Rian Johnson booked for 'Star Wars VIII'

AFP Relax News
Director Rian Johnson (L)

The director of "Brick" and "Looper" has been invited to helm "Star Wars VIII" and write up a treatment for the trilogy closer, "Star Wars IX."

Disney's directorial choice means that a director whose first theatrical release, "Brick," was based on film noir conventions and shot for a mere $500,000 will hold considerable sway over the way its reinvigorated "Star Wars" trilogy pans out.

"Brick" (2002), a high school crime thriller, and "Looper" (2012), a time-traveling action adventure, both featured Joseph Gordon-Levitt, on either side of his mainstream cinematic breakout role in 2010's "Inception."

Johnson's second film, "The Brothers Bloom," was released in 2009 and starred Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel Weisz and Rinko Kikuchi in a globetrotting comedy about two sibling conmen and their last big job.

Clearly versatile, Johnson might not have the established caché of "Star Wars VII" director J.J. Abrams, but after witnessing first-hand the success of "The Avengers" franchise, Disney knows a thing or two about making blockbuster successes out of apparent left-field choices.