever they wanted without worrying about the studios telling them, ‘We can’t afford this.’ It allowed directors to finally have the opportunity to realize the vision of what was inside their heads. That was the beginning, and it changed a lot for many people. You have to remember that ILM was an analog company until George said, ‘I want this to be a digital company.’ It was a very painful process for many people, but once “Jurassic Park” came out and we saw the first previews of some of the work that ILM was doing, we knew, ‘Okay, let’s go for it.’ The reason that it was important for “Forest Gump” is that you could use special effects in a dramatic film that wasn’t science fiction or a big monster movie. It was a regular dramatic story that used hundreds of effects in the film.

Earlier you talked about your collaboration. Could you elaborate on that?

[RICK McCALLUM] One of the great things about working with René is that as a director, he always pushes you for an alternative way to make each day different, better, and more engaging, and that was the real fun of working with him. It was a real joy working with him; there is nothing more significant than a director who comes to you and says, ‘You know, I’ve been thinking last night. Wouldn’t it be great if we did this or that?’ That makes it exciting, and the fact that you never know what he’s going to come up with each day. He’ll arrive on set and say, ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be great to have monkeys in suits?’ ‘Okay, let try and do it.’ That makes him a great director and that’s why it was so much fun to have him on our set. And George trusted us because he’s an editor at heart. The joy for him was that he was editing all the episodes, and the joy for all the directors was, once they finished and George finished his rough cut, they got to go to Skywalker Ranch and spend two weeks with him while they did the final cut of the show. So for a lot of people, that was a great experience.
[RENÉ MANZOR] And George was also different from what happened in Hollywood. It’s very different with George and Rick because I also had bad experiences in Hollywood. We did the director’s cut, and after that, George took over, and he would do the final cut. In the United States directors don’t have final cut. In France—or Europe—we used to have it. It has changed, but at the time, we had it. So it was a surprise for me that George sent me the tape of his cut, and asked for comments. He was George Lucas, he was very powerful, and he sent this to this little French director and asked to comment on it. I didn’t want to offend George, so I called Rick and asked, ‘Rick, is that true? He wants me to comment? I can say anything? If I don’t like it, I can say it?’ ‘Yes, that’s the idea.’ I sent ten pages of notes, and he used ninety percent of my comments.

So, in the beginning, you had twenty-five million viewers; it dropped to ten or twelve million, and after two seasons, ABC canceled the show. What went well, and what went wrong?

[RICK McCALLUM] As I had said, the world was changing, the viewing habits were changing, and it hadn’t caught up to the studios yet. If you have a million viewers now, that’s a huge show. If you have twelve million, that’s outstanding. But we had so much support in Europe, and we had twenty-seven Emmy nominations and won twelve Emmy Awards. That angered the studios too because that happened after we left them. But in the end, it was a good journey for all of us.

“Star Wars: Episode I—The Phanton Menace” (1999, trailer)

For you, the series was also a test for the “Star Wars” prequels?

[RICK McCALLUM] Right from the beginning, when we started talking about the series in 1989, George laid out his digital vision and said, ‘What we’re going to try is do these digital effects on Mackintosh—it was a rebel unit at ILM. I mean, it wasn’t part of the real company. It was two buildings that were on the outside of the parking lot, and people were very upset about it. Then the idea was to see what we had shot on Super 8 and on 16mm on “Young Indy.” We also had a film called “Radioland Murders” [1994] that Universal wanted to do; it had about a hundred and fifty visual effects shots, so we wanted to do those digitally and see how they worked on 35mm. Then the next big challenge was, after “Jurassic Park,” to do the special editions and add a whole bunch of digital characters that George couldn’t do on the originals because he didn’t have the money or the resources. Once we did that, we got an idea of how much things were really going to cost. So in 1994, we said, ‘Okay, we’re going to do “Star Wars.”’

René, after that, you returned to Europe to shoot “Un amour de sorcière” [1997, a.k.a. “A Witch’s Way of Love”], and you became a successful author. What was the impact of “Young Indy” on your career?

[RICK McCALLUM] He became a good husband and a wonderful father.
[RENÉ MANZOR] First, I began comparing all my producers to Rick. And when I did the episodes, Ben Burtt was editing the show, and he is a great sound designer—the best one.
[RICK McCALLUM] He’s great. He won two Academy Awards, and he did “WALL•E” [2008]. He has done so many major films.
[RENÉ MANZOR] He’s a master of sound. And he was editing my show. In the 1990s in Europe, sound was only an illustration of the picture. Nothing more. And when I gave my cut to George, he said to me, ‘Thank you for your fifty percent of the show.’ Then I realized that he would add the other fifty percent with sound. I didn’t know that. So I asked George, ‘Would you mind if I stayed at Skywalker Ranch? I would like to see how that works because in France, sound doesn’t seem to be that important.’ So I stayed, I could see what they were doing, and in the end, this episode got an Emmy Award for Best Sound. Later, I told Ben, ‘You got an Emmy, and I got a lesson. For the rest of my career, sound will be very important to me.’

Waterloo Historical Film Festival, Belgium
October 14, 2023


PENNIES FROM HEAVEN (1981) DIR Herbert Ross PROD Herbert Ross, Nora Kaye EXEC PROD Rick McCallum SCR Dennis Potter CAM Gordon Willis ED Richard Marks MUS Ralph Burns, Billy May CAST Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters, Jessica Harper, Vernel Bagneris, John McMartin, Christopher Walken, Nancy Parsons

I OUGHT TO BE IN PICTURES (1982) DIR Herbert Ross PROD Herbert Ross, Neil Simon ASSOC PROD Rick McCallum, Charles Matthau SCR Neil Simon (also play “I Ought to Be in Pictures” [1980]) CAM David M. Walsh ED Sidney Levin MUS Marvin Hamlish CAST Walter Matthau, Ann-Margret, Dinah Manoff, Lance Guest, Calvin Ander, Shelby Balik, Larry Barton

DREAMCHILD (1985) DIR Gavin Miller PROD Rick McCallum, Kenith Trodd SCR Dennis Potter CAM Billy Williams ED Angus Newton MUS Stanley Myers CAST Coral Browne, Ian Holm, Peter Gallagher, Caris Corfman, Nicola Cowper, Jane Asher, Amelia Shankley, Imogen Boorman

LINK (19) DIR Richard Franklin PROD Richard Franklin CO-PROD Rick McCallum SCR Everett De Roche (story by Tom Ackermann, Lee David Zlotoff) CAM Mike Molloy ED Derek Trigg, Andrew London MUS Jerry Goldsmith CAST Elisabeth Shue, Terence Stamp, Steven Finch, Richard Garnett, David O’Hara, Kevin Lloyd, Joe Belcher

CASTAWAY (1986) DIR Nicolas Roeg PROD Rick McCallum SCR Allan Scott (book [1984] by Lucy Irvine) CAM Harvey Harrison ED Tony Lawson MUS Stanley Myers CAST Oliver Reed, Amanda Donohoe, Georgina Hale, Frances Barber, Tony Rickards, Todd Rippon, John Sessions, Virginia Hey, Sorel Johnson

TRACK 29 (1988) DIR Nicolas Roeg PROD Rick McCallum SCR Dennis Potter CAM Alex Thomson ED Tony Lawson MUS Stanley Myers CAST Theresa Russell, Gary Oldman, Christopher Lloyd, Colleen Camp, Sandra Bernhard, Seymour Cassel, Leon Rippey, Vance Colvig Jr., Kathryn Tomlinson

STRAPLESS (1989) DIR – SCR David Hare PROD Rick McCallum CAM Andrew Dunn ED Edward Marnier MUS Nick Bicât CAST Blair Brown, Bruno Ganz, Bridget Fonda, Alan Howard, Michael Gough, Hugh Laurie, Suzanne Burden, Rohan McCullough, Billie Roche, Camille Coduri, Gary O’Brien

RADIOLAND MURDERS (1994) DIR Mel Smith PROD Rick McCallum, Fred Roos SCR Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz, Jeff Reno, Ron Osborn (story by George Lucas) CAM David Tattersall ED Paul Trejo MUS Joel McNeely CAST Mary Stuart Masterson, Brian Benben, Ned Beatty, George Burns, Scott Michael Campbell, Brion James, Michael Lerner, Michael McKean, Stephen Tobolowsky, Christopher Lloyd, Larry Miller, Rosemary Clooney, Bo Hopkins

STAR WARS: EPISODE I—THE PHANTOM MENACE (1999) DIR – SCR George Lucas PROD Rick McCallum CAM David Tattersall ED Paul Martin Smith, Ben Burtt MUS John Williams CAST Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd, Ian McDiarmid, Pernilla August, Oliver Ford Davies, Hugh Quarshie, Terence Stamp, Samuel L. Jackson, Sofia Coppola, Keira Knightley, Sally Hawkins, Rick McCallum (Naboo Courier [uncredited])

STAR WARS: EPISODE II—ATTACK OF THE CLONES (2002) DIR George Lucas PROD Rick McCallum SCR George Lucas, Jonathan Hales (story by George Lucas) CAM David Tattersall ED George Lucas, Ben Burtt MUS John Williams CAST Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Christopher Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, Frank Oz, Ian McDiarmid, Pernilla August, Temuera Morrison, Jimmy Smits, Joel Edgerton

STAR WARS: EPISODE III—REVENGE OF THE SITH (2005) DIR George Lucas PROD Rick McCallum SCR George Lucas (character Aayla Secura created by John Ostrander, Jan Duursema) CAM  ED  MUS  CAST Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Christopher Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, Jimmy Smits, Frank Oz, Anthony Daniels, Christopher Lee, Joel Edgerton

RED TAILS (2012) DIR Anthony Hemingway PROD Rick McCallum, Charles Floyd Johnson SCR John Ridley, Aaron McGruder (story by John Ridley; book by John B. Holway) CAM John B. Aronson ED Ben Burtt, Michael O’Halloran MUS Terence Blanchard CAST Cuba Cooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Nate Parker, David Oyelowo, Tristan Mack Wilds, Ne-Yo, Elijah Kelley, Marcus T. Paulk

A UNITED KINGDOM (2016) DIR Amma Asante PROD Rick McCallum, David Oyelowo, Justin Moore-Lewy, Charlie Mason, Widens Pkolo Dorsainville, Brunson Green, Peter Heslop SCR Guy Hibbert (book “Colour Bar: The Triumph of Seretse Khama and His Nation” [2006] by Susan Williams) CAM Sam McCurdy ED Jon Gregory, Jonathan Amos MUS Patrick Doyle CAST David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Tom Felton, Jack Davenport, Laura Carmichael, Terry Pheto, Jessica Oyelowo, Vusi Kunene

I KRIG & KÆRLIGHED, a.k.a. A WAR WITHIN (2018) DIR Kasper Torsting PROD Ronnie Fridthjof CO-PROD Rick McCallum, Christian Friedrichs, Kerstin Ramcke, Andrea Schütte, Martin Sebik SCR Kaster Torsting, Ronnie Fridthjof (inspired by the book “Knacker” by Karsten Skov) CAM Jesper Tøffner ED Simon Borch, Søren B. Ebbe MUS Robin Hoffman CAST Thure Lindhardt, Tom Wlaschiha, Sebastian Jessen, Rosalinde Mynster, Natalie Madueño, Ulrich Thomsen, Morten Brovn, Hedi Kriegeskotte


LE PASSAGE, a.k.a. THE PASSAGE (1986) DIR René Manzor PROD Alain Delon, Francis Lalanne, Daniel Champagnon SCR René Manzor (adaptation by René Manzor, Alain Delon) CAM André Diot ED Christian Ange, Roland Baubeau MUS Jean-Félix Lalanne CAST Alain Delon, Christine Boisson, Jean-Luc Moreau, Alain Lalanne, Alberto Lomeo, Salvatore Nicosia, Jean Levasseur

3615 CODE PÈRE NOËL, a.k.a. GAME OVER (1989) DIR – SCR René Manzor PROD Jean-Luc Defait, Ziad El Khoury CAM Michel Gaffier ED Christine Pansu MUS Jean-Félix Lalanne CAST Brigitte Fossey, Louis Ducreux, Patrick Floersheim, Alain Lalanne, François-Eric Gendron, Stéphane Legros, Franck Capillery, Nicole Raucher, René Manzor (Responsable stock)

UN AMOUR DE SORCIÈRE, a.k.a. A WITCH’S WAY OF LOVE (1997) DIR – SCR René Manzor PROD Christian Fechner, Monty Diamond CAM Pal Gyulay ED Christine Pansu MUS Jean-Félix Lalanne CAST Vanessa Paradis, Gil Bellows, Jean Reno, Jeanne Moreau, Dabney Coleman, Fantin Lalanne, Louise Vincent, Malcolm Dixon, Eléonore Hirt, Katrine Boorman, Barnaby Apps, Paula Dehelly, Patrick Floersheim

DÉDALES (2003) DIR – SCR René Manzor PROD Etienne Comar, Jean Cottin CAM Pal Gyulay ED René Manzor, Philippe Bluart MUS Jean-Félix Lalanne CAST Lambert Wilson, Sylvie Testud, Frédéric Diefenthal, Michel Duchaussoy, Edouard Montoute, Tomer Sisley, Jean-Henri Compère, Philippe Résimont, Jérémy Bombace, Valérie Lemaître, Pierre Triboulet, Eric Gordon, René Manzor (Procureur)