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Fake 'Star Wars' trailer surpasses 1 million downloads
(CNN) -- Not long ago, in a galaxy near here, a dedicated fan used his skills to create a fake movie trailer for the upcoming "Star Wars: Episode II," hoping to convince people that Leonardo DiCaprio would be perfect for the lead role.
He placed it on the Web at TheForce.net and hoped it would get noticed, possibly getting him a break in Hollywood.
But when Canadian actor Hayden Christensen was chosen to play Anakin Skywalker, the fan -- who goes by the moniker "Anonymous Director" -- opted to redo the trailer with new scenes and enhanced effects.
The end result is a seamless and professional-looking montage of scenes, complete with an epic soundtrack. The word is out and since the real "Star Wars: Episode II" just began production in Australia, fans eager to whet their Jedi appetite are flocking to the site.
Jeff Yankey, Web site editor at TheForce.net, said the response to the trailer has been overwhelming. At last count, it had been downloaded more than 1 million times from TheForce.net and another site that agreed to post it.
And the people at Lucasfilm Ltd. couldn't be happier.
"People keep asking us about the controversy," said Lucasfilm spokeswoman Jeanne Cole. "There is no controversy. We look at it as an homage from our fans of Star Wars. We're fine with it."
Cole said that so long as people don't profit from their creation and it's in good taste then it's entirely acceptable.
The only snag Yankey and his colleagues encountered was from a few fans who were initially upset because they thought TheForce.net was trying to fool people into thinking it was legitimate.
"At no time did we ever say this is the real thing," said Yankey. "Overall it's been extremely positive."
A few years ago this type of trailer wasn't possible, said Yankey, since the limited bandwidth would have discouraged people from downloading it. Now, the technology to create the trailer is less expensive and the means to view it is more widespread.
The nearly two-minute trailer itself is 5 MB for the compressed version, or 13 MB for the full-sized one. QuickTime 4.0 is needed to watch it.
As for the 25-year-old who created the trailer, he prefers to remain unnamed because some of the scenes in the trailer were taken from other films without permission. Borrowed clips were taken from films such as "Braveheart" and "Dune." However, during an e-mail interview, Anonymous Director says he hasn't heard anything from those studios yet.
To obtain the polished results, Anonymous Director says he worked for two months during his free time using an Avid Media Composer for the editing and sound design, and a Discreet Logic Flame machine for the visual effects, like adding lightsabers.
"I just wanted to restore a little faith in this powerful movie saga which I have loved for so long," wrote Anonymous Director. "And fans need something to tide them over the next two years until the film is released."
Special effects program used in Hollywood comes to the Mac
Star Wars: Episode II - The Official Web Site
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