Roger Christian (filmmaker)
Christian in April 2011
25 February 1944 |
London, England, United Kingdom
|Occupation||Film director, production designer, set decorator|
Roger Christian (born 25 February 1944) is an English set decorator, production designer and feature film director. He won an Academy Award for his work on the original Star Wars and was Oscar-nominated for his work on Alien. Christian directed the second unit on both Return of the Jedi and Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace as well as other feature films including The Sender and Nostradamus. He is also known as the director of the 2000 film Battlefield Earth which is regarded to be one of the worst films ever made.
He began his career as an assistant art director on several UK productions including the Hammer Studios film And Soon the Darkness (1970). He won an Academy Award for set decoration on the science fiction classic Star Wars (1977). (Christian claims to be the third crew member hired for the project.) Two years later, Christian received his second Oscar nomination for his work as the production designer on Ridley Scott's Alien (1979). Christian's use of airplane scrap and other machinery to dress the set interiors of these films and creation of weapons using old working guns adapted by adding junk, revolutionized the look of science fiction films. Christian maintained his working relationship with George Lucas over the years, having worked on Return of the Jedi (1983) and being the second unit director on Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999).
Christian began his directing career with the shorts Black Angel (1980) and The Dollar Bottom (1981). Black Angel, filmed at locations in Scotland, was mentored by George Lucas who tied the film as a programme with The Empire Strikes Back in UK, Australia, and Scandinavia. The 25-minute film is a retelling of the hero's journey in classical mythology, and it influenced several major directors. The Dollar Bottom won an Academy Award for best live action short film and a BAFTA nomination. He made his feature film debut with the horror film The Sender (1982). Chosen as the opening film at the Avoriaz Film Festival, the film has become a cult classic. Quentin Tarantino has described The Sender as his favorite horror film of 1982. Christian directed the music video "Election Day" by the band Arcadia in Paris, France in 1985. His 1994 feature film Nostradamus, about the life of the famous French prophet, has received worldwide recognition.
His biggest project to date was the big budget L. Ron Hubbard science fiction adaptation Battlefield Earth (2000) starring John Travolta and Barry Pepper, which The Guardian considered a commercial and critical disaster, and as one of the "worst films ever made". In 2009, NPR declared the film "the worst science fiction film of the decade". Christian doesn't consider Battlefield Earth to be a "Scientology movie" as he intended it as a throwback to regular science fiction.
In 2006, he directed an action/adventure/mystery movie, Prisoners of the Sun, starring John Rhys-Davies, David Charvet, Carmen Chaplin, and Gulshan Grover. It was unreleased until 2014 when it had geographically limited release in Nordic countries.
- "Roger Christian". British Film Institute. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- Revenge of the Jedi call sheet
- Campbell, Duncan (May 31, 2000). "Cult classic". Guardian Unlimited (Guardian Newspapers Limited). Retrieved July 29, 2006. "[...] Battlefield Earth has opened to spectacularly bad notices, many of which have suggested that the film is the worst of the year, the decade, the millennium or whatever exotic time-frame the alien Psychlos recognise."
- Farache, Emily (October 18, 2000). "Travolta Sets Sights on "Battlefield Earth 2"". E! Online. Retrieved March 26, 2007.
- Christian, Roger (June 4, 2000). "How dare they call my film a turkey; The director of the new John Travolta epic defends himself against his many critics". The Observer. Retrieved July 23, 2010.
- Singer, Jeremy (May 4, 2014). "The Man Who Literally Built 'Star Wars'". Esquire. Retrieved June 13, 2014.
- Martin Anderson. "In praise of the sci-fi corridor". Den of Geek.
- Anderson, Martin (March 9, 2010). "Exclusive interview: The worlds of Roger Christian". Shadowlocked. Retrieved July 23, 2010.
- "Movies: The Dollar Bottom". The New York Times. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
- Cole, Andrew (January 14, 2008). "Every film mentioned by Edgar Wright and Quentin Tarantino in their Hot Fuzz commentary track". Tysto. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
- Arcadia - Making of....Election Day Video on YouTube
- Raz, Guy (December 27, 2009). "Movies That Should Die With The Decade". All Things Considered (National Public Radio). Retrieved July 23, 2010.
- Anderson, Martin (March 21, 2012). "Roger Christian Talks Zombies, Prometheus & Battlefield Earth". Shadowlocked. Retrieved June 13, 2014.