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‘Blockbuster’ Podcast Details George Lucas and Steven Spielberg’s Inspiring Bromance

Set in the 1970s, this scripted series tells the story of ‘two legends before they knew they’d become legends’

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Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. / Vince Bucci/Getty Images

In a burgeoning podcast market flooded with so many podcast options, it can be hard to stand out. But Blockbuster—a new six-episode podcast about the friendship and rivalry between filmmaking stalwarts George Lucas and Steven Spielberg—does just that, leaving competition in the dust like the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars traveling at light speed. Blockbuster has already been featured in Apple Podcasts’ “New & Noteworthy” section since launching this month.

 

“I really wanted to do something in the scripted world and had a good basic knowledge of George and Steven’s friendship back in the 1970s, but I had no idea they would visit each other’s films and advise each other over those years,” Matt Schrader, Blockbuster podcast creator, tells ONE37pm. “This is a story of struggling artists who don’t know if they’ll ever achieve their dreams, but they fight through it. It’s hugely inspiring and relatable to every young artist.”

Two episodes have been released, with four more still to come.

 

In this quick Q&A, Schrader and podcast producer Kenny Holmes tell us about the ambitious project, their favorite parts of it and what they were surprised to learn in researching the bromance between Lucas and Spielberg.

How would you describe Blockbuster to friends at a party?

 

Matt Schrader: It’s a movie for your ears. Blockbuster is the biopic I always hoped to watch about Steven Spielberg and George Lucas back when they were struggling artists in the 1970s. They didn’t know if they would make it. It’s a scripted audio series re-created using hundreds of sources and archival audio to take you back in time to their early friendship. It’s the friendship and in some ways the rivalry that led to Jaws and Star Wars changing the movies forever.

 

Kenny Holmes: It’s a drama about two legends before they knew they’d become legends. Not only is there magical dialogue from our award-winning actors—Max Mittelman as Spielberg and Ray Chase as Lucas—but Peter Bawiec’s three-dimensional sound design brings the 1970s to life. When Spielberg’s crew is on the boat filming Jaws, you hear the waves splashing and the boat creaking and the crew working. You feel like you’re on that boat. And when George walks through the Star Wars set and sees the Millennium Falcon, you swear you’re looking at it too. The narration sets each scene to help paint the picture and really transport you into these moments. There’s really nothing like it out there today.

George was convinced [Star Wars] was going to be a flop after risking his own money and health to make it. At that lowest-of-low moment, sitting in the sand on a beach, they come up with the idea for Indiana Jones

- Matt Schrader, ‘Blockbuster’ creator

What is your favorite snippet from all six episodes?

 

Schrader: In the final episode, Steven and George sit together in Hawaii, dreading Star Wars opening weekend box office numbers. George was convinced it was going to be a flop after risking his own money and health to make it. At that lowest-of-low moment, sitting in the sand on a beach, they come up with the idea for Indiana Jones. It still gives me goosebumps that that actually happened.

 

Holmes: Without revealing too much, when George and Steven share the moment of first hearing John Williams’s Star Wars theme, it’s freaking magic. Plus, Matthew Bohrer as John Williams somehow makes me like Williams even more than I did before, if that’s even possible.

 

What are three fun facts that we’ll learn from the podcast?

 

Schrader: George helped Steven cast Jaws. Steven insisted George hire John Williams for Star Wars. And the two were each other’s closest confidants even as Jaws and Star Wars fell apart, only to later become surprise breakout hits. This is also a deep dive into the world’s most famous film composer, John Williams. I had no idea before embarking on this that John’s breakthrough success came immediately after the tragic loss of his wife. Most people have no idea, and it’s an incredibly powerful and moving story.

 

What makes this podcast stand out?

 

Schrader: We were really inspired in making the first scripted biopic for the podcast platform. We took a large-scale “feature film” approach to research, script development, casting, design and music, and really wanted to create a 2.5-hour movie for your ears. It’s such a rich story arc to begin with, but it still gives me goosebumps hearing certain moments, like hearing Carrie Fisher cry the first time she heard the Star Wars music.

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Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. / Valerie Macon/Getty Images

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