Rick McCallum, George Lucas’s producing partner for the Star Wars prequel trilogy amongst other Lucasfilm projects, has signed on to oversee the high-concept sci-fi feature R’Ha. Based on a short film (see below), the project is the brainchild of filmmaker Kaleb Lechowski, who is already signed to direct the feature-length version.
Joining McCallum is Steve Tzirlin, who worked with McCallum as a producer on the animated Star Wars: Clone Wars television series. The two will be working with original producers Raymond Brothers and Scott Glassgold. Writer Matthew Graham, the creator of the hit cult British series Life On Mars and who has worked as a lead writer on Lucasfilm’s aborted live-action Star Wars series, will be handling the script detail.
The short film tells the story of a representative of the nonhuman alien race known as the R’Ha, who defend a cluster of solar systems from an upcoming attack. According to the Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision Blog, it was the lack of human characters that attracted McCullum to the project.
“What inspires me and our team is that there are no humans whatsoever in the film, and yet Kaleb has come up with a world that is so engaging and so alive and so real that it really is very different from anything else I have seen in the sci-fi world,” said McCallum via email from Prague.
He added: “We want to make it as a European film, using VFX facilities from all over Central and Eastern Europe and Asia, and do it for a price that not only allows Kaleb total control of his unique vision, but is incomprehensible in the big-budget VFX world that we now live in!”
I know that many of the Star Wars prequel’s detractors, myself included, don’t have a very high opinion of McCallum. It appeared as if he was merely a “yes” man for George Lucas, indulging the director’s every whim, as opposed to original trilogy producer Gary Kurtz, who often challenged Lucas to make his films better. I am sure that he will be bring extensive experience in handling visual effects, which is understandably needed for a project like this. It remains to be seen how else he will affect the film.