August 22, 1954
Richard "Rick" McCallum (born August 22, 1954) is a German-born American film producer. He is mostly known for his work on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles as well as the Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition and prequel trilogy. He is best known for his frequent collaborations with American producer George Lucas, though he was also a long-time producer for British television playwright Dennis Potter.
Early career and collaboration with Dennis Potter
McCallum's career as producer began with Pennies from Heaven (1981), the film version of the 1978 BBC TV drama, for director Herbert Ross and writer Dennis Potter. After the commercial failure of the film, Potter invited McCallum to go to work in England. During the 1980s, McCallum's work with Potter included producing the films Dreamchild (1985), an unusual exploration by Potter of the creation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which was nominated for two BAFTA awards, and Track 29 directed by Nicolas Roeg; executive producing the landmark BBC-TV series The Singing Detective; and in 1989 producing the Potter-directed TV series Blackeyes.
During the 1980s, McCallum also produced movies with filmmakers including David Hare (Strapless); Neil Simon (I Ought to Be in Pictures); Harvey Fierstein, whose HBO film Tidy Endings received two CableACE Awards; and Nicolas Roeg's Castaway. McCallum also produced the music video for the Rolling Stones' "Undercover of the Night", directed by Julien Temple.
Collaboration with George Lucas
The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles
Several years after their first meeting, Lucas was preparing his first weekly live-action television program, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, and turned to McCallum to produce the ambitious series, which was to be shot in 35 countries. With a unique perspective on the eventful early life of Indiana Jones – including its cinematic qualities, an emphasis on storytelling and characters, and an enticing promise of new adventures each week – McCallum attracted a stellar list of writers and actors to the creative ranks of the series. Among the directors with whom McCallum worked on the series were Bille August, Nicolas Roeg, David Hare, Mike Newell, Deepa Mehta, Terry Jones, Simon Wincer, and Carl Schultz. During its run, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences honored Young Indiana Jones with 12 Emmy Awards from 27 nominations. The series debuted on DVD in 2007, and McCallum served as executive producer on a series of 94 acclaimed documentaries that accompany the episodes and illuminate the real-life history behind their stories.
When Young Indiana Jones ended, McCallum produced Radioland Murders (1994), for which Lucas served as executive producer. During its production, Lucas confided to McCallum the plans for three new Star Wars movies. To test the nascent digital technology just then becoming available, McCallum produced revised versions of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi – released in 1997 as the Special Editions.
Assembling the teams that worked both in front of and behind the cameras, McCallum produced the next three films, which Lucas wrote and directed: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005).
The Star Wars prequels also ushered in a new era of digital filmmaking, and McCallum played a leading role in its development. He oversaw a team of creative and technical professionals that developed and created the industry's first all-digital production pipeline.
McCallum was one of the producers of Red Tails, an action-adventure movie on which Lucas was executive producer, that pays tribute to the spirit of World War II's Tuskegee Airmen. The movie was released nationally in the U.S. on January 20, 2012.
Retirement from Lucasfilm
Following Lucasfilm's announced acquisition by The Walt Disney Company, on October 31, 2012 ForceCast.net podcast Lucasfilm's Steve Sansweet stated that "Rick has retired from Lucasfilm". There have been no reports as to how this will affect plans for a live-action TV series set in the Star Wars galaxy, with which McCallum was previously involved.
Career after leaving Lucasfilm
After leaving Lucasfilm, McCallum settled in Prague in the Czech Republic. His Prague-based company, United Films, develops film projects and provides production services for Czech and European feature films. Films that McCallum is developing include R'ha, a science fiction feature film based on an earlier short film, to be directed by Kaleb Lechowski and written by Matthew Graham; In the Fog, a World War II film by Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa; So Far So Good (Zatím dobrý), based on the novel by Jan Novák about the Mašín brothers; and (as executive producer) A Long Way Home, directed by Paki Smith and written by Alex Rose.
McCallum's mother, photographer Pat York is married to actor Michael York. His father, Roy Alwood McCallum, was a US military pilot. McCallum's daughter, Olivia 'Mousy' McCallum, also works in the film industry.
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