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Tony Gilroy calls Rogue One a "Terrible Troubled Mess" in new interview

04.05.2018

In the time since Disney and Lucasfilm released ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY in December of 2016, a plethora of stories related to the film's troubled production have circulated throughout the net and beyond. During the Star Wars prequel's production, word of writer/director and renowned screenwriting “fixer” Tony Gilroy was hired to give the project some much-needed attention had quickly reached the ears of fans and media sites looking to prey upon the problematic picture. As Gilroy set to work on re-tooling the script, the "Doc Hollywood" scribe was then asked to supervise the film, to which he then acted as director when the time came for major reshoots to be caught on camera. It all happened rather quickly, and the whole ordeal only served to instill doubt among fans about the forthcoming film.

In what we've known up until the point, the ROGUE ONE reshoots were said to have been lengthy, costly, and in time became a way to rework one character from the film from tip-to-tail. Oh, there's also the bit about the entire ending of the film being reworked as well, which I can only imagine cost the studio a fair bit Imperial Credits. For a time, ROGUE ONE director Gareth Edwards remained quite silent about the degree of changes being made to the Star Wars project, and now, Gilroy has come forward to share the sordid tale of the film's "terrible troubled mess" of a production.

Recently, while appearing on The Moment podcast with BILLIONS co-creator/co-showrunner Brian Koppelman to promote his upcoming film BEIRUT, Gilroy finally opened the floodgates, allowing for the many problems behind ROGUE ONE to be known, once and for all.

As the conversation eventually came around to the questionable matters surrounding ROGUE ONE's production, Gilroy admitted, “If you look at ‘Rogue [One],’ all the difficulty with ‘Rogue’ and all the confusion of it, all the smart people [working on it], all the mess and in the end when you get in there, it’s actually very simple to solve, because you go, ‘oh, this is a movie where…everyone’s going to die.’ So, it’s a movie about sacrifice,” he explained, while laying bare the individual aspects of the theme.

He then continued, “So, it’s all a question about why are these [characters], why are all these people going to sacrifice themselves? And you need to motivate them with a purity throughout the [story] and every scene has to be about the movie. And so, is that a theme, that everyone’s going to die, sacrifice? In that sense, in that film, yeah, I thought about it.”

From that point forward, Gilroy steadily became more than happy to share some of the yet-to-be-known details about ROGUE ONE's production. “So, it’s all a question about why are these [characters], why are all these people going to sacrifice themselves? And you need to motivate them with a purity throughout the [story] and every scene has to be about the movie. And so, is that a theme, that everyone’s going to die, sacrifice? In that sense, in that film, yeah, I thought about it.”

While marching headlong into uncharted ground, where confusion and rumors surrounding the film are known to dwell, Gilroy began talking about why he accepted the Star Wars writing gig in the first place. “Here was a call to go do something—and I knew exactly when I saw what I saw [the rough footage], it was instantly clear the first thing that had to happen which was immediately attractive.” Now, while Gilroy was reluctant to share the details as to why the footage disturbed him, he did go on to say that he “saw the purity that was missing and I saw, at least in terms of one or two of the characters—cause who knew how big the fix was going to be, who knew what people would do— I saw something very… if you do nothing else, do this.”

When prompted for further explanation, Gilroy continued by saying, “I have to be careful because I don’t know what the statute of limitations… I’ve never really told… I’ve never done an interview about ‘Rogue,’” he said. “You know what the easiest thing to say is? You’ll understand this better than anything else, I came in after the director’s cut [and] I have a screenplay credit in the arbitration that was easily won.” This last part is quite the notable twist to the tale, as landing a second screenwriting credit on account of a rewrite is extraordinarily rare in the big picture-making business.

When asked if Gilroy had any hesitations about taking the project on, the MICHAEL CLAYTON writer replied by saying “No, Because that was my superpower. A) I don’t like ‘Star Wars’—not that I don’t like it, but I’ve never been interested in ‘Star Wars’ ever, so I had no reverence for it whatsoever, I was unafraid about that and they were in such a swamp… they were in so much, terrible, terrible trouble that all you could do was improve their position.” Oh wow, I never thought I would have anything in common with Gilroy, and yet, here we are. By that I mean that I am only a casual fan of the Star Wars universe. In getting back to the interview, it is interesting to hear Gilroy give props to Disney for allowing him to take the movie in the dark direction he had constructed.

“What else can I say that’s safe and germane, the gumption, the balls of Disney and Bob Iger and the people there to gamble on what they gambled on is astonishing,” he explained somewhat cryptically. “There were no assholes involved in the process at all, on all the upper level, there were no assholes, it was just a mess [and there was] fear, and they had just gotten themselves…and because it wasn’t really my movie… for a while, I slept every night. For my own movie, I wouldn’t sleep, but because it was somebody else’s movie…”

This is the part in the interview where Koppelman decided to pump the brakes on Gilroy's comments by interrupting him to say, “Well, you weren’t going to have a director’s credit on the movie…” However, when judging by this next bit, it does sound as if Gilroy considers ROGUE ONE to be his movie after all.

“Right, well… at a certain point, it kinda tipped, at a certain point everybody’s looking at you like, [makes indecipherable noise, but one that suggests everyone’s looking at him for the answers], but through a lot of it I was pretty calm, I was pretty chill.”

With all of that being said, Gilroy was sure to mention that he enjoyed working on the project, and he values the experience as it's only served to teach him more valuable lessons about the industry. “I was in London, I was having a great time every day, I was throwing strikes every day, I was so happy to be engaged, my endorphins were firing, I was happy with what I was doing in front of me, I had… my god, [the production resources], it’s a Ferrari, man, oh my god. I had a great time.”

Lastly, when asked if he'd be interested in helming his own STAR WARS film, Gilroy's reply was unsurprisingly a stanch "Nope!" Actually, what he did say was “No, no, there’s nothing… I don’t like it. I don’t like it. It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t appeal to me. But I don’t think ‘Rogue’ is a ‘Star Wars’ movie in many ways, to me it’s a battle of Britain movie.”

Ha ha ha! ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY certainly is a Star Wars movie, Tony, there's no denying that.

What do you all think of Gilroy's interview? Are you a fan of his work on ROGUE ONE? Would you like to get your hands on the pre-doctored script, if only to see just how much surgery Gilroy needed to perform? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below, and don't be shy.  

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