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Strike Steven Soderbergh down, and he will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine. Or at least, he’ll tweet about it 33 years later. On Tuesday, the prolific director posted a scan of a rejection letter he received from Lucasfilm after submitting a tape to the studio in 1984. (He was 21 at the time.) “It just made me STRONGER,” Soderbergh noted. See the tweet below.
It’s a little bit unfair to call the letter a rejection; it’s actually a polite form letter from the Lucasfilm legal department, explaining that “because of the increasing number of stories and ideas received each day, it has become impossible for our small staff to review each idea on its own merit.” Soderbergh’s submission, the letter explains, will be returned to him unwatched per company policy.
It’s no surprise that aspiring young filmmakers were flooding Lucasfilm with submissions by 1984, at which point the studio had released the Star Wars trilogy, American Graffiti, and Raiders of the Lost Ark. As for Soderbergh, he did just fine striking out on his own: Five years after Lucasfilm’s rejection, at the age of 26, he jump-started the ’90s independent film boom with his low-budget drama Sex, lies and videotape. In 2001, he was nominated against himself for the Academy Award for Best Director and won for Traffic. (The other film in contention was Erin Brockovich.) And while he has repeatedly announced his own retirement, Soderbergh has been steadily working in film and television for three decades, most recently directing this year’s Logan Lucky. So take heart, Phil Lord, Chris Miller, and Colin Trevorrow: a rejection from Lucasfilm is just the beginning.
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