Anyone in the business who is honest will tell you that filmmaking is a group effort. Getting any movie project completed takes a team of people and in some cases an army. It helps if the team consists of friends with the same twisted sensibilities. For the creators of the Star Wars parody “Jar Jar Binks: The F! True Hollywood Story” they were not only friends who shared the same strange influences, they all felt a burning need to purge themselves of their Episode I demons by making a film. The result is a 10-minute short that reveals the real story behind Jar Jar and his meteoric rise to fame. It is underground filmmaking at its best and must be seen by everyone who calls themselves a Star Wars fan. It’s the best damn parody I’ve seen since the Star Wars-Meets-COPS satire Troops landed in my lap three years ago.
Now, meet the filmmakers who have kindly provided us their corporate bios:
Leif Einarsson, director/writer
As the only surviving member of the Heaven’s Gate cult, Leif packed up his Nike’s and headed to Hollywood. As a Special Effects Digital Animator, he has worked on over a dozen films, tv shows, and commercials including Stuart Little, Hollowman, Star Trek Voyager, and such classics as Mortal Kombat Annihilation and Species II ‘It’s Breedin Time’. Now an aspiring full-time dreamer, Leif is pursuing writing and directing, having recently studied camerawork under David Fincher (seriously). He has completed one spec and is in collaboration and development of five additional specs of various genres.
Dave Estes, writer
Conceived in the back of an ’72 El Camino Real, Dave was sold to gypsies for a pack of Marlboro Lights and a pair of Partridge Family rollerskates. After several years as a career groupie for the band “Wham!”, he attended Loyola Marymount University, graduating as poli sci major. Dave is currently pursuing a career in standup, acting, writing and dog grooming. He some day hopes to make lots of money so he can create the first edible car.
Alok Mishra, producer
Alok grew up in the gang infested hamlet that is Palos Verdes. He attended USC as a Psycho-Bio major and naturally decided to go into motion picture development. Alok has collaborated and written many unproduced film and television projects and is president of Hannum Monkey Productions.
How did you guys meet and what are your backgrounds?
Leif: Alok has been friends with my wife since high school. I’ve never met someone who could talk so fast about film before. Or so fast period. My history is in doing post production and visual effects for film. The other guys assumed I had enough technical experience to do a film so when I came to the first meeting they sat me down and told me I had been voted in as director. I thought “Great. What’s the project?”
Alok: I worked in development for many years and was sick of the rat race that the world of development basically is. I decided to align myself with the most intelligent, powerful, and beautiful people that I could. However I failed in all accounts. I work with Dave every day and have known Leif for many years. One day I grabbed them by the arms and said “Hey everybody, let’s put on a show!”.
Dave: It was a condition of my parole. Seriously, I had been working with Alok for awhile and met Leif through him. I have been doing stand up comedy as well as acting, so the guys thought I might be useful as a writer and performer. I’m working everyday to prove them wrong.
I assume you guys are big fans of Star Wars, were you one of those Star Wars fans who waited in line?
Alok: We weren’t the folks who waited six weeks in line, but Dave and I waited overnight. The funny thing is, we got into the same show that all those guys who waited six weeks got into. I think the thing the haunted me most was this old cantankerous woman who kept yelling “You Star Trek people go home!”.
Leif: I played hooky from my job at lunch with four other guys on the first day it came out . We saw it in Westwood. Later that night I saw it again at Mann’s Chinese with Alok. There were people all dressed up in front of the movie screen fighting with toy swords. I remember a Vader accidentally break his plastic sword off at the handle and then get pummeled by three Lukes.
Dave: We only waited overnight but in that time I was ridiculed in at least six different languages. Nothing like being called a loser by a homeless person.
What were your personal reactions to seeing Episode I?
Leif: It was pretty disappointing. The guy sitting next to me booed through the last quarter of the movie. By this time I had been pursuing writing and this movie broke all the rules. Anakin ‘accidentally’ saves the day in the final battle? Mitochondria replace the power of faith? And then a virgin birth ultimately leads to Darth Vader, the space Hitler? A few weeks before the movie premiered I went to Target and found that the toys were way ahead of schedule. In one aisle I found a children’s book based on the new movie. The story seemed to mimic the real movie but it was written with a “See Jane Run” style. Unfortunately, that turned out to be the exact dialogue from the script. Lucas says that the movie was intended for twelve year olds. I saw the original when I was seven. Even though it seemed like a documentary, I still fully comprehended the movie at that age. If they keep dumbing the series down we’ll end up producing “Jedi-Babies take Manhattan”. Somewhere I read a review that Episode 1 has as much moral sustenance as a tuna fish sandwich. My response is “I love tunafish. No bones.”
Dave: I was sure I didn’t like it but it took me two more times to realize just how much I actually hated it. That being said, I loved the experience of that day. It was like a geek orgy. The Sci-Fi channel was handing out shirts. They’re like scarlet letters now. When I see somebody wearing one, we both nod, silently recalling the pain of that day.
Alok: I didn’t think it was horrible but my feelings were summed up by a leaflet an obsessed fan was handing out to people after the movie. It said “Sixteen years of anticipation, two hours of disappointment. Jar Jar Stinks.”
Where did you get the idea for doing a parody of an episode of E! True Hollywood Stories based on Jar Jar?
Alok: This is one of those situations where you get a few guys who really want to do something, they commit to one of the first ideas, and then they find themselves spending the next nine months totally wrapped up in that world.
Dave: It was a big time Hollywood spitballing session. Drinking beers at Alok’s house.
Leif: The original suggestion by our co-producer Christopher Ryan was to make “The Saint Nick Project”, a Blair Witch parody. It was about a month before everyone and their grandmother was making a spoof on this. We had this idea of kids being haunted by Santa Claus. Ornaments being hung from trees and little piles of presents being left in the morning. Oh, and the infernal jingling of bells that only comes out at night. We planned to release this right before Christmas. I came back with a short script. Every week a new spoof would come out and we started changing our script into a spoof on a spoof of Blair Witch. We had to drop that like a hot potato.
Get the rest of the interview in part two of, BEHIND “JAR JAR BINKS: THE F! TRUE HOLLYWOOD STORY” FILMMAKERS.