The Arts Bookstore of the Internet
created by Matt Zoller Seitz
“Outside of a Dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.” ~Groucho Marx
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In this lavish fortieth-anniversary tribute to the blockbuster film Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, New York Times bestselling author J. W. Rinzler draws back the curtain to reveal the intense drama and magnificent wizardry behind the hit movie—arguably the fan favorite of the Star Wars Saga. Following his The Making of Star Wars, the author has once again made use of his unlimited access to the Lucasfilm Archives and its hidden treasures of previously unpublished interviews, photos, artwork, and production mementos. The result is a comprehensive behind-the-scenes, up-close-and-personal look at the trials and triumphs, risks and close calls, inspiration, perspiration, and imagination that went into every facet of this cinematic masterpiece. Here’s the inside scoop on: • the evolution of the script, from story conference and treatment to fifth draft, as conceived, written, and rewritten by George Lucas, famed science-fiction author Leigh Brackett, and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan• the development of new key characters, including roguish hero Lando Calrissian, sinister bounty hunter Boba Fett, and iconic Jedi Master Yoda• the challenges of shooting the epic ice planet battle in the frozen reaches of Norway and of conjuring up convincing creatures and craft—from tauntauns and snowspeeders to Imperial walkers• the construction of a life-sized Millennium Falcon and the swamp planet Dagobah inside a specially built soundstage in Elstree Studios• the technique behind master Muppeteer Frank Oz’s breathing life into the breakthrough character Yoda• the creation of the new, improved Industrial Light & Magic visual effects facility and the founding of the now-legendary Skywalker Ranch In addition, of course, are rare on-the-scene interviews with all the major players: actors Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and David Prowse; director Irvin Kershner; producer Gary Kurtz; effects specialists Richard Edlund, Dennis Muren, Ken Ralston, and Phil Tippett; composer John Williams; and many others. Punctuating the epic account is a bounty of drawings, storyboards, and paintings by Ralph McQuarrie, Joe Johnston, and Ivor Beddoes, along with classic and rare production photos. An added bonus is a Foreword by acclaimed director Ridley Scott. The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is a fittingly glorious celebration of an undisputed space-fantasy movie milestone. Search your feelings, you know it to be true.
After living in France for almost ten years, Jonathan Rinzler returned to the United States looking to work in the movie industry, more specifically with LucasFilm. Rinzler, who had been working as a managing editor until that point, was interviewed for a position in the company to work with non-fiction books. He then joined the company in 2001, as the executive editor of LucasBooks, the company's publishing arm.
At the time, the company was producing Episode II: Attack of the Clones, and Rinzler had been hired to produce a series of books about the making of their movies. Rinzler met with Rick McCallum and they talked about how the books should be "about the whole production" instead of focusing only on the special effects. After producing a book on all movies of the trilogy, Rinzler maintained contact with LucasFilm and was commissioned to produce a making-of Indiana Jones in 2008. Despite having left the company in 2016, Rinzler still produced a book about the behind the scenes of the 1968 film Planet of the Apes for Disney in 2018.
In a 2019 interview to The Verge, Rinzler explained his love for making of books came about after watching the Jaws (1975) and acquiring The Jaws Log as well as Industrial Light & Magic: The Art of Special Effects.
In 2019, Rinzler published The Making of Alien, a behind-the-scenes book about the making of the 1979 film Alien with cast and crew interviews and previously-unseen photographs. This was followed by The Making of Aliens, a behind-the-scenes book about the making of the 1986 film Aliens in 2020.
Rinzler also published a novel in 2020 called All Up, about the Space Race, between the United States and Soviet Russia. He spent one year researching for the book, and about seven years writing it sporadically, until its publication.
MZS.Press is the online arts bookstore founded by author, critic, and filmmaker Matt Zoller Seitz. It offers a variety of new, used, signed, collectible, and rare books on film, television, music, photography, and the visual arts. The store was launched in 2019 under the direction of the founder's late wife, Cincinnati-based businesswoman and activist Nancy Dawson, and was originally hosted by Shopify until the platform became corrupt and started destroying independent merchants by freezing their accounts without explanation and making them jump through administrative and legal hoops before shutting them down and taking whatever was left of their money. This same fate was visited upon this store, prompting Seitz and his business partner Judith Carter to relocate here, the better to preserve a hospitable environment for the types of authors they like to champion: independent voices, often published by small presses whose extraordinary work tends to get swallowed up on giant platforms like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The store's inventory of nearly 1000 volumes is currently in the process of being reconstructed after its relocation. The titles featured here are personally selected by a group of curators and advisors, including Seitz, Carter, and an array of critics, artists, journalists, educators, publishers, and arts mavens who are known for their ability to suss out what the author's jazz musician father once called "the good sh*t."
The plot thickens, as they say. Why, by the way? Is it a soup metaphor?
Matt Zoller Seitz
Critic, Author, Filmmaker, MZS Press Creator
Matt Zoller Seitz is the Editor at Large of RogerEbert.com. He is also the TV critic for New York Magazine and Vulture.com, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism. His writing on film and television has appeared in The New York Times, Salon.com, The New Republic and Sight and Sound. Seitz is the founder and original editor of the influential film blog The House Next Door, now a part of Slant Magazine, and the co-founder and original editor of Press Play, an IndieWire blog of film and TV criticism and video essays.
Seitz has written, narrated, edited or produced over a hundred hours’ worth of video essays about cinema history and style for The Museum of the Moving Image, Salon.com and Vulture, among other outlets. His five-part 2009 video essay Wes Anderson: The Substance of Style was spun off into the hardcover book The Wes Anderson Collection. This book and its follow-up, The Wes Anderson Collection: Grand Budapest Hotel were New York Times bestsellers.
Other Seitz books include The Sopranos Sessions, Mad Men Carousel, and the newly published by MZS Press, The Deadwood Bible: A Lie Agreed Upon. He also wrote the New York Time Best Sellers Mad Men Carousel: The Complete Critical Companion, and TV (The Book). He is currently working on a science fiction puppet movie, a memoir about his two marriages, and an epic non-fiction television series covering 50 years in the life of his extended family.
His hobbies include exotic dancing, moonwalking, and affixing masking tape labels to every food item in the refrigerator, including eggs.
He has the attention span of a gnat.