As the winner for the Best Action and Audience Choice awards for the Fan Movie Challenge presented by Lucasfilm and Atom, Saber depicts a Cantina dream come true for many fanboys and fangirls alike. Starwars.com chats with Los Angeles-based filmmakers and stars of Saber — Clare Grant and Rileah Vanderbilt.
What is your background in film?
Clare: I actually studied theater in college at the University of Memphis, where I met a local director, Craig Brewer who encouraged me to gravitate more towards film by casting me in small roles in his local Memphis indy films.
Rileah: I never studied film in college, but I was very active in plays and sketches when I was younger. I’ve always wanted to be an actor as far back as I can remember!
What prompted you to make a Star Wars fan film? How has George Lucas and his films influenced your work?
Clare: Rileah and I met waiting tables at the Rainbow Bar and Grill on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. We were stunned when we realized we shared a deep love for Star Wars and many other geeky things. We would serve drinks and pasta to folks all night and daydream together about how awesome it would be to actually fight with lightsabers on film. Ya know, just for us, so we could watch it whenever we wanted to make ourselves happy.
George Lucas made the most influential movies for me and Rileah. I’m pretty sure she, like I, walk around narrating our daily lives with Star Wars and Indy theme music.
Rileah: Yes, this is true! Clare and I have always been very much into sci-fi and fantasy. When we first sat down and decided to do an online project together, Los Angeles was in the middle of a writers’ strike, there weren’t any movies or TV shows getting made. Clare and I were very frustrated and fed up with waiting around for people to give us opportunities.
So we decided to produce and act in our own project. Saber was a way for us to not only be in charge of our own destiny, but hopefully also a calling card to lead to other opportunities. When deciding what really spoke to us, Star Wars was a logical choice since we both have such a love for that universe.
Thanks to George Lucas, I’ve been a Star Wars fan ever since the first time I watched the movie back when I was a kid! Movies like Star Wars and Indiana Jones are what really prompted me to want to become an actress. I’ve always wanted to do movies that had the same action, adventure and fantasy that Star Wars had. On a more nerdy level, I named my cat Chewbacca (aka Chewie) after everyone’s favorite Wookiee, and I have a pretty nice replica Princess Leia slave costume.