Star Wars: Return of the Jedi was famously shopped around to some well-respected directors before landing in Richard Marquand’s hands. One of those was David Cronenberg, and recently he shed some more light on why, precisely, he didn’t get the job.
Talking with Entertainment Weekly, Cronenberg reminisced on the circumstances that led him to not getting the gig.
“I still recall getting a phone call,” Cronenberg said. “Somebody said that they were from, I guess it was Lucasfilm, and asked me if I was interested in—at that point it was called Revenge of the Jedi, actually, until somebody pointed out that it was against Jedi philosophy to think in terms of revenge. But, anyway, I was asked if I would be interested in considering that, and meeting with everybody, and I said, with the arrogance of youth—relative youth, anyway—I said, ‘Well, I’m not used to doing other people’s material.’ And there was like a stunned silence and then ‘Click’—hang up. Basically, that was as close as I came to that.”
Cronenberg has talked about this before, echoing thoughts he offers Entertainment Weekly about not being particularly interested in directing someone else’s material. But this is the first time we’ve heard just how badly that job interview went. To be fair, Cronenberg doesn’t have any regrets. But, oof. That’s a rough phone call.