| 3.7°C Dublin

'Star Wars' creator quits and accuses Hollywood of racism

GEORGE Lucas has said he is retiring from making blockbusters after claiming that Hollywood refused to fund his latest movie because it has a black cast.

The creator of the 'Star Wars' films has been working on 'Red Tails' for 23 years, but had to finance it himself after rejections from major studios.

The film, which is released in US cinemas tomorrow, tells the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of black pilots in the Second World War.

It stars Cuba Gooding Jr and Terrence Howard and was shot by the black director Anthony Hemingway.

Mr Lucas (67) said: "I figured if I could get the prints and ads paid for by the studios, that they would release it. I showed it to all of them and they said, 'No. We don't know how to market a movie like this.'

"It's because it's an all-black movie. There's no major white roles in it at all. It's one of the first all-black action pictures ever made."

Mr Lucas said the $58m (€45m) budget was "reasonably expensive" and studios were used to movies with black casts costing less. He was also told the studios could not see a foreign market for the film.

The director said one studio's executives did not even turn up for the screening of 'Red Tails'.

Another reason for his retirement appears to have been a backlash that he received from fans for making changes to the original 'Star Wars' films, including introducing extra dialogue for Darth Vader.

He said he now intended to return to making experimental, low-budget, arthouse films of the kind that he had created when he was a student. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent