Imagine yourself in 1970s Hollywood and you’re on set meeting a nobody director at the time George Lucas, who is wearing a white shirt, blue jeans and sneakers. He talks to you about this secret script named Star Wars. What would do? This was before so-called “Hollywood blockbusters”, before movie franchises, before green screens, and before SFX studios like ILM. Roger Christian accepted the gig and of course, the rest is history. Cinema Alchemist, Designing Star Wars & Alien is a memoir by Oscar-winning Roger Christian.
One person that was instrumental in creating and building the props in Star Wars is Roger Christian. Roger recounts step-by-step how he meet George Lucas on set in Mexico and how he got hired for Star Wars. He discusses how difficult it was to build from scratch of every prop and set, like creating R2-D2 and building the Landspeeder. Roger recalls the struggle with 20th Century Fox with the budget and so, they had to find inventive ways to make the props and sets. With the success of Star Wars, this landed him another job with then new director Ridley Scott on the set of Alien. While Star Wars had him design and create a sort of fantasy realism, this Alien project was more industrial horror flick. Roger had insight on how to set dress like building the cockpit of the Nostromo. This book also includes many rare behind-the-scenes photos, storyboards, concept artwork from Star Wars.
You many know the major players like John Barry and Les Dilley, but after reading Cinema Alchemist, you will know the name Roger Christian. You will see why big-time directors like George Lucas and Ridley Scott hold Roger to such high esteem. Roger is more than just a set designer and art director, he is a creative builder of visual dreams for films. Film historians and cinema buffs will want to pick-up this book as part of their film library.
Author: Roger Christian
Publisher: Titan Books