FORCE OF TRUE LOVE.
TAKE a little 10-year-old boy and, given the right set of circumstances and talents, he may just end up ... as Darth Vader.
This is the chilling theory behind George Lucas's latest film Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.
Vader was the ultimate bad guy when he first stalked across the big screen when the original Star Wars was released back in 1977.
Yet as Lucas's story of how a band of rebels bid to overthrow the evil empire unfolded in sequels The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi, it emerged that Vader could be redeemed, through the love of his son, Luke Skywalker.
Far from being a two-dimensional character, Lucas gave his arch-villain a complex history almost as deep as his voice, famously supplied by James Earl Jones.
Clearly Lucas had to tackle Darth Vader's personal journey when he went back, in 1999, to film the first of his "prequels".
But in The Phantom Menace, set up to fifty years before the original films, the young Vader, or Anakin Skywalker as he was known then, is just a cute ten-year-old boy, played by newcomer Jake Lloyd. How does such an evil tyrant emerge from innocence?
In Attack Of The Clones we're about to find out.
Rick McCallum, producer of the pounds 100 million movie, said: "Attack of the Clones is the beginning of the downward spiral.
"Events take place some ten years after The Phantom Menace. Now Anakin is a young man and he's having a very different experience.
"This is when we begin to understand how and why he becomes Darth Vader.
"It is a much darker, complex story than Phantom and we start to learn why Anakin makes these terrible choices.
"It is the story of all life. There are very few little boys who are evil, something happens to them.
"And it is the combination of things. Look at our friends, there is always someone we love who is just a screw- up, who does something stupid, and we can't stop them."
The change from Anakin to Darth Vader doesn't happen until Episode III - but we do find out the reasons why, namely the death of his mother Shmi, played by Swedish actress Pernilla August.
She is kidnapped and then tortured by Tusken Raiders.
Anakin blames himself for her death and blames his Jedi Master Obi-Wan for not letting him hunt Amidala's would- be assassins - he reckons he could have got to his mother and protect her before she died.
In a rage he claims he's going to be the most powerful Jedi ever.
Coupled with this is the love story between Anakin and Padme Amidala.
As a Jedi he has taken a vow of celibacy but the headstrong boy doesn't heed his teachings or the initial reluctance of Amidala.
When Star Wars creator George Lucas needed to reinvent the greatest screen villain of all time, Darth Vader, he turned to a Scottish woman for inspiration.
Episode II: Attack of the Clones features the very same tyrannical Dark Lord of the Sith as a young man, played by dashing actor Hayden Christensen.
But how do you take an athletic, good- looking Canadian teenager and turn him into the baddest man in the galaxy?
For Trisha Biggar, the Glasgow-based costume designer Lucas enlisted for the task, the answer was: "Add leather."
"Leather is always associated with rebels," Trisha laughs.
"And in this film that is what Anakin is about. But it also suggests armour and coldness.
"If you remember from Episode I there was the poster image of the young Anakin walking with the shadow of the adult Darth Vader behind him.
"I wanted to use that idea and to give Hayden's Anakin the same Vader silhouette.
"We went back to the original Star Wars and those scenes of Vader walking along with his cloak flowing behind him? It is a very powerful image.
"I decided to give Anakin a similar sort of outline. So there are scenes which I hope will be very reminiscent of that in this new film."
As chief costume designer on The Phantom Menace as well as Attack of the Clones, Trisha was responsible for determining the way all the Jedi knights would be dressed.
"There is a history to the Jedi outfits that is passed down from the first trilogy," Trisha explains. "Sir Alec Guinness as Obi- Wan Kenobi was dressed in a particular way.
"George wanted to make a link to that through the costumes in Episode I, but using sort of a younger version.
"He wanted something that was more
dashing and easier to be active in and fight.
"In Attack of the Clones there are scenes with over a hundred Jedis and each wears something totally individual but all variations on a theme.
"But with Anakin, his Jedi outfit is the only one with leather - it isn't a feature of any of the others."
The wardrobe of astonishing clothes worn by Natalie Portman, who plays the film's heroine Padme Amidala, reflects the sheer scale of Trisha's work.
While Clones promises to be one of the most action-packed Star Wars films ever - it also features the saga's first serious romance.
In Episode I, Portman's character was in her mid teens. In Clones she is a grown woman and one of the major plot lines is the affair between Portman's character and the Jedi apprentice Anakin.
Although their relationship is doomed - Hollywood insiders are already likening it to the Winslet-DiCaprio pairing in Titanic - there is no question that the affair is genuine and of the heart.
To enhance their love scenes, Biggar has given Portman a collection of stunning sheer gowns, some costing as much as pounds 10,000 each, and the most romantic of silhouettes to enhance her figure-hugging battle wear.
"The Padme character could be less formal this time because she's no longer a Queen, she's a senator," she says. "We could relax her a bit and develop a more feminine and less constrictive look.
"In Episode I she was always dressed very formally, here she's more relaxed and some of them are really quite sexy.
"For some of them I use materials that are quite thin so you can see the outline of her body, her leg perhaps as she moves.
"Padme has many more costumes than her daughter Princess Leia, played by Carrie Fisher.
"There was never an intention to echo the way Leia looked in Padme's image. Though in retrospect I can see now there are similarities - in terms of the hairstyle in particular."
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||Star Wars Special|
|Publication:||Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||May 11, 2002|
|Previous Article:||Highlights: The Week Ahead.|
|Next Article:||Force To Reckon With; Ewan McGregor's Uncle Denis was the real Phantom Menace in a bid to stop him taking the top movie role.|