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Thanks to his portrayal of General Zod in Superman and Superman II, Terence Stamp has enough geek cred to last a thousand lifetimes, but the truth is that the superhero movies aren't the only time that he has the world of fanboy sci-fi. In 1999 he officially became part of the Star Wars universe when George Lucas cast him as Chancellor Valorum in Episode I: The Phantom Menace. But just like the many fans who went to see the movie and walked out heartbroken, it happens to be a production that Stamp would rather forget.
In a recent - and very candid - interview with Empire Magazine (via CBM), the Oscar nominated actor reflected on his experiences making the Star Wars prequel and expressed extreme disappointment with the making of the film. Starting off by commenting on Lucas' directing style, Stamp said that he didn't get along with the filmmaker at all, saying that he was too preoccupied with elements of the production beyond the performances. "I didn't rate him that much as a director, really," he told the magazine. "I didn't feel like he was a director of actors; he was more interested in stuff and effects. He didn't interest me and I wouldn't think I interested him."
So why did he do the movie in the first place? Two answers: pressure from his agent and his desire to work with Natalie Portman, who impressed him with her performance in Luc Besson's The Professional. But when he got to the set in Australia the disappointment continued. Said Stamp about working with the actress, "I did meet her and she was absolutely enchanting. But on the day I'm supposed to do my scene with her, for which I'd traveled halfway around the world, I said, 'Where's Natalie?' And George says, 'That's Natalie,' and points to a bit of paper on the wall. It was just boring."
Boring? Obsessed with visual effects over story and direction? Sure sounds like Episode I to me.