Daisy Ridley gives the best quote about Rian Johnson‘s Star Wars: The Last Jedi: “Rian has written a story that is unexpected but right. Some of the stuff that happens, people are going to go ‘oh my God!’ Even though everybody knows it’s the second in a trilogy, it’s its own thing. I’m sure that if Cary Grant were still with us, he’d strongly approve.”
Can you feel the joy and the warmth from this teaser? The Last Jedi may or may not deliver unforeseen plot complexities or unexpected gravitas or sobering undercurrents a la The Empire Strikes Back. But to judge by this behind-the-scenes smorgasbord one thing’s for sure, and that’s that everyone involved in principal photography — cast, crew, craft services, drivers, gophers — channeled alpha vibes start to finish. They were in such states of alpha bonhomie that a couple of them actually levitated. They smiled so much that their facial muscles began to ache.
Did Johnson hire on-set therapists to help people feel and express emotions that weren’t sourced in absolute happiness? If so, he was wise to do so. The nature of creativity always involves a certain amount of stress, uncertainty and spiritual struggle. Just as lumps of coal have to be crushed to become diamonds, movies have to rub ideas and approaches together (i.e., argument, debate) in order to refine and improve.
Too much happiness on a set is not a good thing — just ask Brian DePalma. He used to walk onto his sets and say, “Why is everyone laughing and hugging and joking so much? They’d better cut that shit out.” (Or words to that effect.) I’m not saying that an unhappy set is good for a film, but between the two I’d say an overly happy set is slightly more scary than an unhappy one.